The Hopewell Township Committee unanimously passed a resolution at a meeting last week designating 13 roads in the Brandon Farms community as public streets, making their repair and upkeep the responsibility of the Township moving forward.
The Township, in an agreement with the Brandon Farms Condominium Association (BFCA), will gain control of Voorhees Court, Hilton Court, Howe Court, Bollen Court, Sandpiper Court, Amberleigh Drive, Kentshire Court, Deer Run Court, Tuxford Court, Pebble Creek Court, Rock Road, Treymore Court, and the catway portion of Shrewsbury Court.
“In large measure, this is something that’s been a long time coming,” Committee member Kevin Kuchinski said.
Community Development Director Mark Katrinyiak broke the new Township roads into three categories: eight roads that meet the Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS), three roads that do not meet the RSIS guidelines and will need changes, and a single road, Shrewsbury Court, which contains right-angle parking.
The non-RSIS compliant roads of Hilton, Howe, and Sandpiper will undergo changes to make them compliant, such as widening the roadway to allow for snow plows to operate.
For Shrewsbury Court, the road portion of the road will be the Township’s responsibility, while the BFCA will resume control over the parking area. Additionally, the BFCA will retain responsibility over the sewage and water facilities for all roads.
The agreement also outlined that Pebble Creek Court, Rock Road, Shrewsbury Court and Treymore Court, which are considered in a “state of disrepair” by the resolution, will have repairs done by the BFCA before being turned over to the Township.
Committee member Julie Blake discussed the reasons for taking over the roads, saying that it is “the right thing to do” and that the Township had a legal obligation to provide services to the area.
“One of the reasons that we’re taking over these roads is… in previous experiences in Brandon Farms road acquisition, that we had a responsibility to take over these roads,” Blake said.
Blake added that although she is a Brandon Farms resident, she does not have to recuse herself as she does not live in the affected parts of the development.
Township resident and former mayor Jon Edwards expressed that he was “pleased,” when he spoke during public comment,* regarding the Township’s acquisition of the roads, dating the issue’s emergence to two decades.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do but there have been obstacles preventing it,” Edwards said.
Edwards expressed that it was “extremely unfair” for Brandon Farms residents to pay both taxes that go towards road repairs and BFCA dues towards their own road repairs. While Edwards praised the Committee for finally being able to bring the roads under Township control, he warned that the sewer and water facilities will require “extreme coordination” between the Township and the BFCA.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Committee members present. No start dates or timeline was given on when road repairs and changes will start, although the resolution outlined that work bids for Hilton, Howe and Sandpiper must come in within 180 days of the resolution’s passing.
*Edited 12/17/19 to reflect that statements were made during public comment portion of the meeting.