Hopewell Township Talks Stormwater, Affordable Housing FAQ, Road Repairs

(photo: Harry Becker)

The Hopewell Township Committee discussed stormwater management, a recent affordable housing FAQ (“frequently asked questions”) section on their website, and road repairs at their second meeting in November.

The Committee heard a presentation from Jim Waltman, executive director of the Watershed Institute, on stormwater and flooding around the state.

“We’ve already seen a change in our weather patterns,” Waltman said. “Global and national climatologists say we’re going to have more precipitation in the northeast.”

Waltman said that more ways to deal with flooding and precipitation are going to be needed, with New Jersey receiving 60 inches of rain this year, which Waltman said is generally 15 to 20 inches over the average.

Increased flooding in the Township can be attributed to an increase of impervious surfaces, a result of increased urbanization over the decades, according to Waltman. He introduced numerous solutions, such as rethinking stormwater management. Specifically, instead of using pipes and drains to move the water, it could be retained to infiltrate the ground. Waltman also suggested requiring more developments to increase their stormwater management.

“There’s an environmental crisis anxiety that we’re feeling,” Deputy Mayor Julie Blake said. “Anything that we can do to work together, we appreciate very much.”

The Committee additionally discussed a recent FAQ (“frequently asked questions”) piece on the Township’s “Hopewell Have Your Say” website, which received criticism from members of the public as well as Committee member John Hart, who said it contained “misinformation about affordable housing” as well as a “political piece” before the recent election.

“We have consistently been trying to put out more information,” Mayor Kevin Kuchinski responded. “We may not get it right, we’re not perfect, but we’re going to try to get information out there.”

Multiple road projects were also discussed, with Woosamonsa Road reopening shortly. Additionally, residents were concerned about the repavement on Reed Road, which will eliminate the shoulder of the road in favor of a bike lane.

Harold Nebling, a Reed Road resident, noted that he can no longer park his car on the road, something he has been doing for 29 years, with new signs prohibiting parking.

The Committee indicated that the signs are unenforceable and that the Reed Road paving was part of the Complete Streets ordinance passed in 2014.

The meeting ended abruptly due to the a tense dialogue between the Committee and members of the public, with the meeting adjourning before a second public comment section or the work session.

The public hearing on an amendment to the traffic code was moved to the next meeting on December 10.

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