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Lower Township is a
township ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia Australia, offi ...
in Cape May County,
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ...
, United States. It is part of the Ocean City
Metropolitan Statistical Area In the United States, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. Such regions are neither legally Incorporated town, incorporate ...
. As of the
2010 United States Census The United States Census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States United States Census, national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010. The census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, wit ...
, the township's population was 22,866, reflecting a decrease of 79 (-0.3%) from the 22,945 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,125 (+10.2%) from the 20,820 counted in the 1990 Census. ''
New Jersey Monthly ''New Jersey Monthly'' is an American monthly magazine featuring issues of possible interest to residents of New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeaste ...
'' magazine ranked Lower Township as its 34th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.


History

Before the region was settled by Europeans, the Kechemeche tribe of the Lenape Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans inhabited South Jersey, and traveled to the barrier islands during the summer to hunt and fish.Snyder, John P
''The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968''
Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 118. Accessed October 16, 2012.
Holden, Robert F

''The Press of Atlantic City'', August 9, 2017. Accessed October 27, 2019.
A Brief History of Ocean City New Jersey
Ocean City, New Jersey. Accessed December 23, 2017.
On August 28, 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson entered the Delaware Bay and stayed one day on land, north of what is now Cape May Point, New Jersey, Cape May Point."Cape May County"
from ''Historic Roadsides of New Jersey by The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey, 1928''. Accessed October 27, 2019.
In 1630, representatives of the Dutch West India Company purchased a tract of land along the Delaware from indigenous people, and additional land in the county was purchased 11 years later. Due to the large number of whales in the region of Cape May, Dutch explorers founded Town Bank around 1640 as a whaling village in what is now Lower Township. It was the first European settlement in Cape May County. The village once functioned as the court house for the county, along with Coxehall, built by Dr. Daniel Coxe to be a center for a Manorial court, manorial style of government.''Cape May County Comprehensive Plan''
Cape May County, New Jersey Planning Board. Accessed October 27, 2019.
The sole remaining section of the original structure, which was moved several times during its history, is now preserved as Coxe Hall Cottage at Historic Cold Spring Village, a 19th century living history museum in Lower Township. Lower Township was formed as a precinct on April 2, 1723, and was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships established by the Township Act of 1798. The township's name came from its location when Cape May was split into three townships in 1723 at the same time that Middle Township, New Jersey, Middle Township and Upper Township, New Jersey, Upper Township were created. Portions of the township were taken to form Cape Island Borough (March 8, 1848, now known as Cape May, New Jersey, Cape May city), Cape May Point, New Jersey, Cape May Point borough (created April 19, 1878, restored to Lower Township on April 8, 1896, recreated April 6, 1908), Holly Beach City, New Jersey, Holly Beach (April 14, 1885, now part of Wildwood, New Jersey, Wildwood city), South Cape May, New Jersey, South Cape May (August 27, 1894; restored to Lower Township after the borough was dissolved on April 30, 1945), Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, Wildwood Crest (April 6, 1910) and North Cape May, New Jersey, North Cape May (March 19, 1928; restored to Lower Township after it was dissolved on April 30, 1945).


Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 31.06 square miles (80.45 km2), including 27.38 square miles (70.91 km2) of land and 3.69 square miles (9.54 km2) of water (11.86%). Diamond Beach, New Jersey, Diamond Beach (2010 Census population of 136), Erma, New Jersey, Erma (2,134), North Cape May, New Jersey, North Cape May (3,226) and Villas, New Jersey, Villas (9,483) are Local government in New Jersey#Unincorporated communities, unincorporated communities and census-designated places (CDPs) located within Lower Township. Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Bennett, Cold Spring, New Jersey, Cold Spring, Cold Spring Inlet, Ephraims Island, Fishing Creek, Higbees Landing, Miami Beach, Schellingers Landing, Sewells Point, South Cape May, New Jersey, South Cape May, Sunset Beach (New Jersey), Sunset Beach, Town Bank, Weers Landing, and Wildwood Gables. Lower Township borders the Cape May County municipalities of Cape May, New Jersey, Cape May City, Cape May Point, New Jersey, Cape May Point Borough, Middle Township, New Jersey, Middle Township, West Cape May, New Jersey, West Cape May Borough, Wildwood, New Jersey, Wildwood City, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, Wildwood Crest Borough, as well as Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.


