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Housing Planned for Hopewell Borough Lumberyard

by Madeline Ference

The Hopewell Borough Planning Board discussed plans for the redevelopment of lumberyard on Model Avenue at its June 6 meeting. The lot, at a total of 1.146 acres, will include 13 townhouses, two of which will be affordable housing units.

The board spent most of the meeting discussing the limitations of a sign outside the complex. The owner of the lot, Hank Whitman, proposed a sign that would pay tribute to the lumberyard, a landmark that was on the lot prior to the townhouses. It would display a part of Hopewell’s history, while also serving as an identifier for community members. The board stated that the sign may not be more than 25 square feet and that the upper edge of the sign is limited to the top of the landscape wall it will be attached to.

“I thought about naming this ‘The Lumberyard,’” Whitman said. “I’m not thinking about some big, gigantic sign — just something that’s on the wall there that would say that and almost look like a historic marker in a way that has the date of the original lumberyard. It would be kind of quirky and might be kind of interesting.”

Other topics deliberated were emergency generators for each unit, and initial thoughts and concerns about traffic standards, such as sidewalks and crosswalks near the future complex.

“This is a great opportunity for Model Avenue to have an anchor and fill in a missing piece, and I generally think this plan is really pretty nice,” said Councilman Ryan Kennedy, a member of the board.

The site also has an environmental benefit to it, explained Jim Waltman, executive director of the Watershed Institute.

“We’re always looking for sites, particularly ones that, right now, have a lot of impervious coverage, that through a redevelopment project, some stormwater measures can be implemented and integrated in the project so we have a net benefit to watering the environment from the project,” Waltman said. “We think this project has great prospect and potential for doing that. Our staff has estimated that maybe more than one million gallons of water could be treated at this project.”

The board passed the plan, which will be sent to the Hopewell Borough Council for approval.

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