The Hammonton Gazette 02/28/24 Edition

$ 1 00 hammontongazette . com Volume 28 • Issue 9 Wednesday , February 28 , 2024

Hammonton Insider : One-on-One with Michael Torrissi Jr .

Inside Page 10
$ 1 00 hammontongazette . com Volume 28 • Issue 9 Wednesday , February 28 , 2024

Lake Water Quality Advisory Committee outed

HAMMONTON — It ’ s over . The Hammonton Town Council voted Monday night on Feb . 26 to eliminate the Lake Water Quality Advisory Committee ( LWQA ). While the vote on the earlier reading carried 5-2 , Monday night ’ s final reading and sequential vote to dissolve the committee was approved just 4-3 .
Mayor Stephen DiDonato and Deputy Mayor Thomas Gribbin continued their opposition to the move , voting against the motion . Monday night the pair were joined by a third vote against the move , Councilwoman Renee Rodio , who had voted in favor of the committee ’ s demise in the previous council meeting .
Rodio reconsidered her position after hearing discussion on the topic and public comments . She felt the council could have

Planing Board approves expansion

by Kristin Guglietti GAZETTE STAFF WRITER
HAMMONTON — The Hammonton Planning and Zoning Board approved an application to expand the back of Blue Rascal Distillery on Feb . 13 at town hall .
The first zoning board issue the board looked at was an “ expansion of non-conforming use with variances relief and site plan waiver for KCP Real Estate Holdings operating as Blue Rascal Distillery .”
Councilman Jonathan Oliva and planning and zoning board member Edward Wuillermin recused themselves from the first application because it involves a Class D Variance .
Attorney Thomas Darcy represented the applicant Curtis Perone , the owner of Blue Rascal Distillery .
Darcy said in 2018 Perone came to the board to get approval for waiver of site plan , change of use and use variance for Perone ’ s distillery located at 8 West End Ave .
“ What Curt is asking the board tonight is to allow him to expand the use of the distillery with respect to his tours and barrel storage into this rear section of the property and in order to accomplish that we need certain relief from the board ,” Darcy said .
One of those items the applicant is asking is a D- 2 variance , which is an expansion of a preexisting non-conforming use .
“ Once people go through the tour in the building itself , they can come out and do a visual observation of the barrel storage in the shed and then they can sit down , relax and enjoy the sample they were given inside the distillery ,” Darcy said .
According to Darcy , there is no service outside the rear section of the property , which means no food is
done more to improve the board ’ s
using science ,” he said .
success .
He continued to
spoke with The Gazette after the meeting to explain her position .
list reasoning for moving the function of the LWQA Committee to the
“ I
Parks and Recreation
needed to give
them more time to
establish the committee
, a response
. I think we
needed to give
statements LWQA
Committee Chairman
Dan Bachalis members , appoint
Jonathan Oliva
Dan Bachalis another member made during the to the board to help them ,” she
While the application of public comment section of the said . science to the lake water is important , Councilman Jonathan
Bachalis read from a pre- meeting .
The councilwoman believed the board was beneficial . While
Oliva stated the suggested
pared statement , stating a desire strictly an advisory board , move did not eliminate that aspect going forward . In an ad- the proposed ordinance . As to to shed some transparency upon
Rodio felt their attention to science was an asset .
dress to the council and those in the claim that the committee
“ Council does have the ultimate decision , but they advise
Oliva said that the use of nine months in 2023 , he said attendance at the meeting , only sent approved minutes for us , and I think what they are science was not in question . that only December was not approved . The chairman did not doing in regard to the science
“ I am absolutely not advocating that we don ’ t use science . I dispute the statement that of the part is very important ,” she said . am not advocating that we stop nine-member board only four
See PLANNING , Page 8

Bachalis , Oliva defend positions

SUBSCRIBE TO The Gazette • hammontongazette . com • 609-704-1939 have 75 percent or greater attendance . He said that a series of unforeseeable health related issues requiring treatments negatively impacted attendance and that Oliva had only attended the January meeting of 2023 .

He did not deny another statement that the LWQA Committee had less than 50 percent attendance in three of the nine meetings where completed minutes were submitted . Bachalis said that attendance alone is not sufficient reasoning for dissolution , especially since a quorum is not required in non-voting or decision-making meetings . He went on to claim that the record demonstrates that the committee had a quorum at every meeting in 2023 and questioned why Oliva would assert such false claims and went on to blame Oliva for speaking in favor of denying the committee a role in the matter regarding reviewing and reporting on the DuBois
See COUNCIL , Page 2

Breaking Boundaries event at SJA

Kristin Guglietti / THG
St . Joseph Academy held the Women Institute of Leadership Development ( W . I . L . D .) Program ’ s first annual Breaking Boundaries Dinner on Feb . 23 at the media center where guest speakers talked with students about leadership and what it means to be a leader . Pictured are St . Joseph Academy W . I . L . D . Program students . Front row ( l-r ): Alaina Dorsey and Ella Way . Back row ( l-r ): Giselle Pescatore , Ava Starr , Talia Sanfilippo , Kylie Tomlin and Elaina Portalatin . For full story and more photos , see the March 6 edition of The Gazette . one dollar