Letter to the Editor: Misinformation About Affordable Housing and Transparency

(DATE: 4/11/18)

To the Editor:

There seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation related to the Township Committee around two related but different topics – affordable housing, and, transparency.

My research shows that there has been a lot of progress with Affordable Housing from where the Township was in 2015. In 2017, the Township Committee unanimously agreed to a negotiated settlement that limits our Affordable Housing obligation to 653 affordable units. This not only saved us thousands of dollars in legal expenses, but also resulted in a better outcome for Hopewell Township. To give an example of what could have happened had the Committee not negotiated, West Windsor didn’t settle and was recently saddled with a requirement for 1500 new affordable housing units?!? And the court’s final ruling indicates that Hopewell Township’s affordable housing obligation would have been approximately 100 units higher, which could have resulted in up to 500 additional housing units being built.

The final locations and total number of units that will be built is still being worked out, so as a resident I am glad that the Township Committee is in control of that process. I’m confident the five-member Committee will continue listening to residents and use their best judgement and the advice of experts in finalizing the details.

Continuing the process of correcting misinformation, a few conspiracy theorists falsely claim that the Committee has been hiding information by delaying the release of meeting minutes. To this I say, really? Fact, the backlog of published meeting minutes was a result of available resources and not anyone’s desire to not make the information public. When this situation happened under Mayor Lester’s watch was anyone claiming a lack of transparency? No, clearer minds realized that it was a result of the process and not a deceptive act.

Rather than wasting time pointing fingers and standing on our soapboxes spewing misinformation, let’s use our time and voice wisely by working together in a manner that serves all current and future residents of Hopewell Township best.

Peter Sandford

Hopewell Township

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  1. Hi Pete. Speaking only as a resident, I have to disagree on the minutes issue. I don’t care who is serving on our committee, or what party is in control, the minutes need to be published in a timely manner. It’s the law for goodness’ sake! If any administration finds themselves unable to keep up with the minutes with the current staff, then they simply need to hire someone to produce them, or ask the current staff to work overtime. It doesn’t seem that difficult to me. The public has the right to be informed in a timely manner, and the committee needs to comply with the law.

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