Demographics


Census 2010

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation adjustment, inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $51,101 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,460) and the median family income was $62,587 (+/- $7,438). Males had a median income of $50,572 (+/- $3,361) versus $35,978 (+/- $2,297) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,175 (+/- $1,295). About 6.6% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.4% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.


Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census there were 22,945 people, 9,328 households, and 6,380 families residing in the township. The population density was 813.0 people per square mile (313.9/km2). There were 13,924 housing units at an average density of 493.4 per square mile (190.5/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 96.26% White (U.S. Census), White, 1.39% African American (U.S. Census), African American, 0.23% Native American (U.S. Census), Native American, 0.53% Asian (U.S. Census), Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander (U.S. Census), Pacific Islander, 0.65% from Race (United States Census), other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic (U.S. Census), Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census), Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population.Census 2000 Profiles of Demographic / Social / Economic / Housing Characteristics for Lower township, Cape May County, New Jersey
, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 16, 2012.
DP-1: Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 - Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Lower township, Cape May County, New Jersey
, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 16, 2012.
There were 9,328 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were Marriage, married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.95. In the township the population was spread out, with 23.7% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males. The median income for a household in the township was $38,977, and the median income for a family was $45,058. Males had a median income of $35,201 versus $24,715 for females. The per capita income for the township was $19,786. About 5.3% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


Government


Local government

Lower Township operates within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Faulkner Act (council–manager), Council-Manager form of government which was adopted in 1984. The township is one of 42 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government. The council is comprised of five members—the Mayor, the Council Member-at-Large and three Ward (United States), Ward seats—each elected on a partisan basis to four-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two seats (mayor and council at-large) or the three ward seats up for election in even-numbered years on an alternating basis as part of the November general election.''2012 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book'', Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, March 2013, p. 8. The Mayor presides at all Council meetings and has a voice and vote in the proceedings. Powers are limited to those expressly conferred by the Charter. The Manager serves the Council for an indefinite term of office and may be removed by a majority vote of the Council. The Manager is the chief executive and administrator of the Township. , members of the Lower Township Council are Mayor Frank Sippel (Republican Party (United States), R, term ends December 31, 2020; At Large), Deputy Mayor David Perry (R, 2020; At Large), Thomas Conrad (R, 2022; Ward I), Kevin Coombs (R, 2022; Ward II - appointed to serve an unexpired term) and Roland A. Roy Jr. (R, 2022; Ward III).Mayor and Council
Lower Township. Accessed February 26, 2020. "Lower Township adopted the Council-Manager form of government in 1984. The council is composed of five council members (Mayor, Council Member-at-Large, and 3 Wards), each elected on partisan basis, serving the Township for a four-year term. Because the terms overlap, elections to council are held every two years."
''The Official Cape May County 2018 Directory''
Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed August 7, 2018.
2020 County & Municipal Elected Officials Cape May County, NJ -- January 2020
Cape May County, New Jersey, January 7, 2020. Accessed February 26, 2020.
2018 General Election Statement of Vote
Cape May County, New Jersey, updated November 26, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019.
Cape May County Summary of Vote for 2016 Cape May County General Election
Cape May County, New Jersey, updated November 18, 2016. Accessed January 30, 2017.
In February 2020, the Township Council selected Keven Coombs to fill the Ward II seat expiring in December 2022 that became vacant when David Perry was chosen to serve as deputy mayor. Earlier that month, Perry had been shifted to deputy mayor after Frank Sippel was selected as mayor to replace Erik K. Simonsen, who resigned to take office in the New Jersey General Assembly. In January 2017, Roland Roy was selected from three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the Third Ward seat vacated by Erik Simonsen when he took office as mayor; Roy served on an interim basis until the November 2017 general election, when he was elected to serve the balance of the term through December 2018.2017 General Election Official Results
Cape May County, New Jersey, updated November 9, 2017. Accessed January 1, 2018.
Erik Simonsen won a special election in November 2013 to fill the seat of Glenn Douglass, who had resigned two months earlier and whose seat had been filled on an interim basis by Jackie Henderson.


