Middle Township is stepping up efforts to boost its economy, starting with making the development process more user-friendly and reaching out for public input. The Township feels it has a lot to offer: 80 square miles of diverse real estate, popular commercial areas such as Rio Grande and Cape May Court House, and a customer base that includes swelling numbers of tourists and hardworking locals.

“We have a renewed focus and have put several tools in place to encourage economic development that will provide jobs and enhance our community. Filling vacant stores is a top priority” said Mayor Michael Clark.

“The Zoning and Construction process should be designed to facilitate responsible commercial and residential development,” Committeeman Tim Donohue said.  “Too often this process can lead to unnecessary hurdles for the developer that cost valuable time and money. This new initiative, along with the recent positive changes in our Construction office, should offer better guidance from the start of a project, so that applicants can avoid costly pitfalls and delays.”

The focus includes offering business owners and developers the opportunity to meet with the zoning office by appointment on Friday mornings for a free conceptual review of their plans. Contact Kaytie Keating, Assistant Zoning Officer, at (609) 465-8742 or kkeating@middletownship.com to schedule an appointment. The Township wants to also remind business owners that although the Township does not have mercantile licenses, a zoning permit is required before opening any business.

In addition, the township’s Economic Development Council has also revamped its monthly meetings to include guest speakers who will highlight resources available to business owners. On Tuesday, October 3rd at 7:00 p.m., the council’s business assistance and facade loan programs will be highlighted, the zoning approval process will be discussed, and the group will solicit feedback on a Township Farmer’s Market. The meetings are open to the public and will be held in the Municipal Building’s public meeting room, enter on Boyd Street. For more information, contact Economic Development Coordinator Nancy Sittineri, (609) 465-8731 or nsittineri@middletownship.com.

The Township is also exploring the potential for growth and jobs in areas such as aquaculture, eco-tourism and recreation. These topics will be featured in future public meetings.

The township is also actively soliciting feedback from business owners as to challenges they face and tools for their success. Visit http://middletownship.com/departments/economic-development/ and click on the box: “How Can Middle Township Help Your Business?” to provide input.