Hopewell Borough Council
The Hopewell Borough Council met November 3. The session began with public comment, and local resident, Clark Reed, spoke to the Council.
Drug use in the Borough
Reed said he was a lifelong resident of Hopewell and that he was concerned with how the Borough was being policed.
“There are more than one drug den in the Borough that are actively being used to to use and purchase drugs. If I seem upset, it is because I am. I have three young children and yesterday morning on Seminary Avenue, I personally witnessed a heroin sale go down,” said Reed.
Reed suggested that the Borough pay for its own police officer. He said that, “parking and speeding tickets could most likely pay this person’s salary, and they could work out of Borough Hall.”
Mayor Paul Anzano said that addiction was a tragedy that should be handled compassionately and that the Borough should do more outreach to help people as opposed to just incarcerating them. Anzano acknowledged that police ticketing in the Borough was still down from its pre-pandemic numbers, but that tickets are increasing under the new chief.
5G cell phone carriers
The Council then heard a presentation from Munisite Networks about the benefits of creating a Small Wireless Facilities Ordinance. The company specializes in building concealment poles that can support up to three 5G carriers. According to the representative, cell phone carriers otherwise have the legal right to install unattractive towers in a municipality without input from the governing body. Cell phone carriers save money when they rent space on a concealment tower, so they welcome the concept, too.
Munisite has created a guide for the legal language needed for inclusion in a Small Wireless Facilities Ordinance to further incentivize the use of concealment poles. The ordinance is given freely to municipalities.
“If, five to seven years from now, you decide that you don’t want this open, we would work with you. We will do everything possible to make it aesthetic. It’s coming. You can’t prohibit a carrier from deploying [5G technology],” said the representative.
“From a regulatory standpoint, with your system in place, is the municipality able to preclude them from installing their own?” asked Council member David Mackie.
The representative said that it technically did not. However, the company would have to prove that the system was not compatible with their needs, which they would be unable to do.
Anzano said that he found the proposal propelling and something worthy of Council members discussing at the next meeting.
New structure footprint limitation
Next, the council had a final reading of the change to the masterplan that excludes pre-existing structures from the 2,000 square feet limitation on businesses, and the Councnil adopted the changes.
Community of Lights
Heidi Wilenius, owner of Dandelion Wishes, approached the Council to discuss the Community of Lights fundraiser for Womanspace that will occur this year on December 5. She said her store had been active in sponsoring the event for years. This year, volunteers will go door-to-door letting people know about the event. The candles are donated to the organization, so the entire $10 cost of the candles goes directly to the organization. She said that she hopes that the entire community will participate this year and light candles outside their homes to support survivors of domestic violence.
The Council members then gave their liaison reports:
- Council member Samara McAuliffe said that the recycling committee had recently met, and that the Hopewell Farmer’s Market was regrouping after its last event.
- Council member Debra Stuhler said the Shade Tree Committee was prepared to plant ten trees before winter. They plan to bring an arborist into town to do a proper inventory of the health of the trees in town. The Halloween Parade was well-attended and a huge success, and the Tree Lighting was scheduled for Dec. 3. A rabies clinic was held on November 5 and a Flu Vaccination clinic was held on November 8.
- Mackie said they were looking into the economics of selling the municipal utility, especially if it continued to stay in compliance with PFOS readings. He said they were looking at parallel tracks to resolve the issues with the cost of water, one being selling and the other being investing around 450K for a treatment system.
- Council member Ryan Kennedy said open space trail connections have received a new round of Green Acres Funding. He said the Pedestrian Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee had met and had a subcommittee walk. Wilenius reminded the board that four two-hour parking signs were still missing on West Broad Street. Anzano said, “I’m not sure how I feel about two-hour parking on West Broad. Let’s have the safety committee look at it.” Council President Sky Morehouse noted that if there are no signs in storage, “if we know that we need four, order ten.”
- Councilmember Chris Fossel encouraged the Council to attend the upcoming high school football game.
- Morehouse said he had attended a lunch with the township fire department who wanted to grow local paid career people to serve on EMS. The police were once again going to be first responders, which they had paused doing during the pandemic. Police vehicles will now carry emergency kits and defibrillators.
- Anzano said that the New Jersey legislature is very seriously considering a 150k grant to the Old School Baptist Church soon.
The next Council meeting is scheduled for December 15.
Hopewell Borough Planning Board
The Planning Board met briefly on November 2 and voted to grant final approval to a Certificate of Non-Conforming Use to 74 E. Prospect Street that allows more than one principal residential dwelling per lot. The property had already established more than one residence on a lot prior to an ordinance established in the 1970’s that created the limit.
The Board found that an ordinance amending the 2,000 square foot limit on businesses in Hopewell Borough to exclude existing structures was in compliance with the Master Plan. New construction and renovations that expand existing structures will still be held to the 2,000 square foot limit.
The Board also approved several vouchers.