Colts Neck is a community in Central New Jersey, located within the New York metropolitan area. Many people choose to move to Colts Neck due to its open space and proximity to the Jersey Shore, while still being within commuting distance of New York City and, to a lesser extent, Philadelphia. The township's strict zoning ordinances have long kept out urban development and chain stores, allowing for locally owned businesses, while still being close to malls, movie theaters, and other amenities in neighboring communities. A 2007 study of New Jersey's wealthiest communities listed Colts Neck as New Jersey's 16th wealthiest municipality and categorized the township's population as "top rung", meaning:
These communities are the wealthiest consumer market, representing less than 1 percent of all U.S. households. These highly educated residents are in their peak earning years, aged 45 to 64, in married-couple households, with or without children. The median age is 42.3 years. With the purchasing power to indulge any choice, Top Rung residents travel in style, both domestically and overseas. This is the top market for owning or leasing a luxury car; residents favor new imported vehicles, especially convertibles. Exercise and community activities are part of their busy lifestyle. Avid readers, these residents find time to read two or more daily newspapers and countless books.
The township has a Farmland Preservation Committee which to date has preserved nearly 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land, providing one way in which Colts Neck has been able to prevent large-scale development. The township has strict zoning regulations, and because there is no public water or sewage service, most homes must be built on lots covering a minimum of 2, 5 and 10 acres (4.0 ha).
Originally a farming community, Colts Neck has long been known for its large number of equestrian farms. From the 1950s into the 1970s many of Colts Neck's heavily wooded areas were developed with large colonial and ranch-style houses on acre-sized lots. In the 1980s and continuing into the 2000s much of the town's farm land has been replaced with large houses, mansions and sprawling estates, although a large number of equestrian farms remain. During this time period increasing home prices in northern New Jersey and New York City resulted in large numbers of people moving to central New Jersey, causing real estate prices in Colts Neck and surrounding towns to rise considerably over the course of the two decades. Colts Neck real estate prices remain high despite the economic downturn: as of November 2012, the average listing price of a house was $1,433,112 and the number of home sales is down 41.4% from the previous year.
Many of Colts Neck's residents are professional business people who commute into New York City's financial district, as could be seen in the unusual proportion of the small community who were lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center. A memorial garden dedicated to the five members of the community who were lost was created at the municipal center by sculptor Jim Gary, a member of the community who was raised in Colts Neck. The central feature of the memorial garden is his sculpture of metal and stained glass.
A 2007 study of New Jersey's wealthiest communities shows Colts Neck had a median household income of $166,495, up from $109,190 in 2000, and the average household income was $232,520. The per capita income for the township as of 2007 was $70,781 up from $46,795 in 2000. The average household net worth, not including equity in homes, is $1,088,351 and the average disposable income for a household is $140,507.
There were 3,277 households of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 77.4% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.1% were non-families. 11.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the township, 28.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 17.0% from 25 to 44, 33.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.6 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $154,491 (with a margin of error of +/- $16,020) and the median family income was $166,909 (+/- $14,315). Males had a median income of $117,917 (+/- $16,897) versus $67,188 (+/- $14,434) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $65,919 (+/- $6,519). About 2.0% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 2.3% of those age 65 or over.
There were 3,513 households out of which 50.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 83.1% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 9.1% were non-families. 7.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.17 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the township the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 109.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.4 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $109,190, and the median income for a family was $117,980. Males had a median income of $55,609 versus $38,457 for females. The per capita income for the township was $46,795. 2.8% of the population and 2.2% of families were living below the poverty line, including 2.2% of under eighteens and 2.8% of those over 64.
Colts Neck 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 and another as deputy mayor.
As of 2013[update], the Colts Neck Township Committee consists of Mayor Michael D. Fitzgerald (R, term on committee ends December 31, 2015; term as mayor ends 2013), Deputy Mayor Russell Macnow (R, term on committee and as deputy mayor ends 2013), Jarrett R. Engel (R, 2014), Thomas Orgo (R, 2014) and James C. Schatzle (R, 2015).
