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Dancer with Wolfe

Is Assemblyman Dancer Trying To Avoid A Fiocchi Ethics Challenge?


Bear with me here as I ramble on private property in pursuit of the scent …

Yesterday, in a post about the Plumsted sewer plan, I casually mentioned that Assemblyman and former New Egypt Mayor Dancer attended and was recognized at the public hearing.

I’ve been to countless DEP and related public hearings before where the local Legislator is recognized as a courtesy.

The Legislator appears for a cameo, is recognized by the hearing officer, and almost always takes a bow, makes a gesture (i.e stand up and wave) or steps up for a brief statement to thank the public for coming and to show the public he or she cares.

Shortly thereafter, especially after the press and the cameras have left, the Legislator quietly slinks out the back door, rarely if ever remaining for the entire meeting to listen to all the “boring” public testimony.

But, I found Assemblyman Dancer’s attendance last night very odd – very odd.

After he was recognized by name by the DEP hearing officer, Dancer made no public comment whatsoever, not even a gesture – like standing up – or a wave to the crowd.

He remained quietly seated for the entire hearing.

He took constant and copious notes during the entire hearing.

I’ve never seen any of that before by  a Legislator in my 30 years of Trenton experience.

Yesterday, I even wrote that I felt Dancer had intimidated the audience, and possibly forced a man to rescind his testimony. In response to that, a man that was present at the hearing wrote me an email to say:

The guy who walked back his claim did so AFTER the 7 minute recess period (which I found very unusual given it’s brevity). As I was speaking to people during that time, I was looking over toward that part of the room and that guy was in the group of people speaking with Dancer. No doubt whatsoever in my mind that Dancer took him aside and intimidated him enough to get him to retract his formerly accurate statement. I loathe telling people how to write (most especially you, who has mastered writing far better than I), but I think it is worth rewording that section to make people aware of the particular circumstances of“the break in the meeting/Dancer speaking with the guy (his name was Mr. Wall)/Wall then retracting his statement”

Could it be that Assemblyman Dancer is concerned about his current situation as Business administrator for New Egypt?

[Holy Moly! Dancer’s on the Plumstead MUA too!]

We understand that he served as Mayor, but was asked to step down by Gov. Christie’s “double dipping” campaign and slyly chose to retain his power as Business administrator at a salary of $1.

Could it be that Assemblyman Dancer is aware of my ethics challenge to fellow Republican Assemblyman Fiocchi and avoided any appearance of promoting a developer and similar ethical conflict?

Perhaps he thinks I’m on a 1 man crusade to rid the Legislature of corporate corruption? (he might be right!)

Or was Dancer playing some other kind of game – I note that he’s not been reluctant to work in support of the sewer plan in other public fora, so why the demure silence at this public hearing:

Business Administrator Dancer brought the Committee up-to-date on the Land Use Board Meeting the night before. He said under the Housing and Redevelopment Laws the Land Use Board should review and make any recommendations to the Township Committee with respect to their Redevelopment Plan. The Redevelopment Plan was amended approximately ten years ago in 2005. Recently the Land Use Board and the MUA had joint discussions and brought inPlumsted’s Professional Planner Dave Roberts. Roberts made recommendations for the Redevelopment Plan. The most significant item was to provide for an option for a fall back plan in the event, for whatever the reason, the Township could not get a sewer permit or the ability for the Township or MUA to provide sewers so the Planned Residential Retirement Community Property. This could provide another option for development in a redevelopment area. The option to purchase the property was nearing an expiration date. Lennar is negotiating with the property owner and is looking for a fall back plan and option fee. The option recommended by the Land Use Board to the Township Committee was that it provide approximately 40% of the PRRC to have age restricted, age targeted with single family dwellings that may have some school children but on a limited basis. This was a fall back in the event the worst case scenario the Township did not receive sewers and could not have the full senior retirement community build out. This is a recommendation by the Land Use Board which has been forwarded to the Township Committee to introduce by title an ordinance at this meeting to give Professional Planner Dave Roberts an opportunity to refine the language to ensure that if any particular section of the Zoning Map and Chapter 15 needed to be amended. If this was introduced by title at this meeting, it could be scheduled for second reading and public hearing at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Mayor Leutwyler felt that it should be noted that this was Plan B and the Township and Developer did not want to go there but it was there if needed. Committeeman Trotta questioned the timing of Plan B if Plan A did not come to suitable solution for the treatment and disposal of wastewater. Dancer said that language was in the Redevelopment Plan. 

Here is the applicant’s own document stating that DEP had historically, as recently as 2007, opposed the sewer permit:


Now, all that sure is curious, no?

Perhaps Dancer made some calls to his friend and fellow Republican in Charge of the Christie DEP, Bob Martin?

Perhaps that Dancer intervention is what reversed DEP’s historical opposition to granting sewer approvals?

As Dancer surely knows, at least one Ocean County Republican has gone to jail for intervening in DEP permit decisions.

Maybe that – and the Fiocchi challenge – are what explains his recent curious silence.

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