Letters to the Editor: Affordable Housing, Outrage, and Ducking in Hopewell Township

The following are unedited letters to the editor submitted to MercerMe:

Letter to the Editor: Voicing Outrage Affordable Housing, Meeting Attendance Counts

To the Editor:

Three major Affordable Housing problems were brought to the attention of the Hopewell Township citizens on February 15. The problems were:

  • The property behind ShopRite was purchased for millions of dollars using the Affordable Housing fund, it was now sold to a developer by our Township for less than $25,000. However only 78 of the 379 homes that will be built there will be affordable units. Not only has the developer acquired the property at a huge discount, now he will be making huge profits on the sale of 301 market rate units.
  • The developer is planning a road through their massive development. That road will go from Pennington-Washington Crossing Road through the planned development and intersect with Diverty Road. The road will continue on to Denow Road West and end at Route 31 South. Were the people living on Diverty Road contacted about making their quiet street a connecting road for State Highway 31 and County Road 546. Will their children be safe on this new thoroughfare?
  • The developer is proposing a Community Center with a pool near the intersection of Pennington-Washington Crossing Road. The township committee has decided this is an acceptable offset for the millions of dollars they gave away in the above mentioned land deal. What happened to the existing building on the east side of Scotch Road that was already promised to us for a Senior Center/Emergency services building? Will we be selling that? Who will maintain the proposed community center/pool? Who will pay for staffing, insurance, and all the other costs involved in such a project? Have any traffic studies been made to see how this new building will impact the citizens living near it’s entrance?

In 2017, the majority of the Hopewell Township committee made this land deal. Was the public invited to meetings about it? Were the people in the impacted area contacted for their input? The committee has also signed contracts for housing on Federal City Road, Route 31 north, and Scotch road east and west. Approximately 4,000 new homes will be added to our community. Our mayor and committee were elected on a promise to control development. Instead they contracted for the largest development program in the history of Hopewell Township. These new developments are all planned for the already burdened southern tier of our community. When the construction begins will the benefiting developers be offering the beleaguered residents free sewer and public water hookups? Will the developer be making payments to the township for the increased public works, police, employees in the tax and construction office that will be needed to handle these projects? Will they be building and funding the required new schools?

Thursday, March 8 at 7:00pm in the Hopewell Township municipal building there will be a meeting regarding one of these developments. The township committee also meets February 26 at 7:00. Voice your outrage. Attend these meetings, demand answers.

Jim Burd

Former Mayor Hopewell Township



To the Editor:

The Kuchinski-Blake administration has found a new scheme to stifle public participation. It is called “a public information meeting” or “informal open house format meeting,” and it took place on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at the High School Cafeteria between 7 PM and 10 PM.

Despite the Kuchinski-Blake administration promising to Diverty Road area residents a “robust out-reach program” one month ago, which seemed to have all the earmarks of the first of many formal, public, on-the-record Hopewell Township Committee Work Sessions, the Diverty Road area residents got what could fairly be called a bait-and-switch:

No Hopewell Township Committee Meeting with a public Work Session to allow the public to address all 5 township committee members simultaneously in a formal setting and to enable the public to hear everyone’s questions and comments;

No On-The-Record Recording by microphone, videotape, or audiotape to allow the public to be able to hear the words spoken by every speaker as well as to be able to refer to previously given questions and answers at a later time;

No single audience or single presenter to conduct an orderly process to enable the public to have a positive experience and to encourage the public to participate.

Instead, the public was confronted with a 5 minute no-questions-allowed power-point presentation by the Township Engineer, followed by a break-out session to 3 stations, which were strategically-placed in corners of the cafeteria, where the same posters were discussed by 3 different presenters.  Some members of the public, who went to all 3 stations, were heard to mention that their same question was answered with 3 different answers.

Meanwhile, some members of the public were heard to have other names for the meeting, such as:  “a waste of time,” “a dog and pony show,” “a public relations event.”

In the process, the Kuchinski-Blake administration, which could be said to be the least transparent Hopewell Township Committee in many years, became even less transparent.

Harvey Lester

Titusville, NJ 08560

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  1. We need to face facts. Hopewell, as we knew it, and know it now (March 1, 2018) is done. The affordable housing act will ruin Hopewell forever.

    To add 4,000 more homes to this community is an outrage. As for the traffic, Route 31 is nearly impossible to get off of, or on to, during our current rush hours in the morning and at night. Doubling the size of the township with these new homes will destroy any chance of being able to live quietly along any side road that comes in contact with Route 31.

    All that new traffic, and the thousands of cars it brings to this area, twice a day, will have those cars looking for faster ways around the traffic. This is human nature, and you can’t stop it. So, all of the quiet side streets we have now will be inundated with traffic, speeding cars, noise and all the other “stuff” that comes with it. You think our local roads are bad now? Yeah, right. Just wait until we add 4,000 more homes.

    The average home in New Jersey, including single family, duplex’s, townhouses, condos, and apartments has an estimated 2 drivers per household, minimum. That means an additional 8,000 cars, minimum, will be traveling down our roads, every day, very soon.

    My hope is that the people on our township board live on the side roads that will get hammered by the new traffic. Then they will see just what Mr. Burd and all the others who voice their displeasure about all of this, are saying. 4,000 more homes, being built here in Hopewell, is going to destroy our township, and our way of life, forever.

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