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Properties in the area of Diverty Road, in Pennington / Hopewell Township, are being considered as “in need of redevelopment,” by the Hopewell Township planning board, as the board began the discussion its meeting last Thursday night.

At Monday’s committee meeting, by way of resolution, the Committee instructed the planning board to “undertake an expedited investigation of the sites commonly described as Zaitz…”, a Township owned property behind the Pennington Circle Shop Rite. The agenda and resolution referred to additional properties at Block 85, Lot 30 and Block 86, Lots 32, 33, 34, and 130.

The Committee discussed the addition of these properties as an extension of the Zaitz tract area, a site poised for future development including affordable housing. The additional tracts would tying into the improvements in Zaitz tract to alleviate traffic.

At the planning board meeting, Township Planner Frank Banisch characterized the resolution as incorporating “a missing tract” in the Zaitz area of Hopewell Township into the redevelopment plan. After additional discussion, Banisch explained that the properties on Diverty Road would be utilized as a connection from the anticipated development on Zaitz.

“We are commanding control of one of the most uncontrolled aspects. In the long run, we to have the opportunity to go south [which] is why this will likely be part of the plan,” said Banisch.

Planning board members questioned the pace and timing, as well as their autonomy in making this decision.

“At some point the planning board should have some say, rather than being handed this,” said planning board member Russ Swanson.

“We didn’t have a real opportunity to shape the redevelopment plan because it was all in the settlement agreement,” said Chairwoman Karen Murphy.

“If i lived on Diverty Road, I’d be a little worried right now,” said another planning board member.

“I don’t like the pace of all this,” said member Lawrence Clark. “ t is not reasonable that any layman could keep up with the pace that we are having to to accomplish all this. I would have hoped the pace would be more reasonable so the Board and the public could absorb all of this. It is coming so rapid fire and there are special meetings. Government is slow for good reason: so the public can come along and be part of it and digest it.”

When pressed by planning board members and members of the public for more specific details regard traffic impact, Banisch explained, “We are talking about a planning goal and objective, not alignment right now,”

The public hearing, which is the opportunity for public comments, for this resolution will be at the Hopewell Township Planning Board meeting on February 22, 2018 at 7pm.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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