Federal, state and county representation

Lower Township is located in the 2nd Congressional DistrictPlan Components Report
New Jersey Redistricting Commission, December 23, 2011. Accessed February 1, 2020.
and is part of New Jersey's 1st state legislative district.Municipalities Sorted by 2011-2020 Legislative District
New Jersey Department of State. Accessed February 1, 2020.
''2019 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government''
New Jersey League of Women Voters. Accessed October 30, 2019.


Politics

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 14,612 registered voters in Lower Township, of which 3,000 (20.5%) were registered as Democratic Party (United States), Democrats, 5,902 (40.4%) were registered as Republican Party (United States), Republicans and 5,702 (39.0%) were registered as Unaffiliated (New Jersey), Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties. In the United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2012, 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 52.6% of the vote (5,493 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 46.2% (4,823 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (120 votes), among the 10,534 ballots cast by the township's 15,217 registered voters (98 ballots were Spoilt vote, spoiled), for a turnout of 69.2%. In the United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2008, 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 52.2% of the vote (5,831 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama, who received 45.1% (5,040 votes), with 11,177 ballots cast among the township's 14,435 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.4%. In the United States presidential election in New Jersey, 2004, 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 54.3% of the vote (5,951 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry, who received around 44.1% (4,830 votes), with 10,961 ballots cast among the township's 14,709 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 74.5. In the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2013, 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 70.8% of the vote (4,909 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 27.6% (1,913 votes), and other candidates with 1.7% (115 votes), among the 7,142 ballots cast by the township's 14,910 registered voters (205 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.9%. In the New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2009, 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 51.6% of the vote (3,712 ballots cast), ahead of both Democrat Jon Corzine with 40.1% (2,882 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 6.0% (433 votes), with 7,190 ballots cast among the township's 14,989 registered voters, yielding a 48.0% turnout.


Infrastructure

The United States Postal Service operates the Villas and North Cape May post offices.


Education

The Lower Township School District serves public school students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprised of four schools, had an enrollment of 1,718 students and 143.0 classroom teachers (on an full-time equivalent, FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.0:1.District information for Lower Township Elementary School District
National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 1, 2019.
Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are David C. Douglass Veterans Memorial School with 410 students in grades PreK-K, Carl T. Mitnick School with 401 students in grades 1–2, Maud T. Abrams School with 436 students in grades 3-4 and Charles W. Sandman Consolidated School with 449 students in grades 5–6. The Lower Township School District participates in the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, which allows non-resident students to attend the district's schools without cost to their parents, with tuition paid by the state. Seats in the program for non-resident students are specified by the district and are allocated by lottery. For seventh grade, seventh through twelfth grades, public school students attend the schools of the Lower Cape May Regional School District, which also serves students from Cape May, New Jersey, Cape May City and West Cape May, New Jersey, West Cape May, along with students from Cape May Point, New Jersey, Cape May Point who attend the district as part of a sending/receiving relationship. Schools in the district (with 2017-18 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Richard M. Teitelman Middle School with 458 students in grades 7-8 and Lower Cape May Regional High School with 871 students in grades 9-12. In the 2011–12 school year, the city of Cape May paid $6 million in property taxes to cover the district's 120 high school students, an average of $50,000 per student attending the Lower Cape May district. Cape May officials have argued that the district's funding formula based on assessed property values unfairly penalizes Cape May, which has higher property values and a smaller number of high school students as a percentage of the population than the other constituent districts, especially Lower Township. The district's board of education is nine members, who are elected directly by voters to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with three seats up for election each year Seats on the board are allocated based on population, with Lower Township assigned seven seats. Students are also eligible to attend Cape May County Technical High School in Cape May Court House, which serves students from the entire county in its comprehensive and vocational programs, which are offered without charge to students who are county residents. Wildwood Catholic Academy (PreK-12) in North Wildwood, New Jersey, North Wildwood, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden, is the closest Catholic school. Villas had its own Catholic K-8 school, St. Raymond's School, until 2007, when it merged into Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Cape May, New Jersey, Cape May. In 2010 Our Lady Star of the Sea merged into Cape Trinity Regional School (PreK – 8) in North Wildwood. - The author was the principal of Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School. That school in turn merged into Wildwood Catholic Academy in 2020. Bishop McHugh Regional School in Dennis Township, New Jersey, Dennis Township takes students from Lower Township. Cape May County Library operates the Lower Township Library in Villas.