The Colts Neck Fire Department is split between two fire companies. Company #1, organized in 1926, is located on Route 537. Company #2, located on Conover Road, was established in 1970. In case of a hazardous materials emergency, the HazMat team from the Middletown Township Special Services unit is called.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 7,303 registered voters in Colts Neck Township, of which 952 (13.0%) were registered as Democrats, 2,805 (38.4%) were registered as Republicans and 3,539 (48.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 7 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 67.8% of the vote here (3,970 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 30.4% (1,781 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (46 votes), among the 5,856 ballots cast by the township's 7,581 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.2%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 68.8% of the vote here (3,929 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 28.5% (1,629 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (37 votes), among the 5,708 ballots cast by the township's 7,200 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 79.3.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 76.7% of the vote here (3,174 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 17.9% (741 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.7% (193 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (16 votes), among the 4,139 ballots cast by the township's 7,433 registered voters, yielding a 55.7% turnout.
Two major state roads pass through the township: Route 18 (the freeway portion) and Route 34.
Major county roads that traverse the township are CR 520 (along the border) and CR 537.
Laird & Company produces Laird's Applejack at its facility in the Scobeyville section of the township. Since the end of distilling in Colts Neck in 1972, the company has had its apples picked and distilled in Virginia, and then brought north to be aged, blended and bottled at its facility in the township. The only remaining producer of Applejack in the United States, the company received the first license granted by the United States Department of the Treasury, which was granted in 1780.
Jim Gary (1939–2006), sculptor, popularly known for his large, colorful creations of dinosaurs made from discarded automobile parts as well as for his elegant life-sized figures and fine art. His gallery, Iron Butterfly, was founded in his "hometown" of Colts Neck and remained there for many years.
Bruce Springsteen (born 1949), rock and roll legend, owns the town's largest equestrian farm and built his home on the farm. He recorded a large part of his album Nebraska in a house he rented in Colts Neck.
^via Associated Press. "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in", NJ.com, October 31, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2013. "Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey today, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor's gallery that rings the chamber.... Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year."
^Hopkins, Kathleen. "Arnone chosen to serve as freeholder director", Asbury Park Press, January 7, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2013. "The Board of Freeholders at its annual organization meeting on Thursday selected Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone to serve as its director for 2013.... Curley, 59, of Middletown, who served as freeholder director for 2012, was sworn in for a second, three-year, term on the all-GOP board. DiMaso, 49, of Holmdel, was sworn in to serve the final year of the unexpired term of Robert Clifton, which she successfully ran for in November."
^Polanin, Nicholas. "Wines winning over the Garden State", Courier News]], September 23, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013. "Last week, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher visited 4 JG’s Orchards and Vineyards in Colts Neck to announce the beginning of Wine Week in New Jersey, celebrating the Garden State’s grape harvest.... 4 JG’s Orchards & Vineyards, www.4jgswinery.com/, is a 60-acre farm named after its four owners, John and Janet Giunco and their two children, John and Jill."
^District 12 Profile, Eagleton Institute of Politics. Accessed November 11, 2007. "His GOP running mate is Caroline Casagrande of Colts Neck, an attorney in the Matawan firm of Cleary, Alfieri, Jones & Hoyle who currently serves as the Township Attorney for Manalapan."
^Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "9/11 Widows Skillfully Applied The Power of a Question: Why?", The New York Times, April 1, 2004. Accessed July 8, 2012. "Kristen Breitweiser was at home in Middletown, N.J., cleaning out closets. Patty Casazza of Colts Neck was dashing to the dry cleaners. Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick was headed out to do grocery shopping. Her neighbor Mindy Kleinberg had just packed her children off to school."
^Staff. "Who's What Where", The Boston Globe, March 12, 2000. Accessed April 17, 2011. "White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd., headquartered in Hanover, has added Raymond Barrette of Hanover and Steven E. Fass of Colts Neck, N.J., to its board of directors."
^Haughney, Christine; and Konigsberg, Eric. "Despite Tough Times, Ultrarich Keep Spending", The New York Times, April 14, 2008. Accessed May 18, 2008. "In recent months, Mr. Parmar, who lives in Colts Neck, N.J., said he bought 140 acres in Mineola, Tex., and is spending $20 million to begin building a refuge there for abused tigers."
^Peele, Thomas. "Legacy of activism comes from the Boss", The Vindicator, May 17, 2005. Accessed July 8, 2012. "In January 1982, he recorded a batch of songs in his bedroom of a rented house in Colts Neck, N.J. Ten were released that October as Nebraska, a stark, brooding collection about serial killers, gamblers, thieves and growing up poor."