To the Editor:
Hopewell Township has its own alternate-facts apparatus, in the form of Harvey Lester and Jon Edwards. Both are self-promoting purveyors of false and purposely scary information about new housing plans for the township.
Having served on the Planning Board for a total of 14 years and was part of the creation of the Master Plan, I am quite familiar with the development process. So are Lester and Edwards. They, as well as I, know that from the time the zoning ordinance is put in place to the time a development is started takes years, and more years till people move in. Before construction begins on any project, there are a number of studies that have to be conducted. These include environmental impact, hydrological, and traffic studies. Lester-Edwards would have you believe that any planning, zoning and ultimate development is going to happen, in secret, day after tomorrow. Not.
They know it’s not. But they and Jim Burd encourage misinformation by asking that studies take place now, before a plan has been presented by any developer, when they are fully aware that those studies will take place after a plan has been submitted. The developer pays for such studies, not the township. Then the studies are evaluated by our professional staff.
They know that the affordable housing settlement provides an opportunity for the construction of affordable housing but does not mandate it. And they know that the public will have many opportunities between now and some future year when shovels are in the ground to voice their opinions. Our Planning Board does not operate in secret. They know this, too, but want you to believe otherwise.
They ignore this reality to promote themselves (they would each love to talk with no time limit!). And they are bizarrely supported by Committee Member John Hart, who approved the unanimous, bipartisan settlement agreement last year but keeps denying he supported it. (Sound like any national figure we know?)
It’s just horse feathers to claim that the public has been shut out of the process and has no voice. That is simply false. People, follow the dictates of Lester-Edwards at your peril; they are looking for non-thinking followers.
NOTE: Letters to the Editor of MercerMe are published at the discretion of the editor. The submission of any letter does not guarantee publication, and the editor reserves the right to not publish any submission.