Residents of Hopewell Township were vocal about their stance on issues before the Township Committee at the latest meeting on June 11. Members of the community confidently stepped up to the podium, some to dispute the committee and others to show their appreciation.
“It’s very apparent to me, having had the opportunity this evening to listen to the public section of your agenda that democracy is alive and well in Hopewell Township,” David Goodman, an audience member, said.
Much of the opposition was pertained to an ordinance introduced at the meeting that explains the future construction of a connecting road between Diverty and Denow Road. Some residents expressed concerns regarding the potential disruption of the flow of traffic, while others shared environmental concerns in building over a wetland.
“We want them [PSE&G] to have this easement because it gives us choices and any kind of good planner in life, if you’re a teacher, if you have a job, you know that you have to plan for every possibility,” Deputy Mayor Julie Blake said. “When those windows open up and those opportunities to plan for all options arise, you take them. It would be bad governing, it would be bad planning if we didn’t take advantage of the people coming in, making the changes to ask for that easement, but that was in the plans all along.”
Residents also shared their concerns about affordable housing, and urged the Township to do more to satisfy its obligations, while keeping in mind the long-term budgetary effects it will have on the Township.
“I read a study, a document that was put out that talks about nine ways that the affordable housing obligation can be satisfied in the State of New Jersey, successfully satisfied,” Melanie Phillips, a resident of Hopewell said. “Of the nine ways, it seems that we’re only really utilizing three of them and one of them isn’t really a way, it is the redevelopment tract.”
Aside from the debate around the ordinance and affordable housing, the Committee passed a resolution regarding transparency in political contributions, declared that June 1 be “Gun Violence Awareness Day” and encouraged people to wear orange to show their support, and passed a resolution that appointed Andrew Borders as the Alternate No. 2 member to the zoning board.
The discussion involving the easement between Diverty and Denow Road ordinance will be continued at the committee’s next meeting on June 25.