Transportation

, the township had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the municipality, by Cape May County and by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The most prominent highway serving Lower Township is the Garden State Parkway, which has its southern terminus at the intersection with New Jersey Route 109, Route 109, within the township. U.S. Route 9 in New Jersey, U.S. Route 9, New Jersey Route 162, Route 162 and Ocean Drive (New Jersey), Ocean Drive are other significant roadways within Lower Township. NJ Transit offers bus service on the 313 (New Jersey bus), 313 and 315 (New Jersey bus), 315 routes between Cape May, New Jersey, Cape May / Wildwood, New Jersey, Wildwood / Philadelphia, on the 552 (New Jersey bus), 552 between Cape May and Atlantic City, New Jersey, Atlantic City, with seasonal service on the 319 (New Jersey bus), 319 route serving shore points between Cape May and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City's Midtown Manhattan. The Cape May–Lewes Ferry terminal is located in North Cape May. Operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the ferry makes the trip between Lower Township and Lewes, Delaware in 85 minutes, carrying passengers and vehicles. The Delaware River and Bay Authority operates a shuttle bus service that connects the ferry terminal with the Cape May Transportation Center in Cape May in the summer months and to the Cape May County Park & Zoo in July and August. Cape May Airport is in Lower Township.


Points of interest

* Battery 223 * Cape May Lighthouse * Cape May Winery & Vineyard * Owen Coachman House * Cold Spring Grange Hall * Cold Spring Presbyterian Church * Fire Control Tower No. 23 * Fishing Creek Schoolhouse * George Hildreth House * Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery *Historic Cold Spring Village * Jonathan Pyne House * Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum * Rio Grande Station (Rio Grande, New Jersey), Rio Grande Station * Turdo Vineyards & Winery


Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Lower Township include: * Bob Andrzejczak (born 1986), politician who represented the 1st Legislative District (New Jersey), 1st Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2013 to 2019 and in the New Jersey Senate in 2019. * Maurice Catarcio (1929–2005), professional wrestler for the World Wrestling Entertainment, World Wrestling Federation and record holder in ''The Guinness Book of World Records''. * T. Millet Hand (1902-1956), politician who represented New Jersey's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1945 to 1956. * Chris Jay, (born 1978), musician, screenwriter, actor, member of the band, Army of Freshmen. * Michael Linnington (born 1958), CEO of Wounded Warrior Project. * Charles W. Sandman Jr. (1921-1985), represented from 1967 to 1975. * Erik K. Simonsen, politician who represents the 1st Legislative District (New Jersey), 1st Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly and had served as mayor of Lower Township from 2016 until 2020. * Matt Szczur (born 1989), Major League Baseball outfielder.Caldwell, Dave
"Two Sports, One Big Choice"
''The New York Times'', December 16, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2016. "Szczur, a senior from Erma, N.J., gained attention late in the 2009 season after the National Marrow Donor Program determined that his bone marrow was a match for a 13-month-old girl with juvenile leukemia."


References


External links


Lower Township websiteLower Township School District
*
School Data for the Lower Township School District
National Center for Education Statistics
Lower Cape May Regional School DistrictThe Cape May Gazette
- Weekly newspaper covering Lower Township
Tabernacle United Methodist Church (est. 1803)
{{Authority control Lower Township, New Jersey, 1723 establishments in New Jersey Faulkner Act (council–manager) Jersey Shore communities in Cape May County Populated places established in 1723 Townships in Cape May County, New Jersey