RNJ News Department

Local Railroad Attraction In Middle of Zoning Dispute (UPDATED)

The entrance to the mine at the site in question. (Credit: 877trainride.org)
The entrance to the mine at the site in question. (Credit: 877trainride.com)

OXFORD Twp. (WRNJ Radio) – After a confusion over whom to notify of a Warren County Agricultural Tourism Board meeting, the fate the Delaware River Railroad Excursion is unknown until at least August, a legal representative for the organization said.

Pohatcong Township officials say a railroad amusement is in violation of local zoning ordinances as it stands, and must shut down. One way to stay open, as recommended by the Pohatcong Land Use Board, is to earn designation as a commercial agricultural destination. Under New Jersey state law, such operations can be exempt from local zoning rules.

The excursion’s attorney, Julie Hersh, said neighbors within a certain proximity of the site must be notified prior to the meeting. Since there was a misunderstanding over who to notify, the WCATB’s consideration of the application could happen as early as August, Hersh said.

Pohatcong Mayor James Kern III said in an interview with WWOR-TV that the train poses a liability problem. Chris Cotty, vice president of excursion, said since that TV interview, the organization has expanded its insurance coverage to protect to the town. Cotty said he was not told by the town that was an issue.

In addition to the zoning violation alleged, a few neighbors take issue with an explosion heard on site. Cotty said that it was merely a recording of an explosion, and burros grazing on neighboring fields were louder when decibel levels were tested.