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Letter To Editor: Township Knew About Off-Track Wagering Facility For Critical Months Before March 25th Meeting

At their March 25th meeting, the Township Committee stated that they knew about the off-track-wagering facility months before. This is information that the residents of Hillsborough deserve to know in a more timely way. Those months are critical for the public to understand the type of business being proposed and how it affects the quality of life in our town.  

The township may have known as early as July 20, 2013 because an Asbury Park Press article stated that  “…In addition to the Woodbridge OTW facility they operate, the original plan was to have two more OTWs open within 24 months. But 17 months later, all they have are plans to open one in Hillsborough, which they hope to have operational sometime in 2014.” Why is the Mayor only now making an attempt to inform residents? We urge Hillsborough residents to attend and let the Township Committee know how you feel about having a gambling facility in town and how poorly the Township has communicated with residents. The meeting is from 7-9 PM at the Municipal Building on Wednesday April 16th.

The Green Brook location was opposed by both the town council and residents. A Star Ledger article that covered Green Brook Township Committee’s rejection of a proposed betting site commented, “But Woodbridge officials said with Favorites' popularity came problems with parking and traffic, along with expenses, such as inspections and police, that the municipality has to shoulder.”  In fact, Woodbridge Committeeman Frank Mercuri said of the Woodbridge site, "During the lunch hour, I was surprised to find so many people. Most seats were occupied. The standing area behind the TVs were two to three people deep." The traffic and clientele were glossed over at the March 25th Hillsborough Township Committee meeting, but residents apparently raised valid concerns! Go to  http://www.hillsborough-nj.org/2014-videos/.

On November 27, 2013, a horse racing industry website already advised its readers, "We've cut significantly into the state losses, and we're getting started on a new off-track wagering facility in Hillsborough Township." The quote was from Dennis Drazin who is a consultant for Darby Development. They presented the concept at the March 25th Township Committee meeting.

Sometime between November and early January, Hillsborough residents could have been informed via the Mayor’s Township e-news letter or an informational forum.  Our elected officials should have responsibilities to the residents beyond what is legally required. 

Yes, this objection is written by two candidates for Township Committee. Current Township Committee members were quick to point out that John Beggiato and Thuy Anh Le were candidates when we spoke up at the March 25th meeting. We would have spoken up whether we were candidates or not, as we have in the past against the Open Space Public Question, Gibraltor Rock solar installation, Green Village development underway on Route 206, and now yet another issue that affects our quality of life in Hillsborough: off-track-wagering situated near Docherty Park ballfields.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Peter Elmalis April 11, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Sammy,my only agenda is to keep Hillsborough safe. You have a lot of answers and no solutions. I have visited on several different days and nights to see what it was and found the same clientele, each time and no wall streets types as proclaimed by Darby and the TC. It is not up to me to do this research, since I am not on the TC. If you like these type of facilities that is fine and, but they belong more in a city than a suburb. The TC did nothing until several residents were not going to go away quietly. All of a sudden they want 'Home Rule ' back, why did they not want Home rule back in January? I have told the TC that i would help fight this and asked for their help.This will be my last post, since I don't have time for your non sense. Why not spend the time trying to make something better, than attacking me. Wish you well.
Hugh April 11, 2014 at 02:13 PM
It would be very simple to ask the Woodbridge police for their records. If the town has experienced difficulties with the facility, we deserve to know. I gamble, I drink, I'm a grown up and not a prude or bluenose ( look it up), but there's a time and place for everything. Hillsborough needs a lot of things, but I don't think OTB is one of them.
sammy April 11, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Hugh, why? Plattitudes are nice but lets hear your logic for what seems to be the typical NIMBY response!!!
Hugh April 11, 2014 at 02:48 PM
Sammy, I've your comments before. You are rude and provocative and very contrary, so, I'd rather not engage with you.
sammy April 11, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Point taken, no worries. I agree, my rebuttals have been sarcastic, mean spirited and deliberate. Thank you for noticing. John Adams is one of my favorite historical figures , next to Tom Jeff... he said "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." I have strayed from the facts, to point out that they , the group shouting the loudest against this as you are , imposing hysteria, manic my way or the highway epithets in a cause to end the promise of something new. But suit yourself. This is a fun moment in a very dull day, getting a chance to debate ....

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