Barnegat is a 33.62 square mile land area township in southern New Jersey with a (1997 estimated) population of approximately 13, 500. It is best described as lying in the south-central coastal portion of Ocean County, adjoining Barnegat Bay. The municipality's boundary is coterminous with the Ocean County municipalities of Lacey, Ocean, Long Beach, Harvey Cedars, Stafford and, Woodland in Burlington County.
In addition to easy access to and from the Garden State Parkway, Barnegat is positioned in a hub of intersecting state and county highways. State Highway 72, traversing east to west, gives easy access to Burlington County and Philadelphia; while County Route 539, which intersects Route 72, links the Township with Trenton. U.S. Highway 9 and the Garden State Parkway bisect the Township in a north-south direction affording ready access to tvvo of the major regional transportation corridors in the State of New Jersey. This network of roads provides convenient access from major mid-Atlantic cities plus quick, easy routes to Philadelphia and Atlantic City's International Airports and Rail Terminals, Atlantic City casinos, Six Flags Great Adventure theme park, Victorian Cape May, the Cape May County Zoo and the pristine beaches of Long Beach Island.
Rich in tradition, Barnegat's early settlement and development can be attributed to another regional asset, Barnegat Bay. In its early settlement, Barnegat Township was one of the leading sea ports in the region. Commerce, glass making and ship building quickly developed and were responsible for the evolution of Barnegat Village. Many marine oriented and fishing activities still abound in the Township and are characteristic of Barnegat's early growth.
Within Barnegat Township there is a Historic District with parks, antique stores, gift shops & boutiques, ice cream parlors & restaurants and museums. An additional 6.14 square miles of water area on Barnegat Bay offer a public dock & boardwalk, boat launching facilities, crabbing and fishing, plus a bay bathing beach: Barnegat Township participates in the Ocean County Historical Trail. It also embodies a division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, plus parts of the Pasadena and Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Areas.
The Township currently has 4,596 residential properties and 111 with commercial uses, yet Barnegat is still a viable area for commercial and residential growth. There are presently 3,250 Planned Adult Community homes with Preliminary or Final Planning Board approvals and, 586 non age-restricted detached, single family units. Many of these are already under construction. During the 9/1/96-7/31/97 period, 51 Certificates of Occupancy were issued for adult housing and 44 for non age-restricted. Other low to medium intensity commercial and office development projects are under Board review or being constructed, Including Barnegat Village Square, a 70,750 sq-ft shopping center with a major supermarket. These will provide the necessary products and services to the increased population. Additional shopping areas are located nearby in Stafford Township. Barnegat offers a state-of-the-art branch of the Ocean County Library system.
The Sept/97 Barnegat Board of Education enrollment was 1,414 students for grades K-5, and 700 students in grades 6-8. Barnegat enrolls 777 students in grades 9-12 through the Southern Regional School District high school facilities in Stafford Township.