SHARE

Several resolutions and ordinances regarding Hopewell Township’s affordable housing obligation were heard at Monday night’s Hopewell Township Committee meeting. As reported in MercerMe, the Planning Board determined, on November 15, that the parcels, commonly referred to as “Zaitz,” “BMS,” “CF Hopewell,” and “Enourato,” were “technically inconsistent” with the Township Master Plan, due to each parcel’s currently zoning. Despite this, the Board found that the sites met the “overarching objectives of the Master Plan for meeting a wide-range of public policy needs that clearly advance many of the goals and objectives of the Master Plan.” In order to proceed with the redevelopment process for each site, the Township Committee was required to make statements to address why the Committee would adopt resolutions, allowing for residential use on each site. Each resolution presented at the meeting contain the reasons for proceeding with the process.

The following provides the salient meeting points:

The “Woodmont” Site

Location: (Block 78.09, Lot 21) Within Federal City and Bull Run Roads.

Number of homes to be built: 300 residential rental units (48 affordable and 252 market rate)

Property size: 22 acres

Ordinance first reading

  • The Redevelopment Plan was renegotiated to allow for a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement between Woodmont and the Township.
  • Rather than paying conventional taxes, Woodmont will make payments to the Township calculated based on a percentage of the annual gross revenue realized by Woodmont LLC and the operations of the project for a 30-year term.
  • The percentage of the annual gross revenue will start at 12.5% and increase to 15% over 30 years. It’s estimated that the first year will yield 870K and by the 30th year will amount to 2.6M. Rather than the disbursement of tax monies, collected by the Township, to various entities (i.e. school district, County, open space, library, municipality), under a PILOT agreement, 95% of the collected taxes will go to the Township and 5% to the County.
  • A second reading will take place at the December 11th Township Committee meeting.
The “Enourato” Site

Location: (Block 78, Lot 17) South side of Pennington circle on the east side of Rt. 31.

Number of homes to be built: 12 affordable and 58 market rate units

Property size: 11 acres

Introduction of Resolution and Adoption of ordinance

  • The Redevelopment Plan was passed via the resolution and the ordinance was approved.
  • Reasons why the Committee adopted the resolution despite “technical inconsistencies” with the Master Plan can be found on pages 15-17 of the agenda.
The BMS Site

Location: Within what is referred to as the “ring road” at 311 Pennington-Rocky Hill Road

Number of homes that might be built: 250 (50 affordable and 200 market rate units)

Property size: 441 acres

Introduction of Resolution and Adoption of Ordinance

  • The Redevelopment Plan was passed via the resolution and the ordinance was approved.
  • Building inclusionary housing on the BMS site is not a foregone conclusion. First, a future owner would have to want to build housing instead of increasing its office and lab space. The current General Development Plan (“GDP”), in effect until 2025, permits an expansion of 1.8M sq. ft. of office and lab space (it currently has 1M sq. ft. of office and lab space). If a future owner decides to build housing, the GDP must be amended, Preliminary and Final Site Plans must be submitted to the Planning Board, and additional Site Plan conditions must be met (i.e. reviews by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, and the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission) in order for project approval.
  • As reported in MercerMe, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) will be closing its Hopewell Township campuses located on Pennington-Rocky Hill Road and Carter Road by 2020. It currently represents 5.9% of the Township’s tax base and ideally, the new owner would be another life science company who would pay the same in taxes.
  • The site has public water, an on-site sewer plant, and access to the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority for wastewater treatment.
  • The ordinance does not provide for the development of commercial businesses on the site.
  • ExxonMobil was the owner of the site prior to BMS. The groundwater is being treated by ExxonMobil for a chemical contaminant which does not reach the surface. The site uses public water, not well.
  • Highlights of the public comments made by Jim Waltman, Executive Director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association included: (1) though not against housing built on the site, the Association “strongly opposes reversing protections for farmland and open space that were established in 2005 by the adoption of the GDP”; (2) the 220 acres of undeveloped land outside the “ring road” are protected by the GDP, containing the Kerr Farm, woods and wetlands on the east and west side of the Stony Brook. The Association is concerned that the Ordinance language does not provide enough language that will limit development within the “ring road”.
  • The ordinance states that “residential uses shall be located within the existing ring road.” According to the Township lawyer, “shall” is the same meaning as “must”.
  • The Township Committee stated that it is their intention to restrict development to within the “ring road” so that environmentally sensitive areas beyond it are not disturbed.
  • Reasons why the Committee adopted the resolution despite “technical inconsistencies” with the Master Plan can be found on pages 32-34 of the agenda.
The “Zaitz” Site

Location: (Block 85, Lots 3, 4, 5.01, 7, and 24) Includes the Pennington Shoprite, Wells Fargo, ExxonMobil sites and the wooded area behind the supermarket.

Number of homes to be built: 78 affordable and 301 market rate units

Property size: 61 acres

Introduction of Resolution and Adoption of Ordinance

  • The Redevelopment Plan was passed via the resolution and the ordinance was approved.
  • Zoned for residential and commercial
  • If future owner of BMS property does not want to build housing, those units (250) will be built on the Zaitz site.
  • Financing for a significant portion of the community center to be built come from the development.
  • Reasons why the Committee adopted the resolution despite “technical inconsistencies” with the Master Plan can be found on pages 44-46 of the agenda.
The “CF Hopewell” Site

Locations and number of homes to be built: (Block 91, Lots 3.11, 3.14, 3.161, 3.181, 3.191, 3.22, 3.95, 3.961) On Capital Health System (CHS) property, a continuing care and rehabilitation facility, and an age-restricted community will be built, totalling 35 affordable and 350 market rate units. (Block 93, Lots 3.01, 5.01, 6.01) Opposite CHS, on the other side of Scotch Road, from Washington Crossing-Pennington Road to I-95, 430 affordable and 1,720 market rate units will be built.

Introduction of Resolution and Adoption of Ordinance

  • The Redevelopment Plan was passed via the resolution and the ordinance was approved.
  • Lots are located within Ewing-Lawrence Sewage Authority (ELSA) sewer service area.
  • Reasons why the Committee adopted the resolution despite “technical inconsistencies” with the Master Plan can be found on pages 56-58 of the agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEAVE A REPLY