“Nimble” – that was the word that reliable political crony Andrew Borders wrote in his recent letter to the editor to describe the vote of the Hopewell Township Committee majority, with John Hart voting against, to allow developers to build a city on the west side of Scotch Road. This over-development plan allows a hotel of at least 100 rooms, maybe more; conference center; assorted businesses, including a 16 pump gas station, as well as over 2,500 residences. Envision twice the size of Brandon Farms plus strip-malls.
More accurate words would be: “violates our 2002 Township Master Plan;” “environmentally insensitive;” “traffic-generating nightmare;” or “water-aquifer menace.”
Then again, Mr. Borders has been cheerleading for the Township Committee majority for some time. Perhaps due to his gratitude for his appointment on the Township zoning board, Mr. Borders can be found to invariably praise the Township Committee majority, while constantly nipping at the heels of John Hart.
In 2017, the Township Committee, led by then-Mayor, now Committee Member, Kevin Kuchinski, created an Affordable Housing Plan that concluded its Affordable Housing obligation. The result? The largest residential development in Hopewell Township history. Developer Deer Valley Realty subsequently sued the Township claiming that the 2017 Affordable Housing Plan was defective. In effect, the Township Committee was given the opportunity for a do-over.
Two years later, the Township Committee majority, led by Mayor Kristen McLaughlin, settled with Deer Valley, resulting in the Comprehensive Affordable Housing Settlement of 2019. The result? Re-authorizing the largest residential development in Township history plus added, massive commercial development.
Commercial development has nothing to do with Affordable Housing and is never mandated by the courts. Maybe that’s what Mr. Borders meant by “nimble.” The Township Committee’s majority vote, with John Hart voting against, efficiently destroyed the west side of Scotch Road.