HT Planning Board: open space public hearing and BeiGene, part 2

At its regular meeting on February 24, the Hopewell Township Planning Board met to hold a public hearing regarding the amendment to the Open Space and Recreation Plan, and continued the BeiGene Hopewell Urban Renewal application from the last meeting on February 17.

Township Planner Frank Banisch gave the Board a brief overview on the amended plans before opening up to public comments and questions.  

“This has been a multi-year process, and is a document that the Planning Board has made a series of comments to over an extended period of time, but it includes all of the most recent comments and brings up to date the descriptive characteristics of the existing Open Space and Recreational infrastructure in the Township,” said Banisch. 

Planning Board Vice Chair Paul Kiss clarified that these are amendments based off of the last time the plans were looked at. 

Mike Pisauro, Policy Director of the Watershed Institute, suggested two changes to the document. Referring to the streams and waterways in the Township, Pisauro pointed out that Jacob’s Creek was identified as a category 1 stream in 2020, so that should be added to the plans. 

Pisauro also noted that the ground water resources referenced are roughly 20-years-old. “I think that should be acknowledged, back in 2001 the Township was approaching its dependable yield; so I think we don’t really know our current groundwater status with dependable yield whether we have exceeded it, or we’re still approaching it. We should take a look at that so we can protect our groundwater, downstream users, and current residents,” he said. 

Committee member Kevin Kuchinski assured Pisauro that there is approved money set aside to recommission M2 reports to look at the current groundwater status. 

The plans were approved as verbally amended. 

The Board then moved on to the continuation of the BeiGene application. Brian Perry, Vice President and Deputy Manager of Site-Civil Engineering at Van Note-Harvey Associates, finished his testimony on traffic. Perry gave an overview of the campus traffic management plan. He listed all the access points of the campus, which only two of the three are currently open. 

The first entrance is at Elm Ridge Road, which will be used for construction traffic. The current main entrance off of Pennington-Rocky Hill Road is open to employees and visitors. The final access point is on Titus Mill Road. 

Once the BeiGene project is complete, employees and deliveries will be given access at the Elm Ridge point. “During construction, the Elm Ridge construction entrance will not be open to employees,” said Perry.

Perry noted that the construction process is estimated to last 24 months “During that time, a portion of the loop road along BeiGene’s frontage will be closed to campus traffic, that traffic will be managed via construction signage,” said Perry.  

Following construction, minor improvements will be made to the Elm Ridge access drive, as well as to the loop road to better accommodate the small amount of truck traffic that will access the Beigene site. 

Along the Elm Ridge access drive itself, Perry noted that a new lane will be added to accommodate the checking in of trucks and deliveries. Employees will have a designated lane for themselves to enter the campus. 

The Board granted preliminary and final site plan approval and all development approvals subject to the following conditions– all agreements made by the applicant on the record, compliance with all staff reports where indicated, and standard conditions.

The next meeting of the Township Planning Board is March 24, 2022. 

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