Letter to the Editor: Township Relies on Volunteer Board Members

To the Editor:

Hopewell Township relies on community members who care enough to volunteer their time to serve on local boards and commissions. They ensure that growth happens in the smartest and most environmentally friendly way possible, that health and safety protections are enforced, that our vast historical resources are honored and preserved.

Sadly, the opinion pages of the local papers lately have been rife with personal attacks against Hopewell Township community members serving on the Planning Board, Zoning Board, and the Historical Preservation Commission. As a direct recipient of these personal attacks, I’d like to introduce myself to the community and explain why I volunteered to serve on the Planning Board, why I’m qualified to serve, and to encourage others to do the same.

The Planning Board is the keeper of the Master Plan for Hopewell Township. It considers “big picture” goals about what we want our community to look like, how we ensure that our environment is protected, and how we balance conservation with growth and a vibrant community that we all want and need. It hears development applications, and lately it has been spending a lot of time considering our state-mandated affordable housing obligation, how that fits into the master plan, and whether the plan complies with redevelopment law.

I joined the Planning Board in July of 2017. I have a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and a law degree with honors from the University of Chicago.  Between college and law school, I worked at an environmental consulting firm focused on drinking water regulations whose primary client was the US EPA in Washington. After law school, I worked in the environmental and land use department of a law firm in Boston until I moved to Hopewell Township in the summer of 2009. I also serve on the Board of the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS). I have extensive experience not only in understanding intricate environmental laws, regulations, and concerns, but also in complex legal problem solving. All of these skills are needed on the Planning Board.

I volunteer my time because I was raised to understand that giving back and serving others is of paramount value, and I am passionate about ensuring that Hopewell Township maintains its natural beauty, rural character, and open space while it meets its constitutional obligation on affordable housing.

In spite of the challenges, I have no doubt my work on the Planning Board is meaningful and will result in a positive contribution to Hopewell Township. To others inspired to contribute to their community in this way, please come forward—a list of Township Boards and Commissions is available on the Township website. You’ll contribute, you’ll meet great people, and you’ll learn a lot about where you live. Service to the community is a good thing, no matter what anyone says.

Courtney Peters-Manning,

Hopewell Township

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