Lacey Township, New Jersey

Lacey Township, New Jersey

Lacey Township is a Township in Ocean County, New Jersey and is considered part of the Jersey Shore region. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 25,346. It was named for Continental Army General John Lacey.

Lacey Township was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1871, from portions of Dover Township (now known as Toms River Township) and Union Township (now Barnegat Township). Portions of the township were taken on June 23, 1933, to form the borough of Island Beach (which is now part of Berkeley Township).

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is located in the southern part of the township.

Murray Grove is a Unitarian-Universalist retreat and conference center in Lanoka Harbor, traditionally considered the site where Universalism in America began.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 98.5 square miles (255.2 km²), of which, 84.0 square miles (217.6 km²) of it is land and 14.5 square miles (37.6 km²) of it (14.74%) is water. The township is bordered by the Barnegat Bay to the East, Berkeley Township on the North, Ocean Township to the South, and Woodland Township to the West.

Forked River is a census-designated place and unincorporated area located within Lacey Township. The township also contains the unincorporated area of Lanoka Harbor. Bamber Lakes, Laurel Harbor and Sun Rise Harbor are also areas of Lacey Township. The township names its fire stations after the various areas of Lacey Township.

In Lacey Township, the north-south track of the Garden State Parkway serves as an informal use divider under the 1979 Pinelands Act and the subsequent Comprehensive Management Plan. To the east of the Parkway are more than 95% of Lacey's residential dwellings, located in the unincorporated areas of Lanoka Harbor and Forked River. To the Parkway's west is a mostly undisturbed pine and cedar forest, part of New Jersey's vast Pine Barrens. The forest is interspersed with a scattered few farms, houses ranches, the tiny community of Bamber Lake and open pit gravel quarries - all of which predate passage of the Pinelands Act or were developed under its tight zoning rules. The conditions of grandfathering vary - the mines' exceptions are to expire upon the deaths of their owners whereas the farms' exceptions are indefinite. Development west of the parkway is strictly controlled by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.

Many Ocean County residents commonly refer to all of Lacey Township as Forked River with the first word pronounced with two syllables (FOR-ked or FORK-ed). Pronouncing the first word with one syllable is a sign of a new resident or a Benny.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 25,346 people, 9,336 households, and 7,244 families residing in the township. The population density was 301.7 people per square mile (116.5/km²). There were 10,580 housing units at an average density of 126.0/sq mi (48.6/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 97.85% White, 0.36% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.15% of the population.

There were 9,336 households out of which 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.5% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the township the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $55,938, and the median income for a family was $61,298. Males had a median income of $47,406 versus $30,088 for females. The per capita income for the township was $23,136. About 3.7% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.


Local government

Lacey Township is governed under the Township form of government with a five-member Township Committee. The Township Committee is elected directly by the voters in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor.

Members of the Township Committee are Mayor David Most (R, term ends December 31, 2008), Deputy Mayor John C. Parker (R, 2010), Brian A. Reid (R, 2010), Mark Dykoff (R, 2009), and Gary Quinn (R, 2009).

Recent local controversies have surrounded development and land use. In particular, a proposal to build a road on an old railroad right of way behind the ShopRite has been a major issue in town. Other issues involve the lack of water resources to sustain the proposed Home Depot, which opened October 18, 2007 and Wal-Mart, which has yet to begin construction.

Federal, state and county representation

Lacey Township is in the Third Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 9th Legislative District.


The Lacey Township School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are three K-4 elementary schools — Cedar Creek School (K-4; 597 students), Forked River School (K-4; 545) and Lanoka Harbor School (K-4; 658) — Mill Pond School for grades 5&6 (95) Lacey Township Middle School for grades 7&8 (835) and Lacey Township High School for students in grades 9-12 (1,535).


The township had an annual Night of Lights on the Forked River, which was a boat parade at night in August. Owners dressed up their boats with lights and sailed down the river at night to the Captain's Inn.

The Cancer Walk held annually at Gille Park brings together many residents to donate money towards cancer research.

Lacey has experienced a rapid growth in recent years with the addition of many new developments and new stores being built around town. Lacey is beginning to turn into a small city due to the vast development.

One recent example of such development is the planned development of a 140,000 square foot Wal-Mart on the site of the 250-year-old Good Luck Farm., despite the availability of two nearby Wal-Mart locations in neighboring Manahawkin and Toms River.


Lacey is home to many businesses, the largest employer being the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

Points of interest

  • Popcorn Park Zoo is a small zoo that houses over 200 rescued animals, and includes a pet adoption center.
  • The Old Schoolhouse Museum is a small old school building that was built in the mid-1800s as the first school in Forked River, and was used as a school until 1954.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Lacey Township include:


External links

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