To the Editor:
Diverty Road, Reed Road, and Route 546 area residents are about to have history repeat itself on their doorstep.
First, do you remember the battle cry of those who fought against the wildly-unpopular Pennytown-Kooltronic development? Allow me to jog your memory: “70 does not equal 350.” Following Mayor Sandom’s $6 million purchase of Pennytown to build 70 affordable homes, a joint-venture ensued with Kooltronic for a 350 home development, complete with community center: 70 affordable homes AND 280 so-called full-price, market-rate homes. When the public turned-out in large numbers to voice their objection to the increase in the number of homes from 70 to 350, Pennytown eventually shrunk back to its original 70 affordable homes size before being abandoned as a location for affordable housing.
By building on township land, over-development of non-affordable homes can be eliminated. Along the way, the Township bought the Zaitz tract cornfield behind ShopRite for $5 million. Now fast-forward to 2017.
While Mayor Kuchinski, his Township Committee, and his Planning Board have indicated that 78 affordable homes are to be built on the township-owned Zaitz tract behind ShopRite, as set forth in Ordinance 17-1674, the signed sales contract selling Zaitz, which was recently-posted on the township website, tells a far different story. Mayor Kuchinski does not just plan to build 78 affordable homes on the Zaitz tract, but also “not less than 300 Market Rate Homesites” as well.
(For MercerMe’s coverage, checking out “Affordable Housing: Key Points of 11/27/17 Hopewell Township Committee Meeting“)
In fact, the accompanying builder’s Concept Plan, dated June 12, 2017, contains 379 new homes: 78 affordable homes AND 301 full-price, market-rate homes, including a new street from Route 546 through Diverty Road, which may be accomplished by condemnation, if necessary, according to the contract. While not part of the contract, Mayor Kuchinski also plans on building a community center at Zaitz. Sound familiar?
Since 70 does not equal 350, then surely 78 does not equal 379 either.