To the Editor,
The Township surrendered to builders in its affordable housing settlement. It was worse than I thought.
At the regular Planning Board meeting, on September 28, it was revealed at a public meeting for the first time just how badly the Township Committee, led by Mayor Kuchinski, failed in their settlement negotiations with the builders of affordable housing, which will result in the coming 3,000 new homes and increase our housing stock by 50 percent in the next eight years.
The Township Committee was so inept in their negotiations with the builders that, despite the required number of affordable housing units set at 653, we are getting virtually all of the so-called market-rate housing that we would have been forced to accept if the Township LOST a builders remedy lawsuit. That’s what happens when you don’t fight for our township. You simply cave in to developers.
Although the Township Committee claimed that its settlement saved us from a court-ordered builders remedy, in reality the Township Committee created a virtual self-imposed builders remedy.
And that’s not all.
The settlement agreement also tied the hands of the Planning Board by the Township Committee agreeing to specific design features. For example, the settlement agreement with Woodmont Properties allowed for a maximum building height of 75 feet in 4-story buildings, instead of our typical maximum 35 foot high, 2–story residences.
Since the settlement agreement is a done-deal simply awaiting court approval, there is no saving this Township from the coming over-development. The Township Committee made our bed and now the public must lie in it.
The Township Committee is fond of suggesting that we should “control our own destiny,” and they did so: by shooting themselves in the foot and surrendering to the builders.
Note from the Editor: MercerMe’s most recent coverage of affordable housing numbers in Hopewell Township, including a comparison to Fair Share Housing numbers can be found at this link:
“The total number of units represents a 35% reduction from Fair Share Housing Center’s (FSHC) proposed number. FSHC (nonprofit housing advocacy group), Hopewell Township, and the landowners committed to building affordable housing on their land, reached a settlement this summer, ending a long and expensive litigation process….”