To the Editor:
My husband and I have lived in Hopewell Township for over 25 years. We chose Hopewell for its scenic beauty and open space. All of that is about to change for the southern tier of the Township. In July, Mayor McLaughlin and the Democratic majority voted to change the zoning on Scotch Road to dense commercial. This zoning will allow for the construction of a 16- pump gas station, a hotel with a minimum of one hundred rooms including a conference center and a bar, drive through fast food restaurants, a dry cleaner, and a pharmacy. This will make driving on Scotch Road feel no different than driving on Route 31.
This zoning change will affect all of Hopewell Township’s residents. Anyone who ever uses Scotch Road to access I-295 will be subject to snarled traffic jams complete with 18 wheelers, commuters, and everyday travelers all getting off the highway to refuel or get a meal at a drive-through fast food restaurant. All of this will be in addition to the congestion that already exists at the Scotch Road exit during rush hour.
If allowed to go through, this overdevelopment will be devastating to an environmentally sensitive area. Increased traffic and congestion will lead to more traffic accidents. Over 2,000 new homes will impact the aquifer and will lead to displaced wildlife. This is what we can expect for the future of our once bucolic home in Hopewell Township. The rural character of the Southern Tier will be destroyed forever.
Courtney Peters-Manning and Mayor McLaughlin who are running for Township Committee both claim that they are stewards of the environment and would like to protect open space, yet they both voted to approve these changes. I have yet to receive an answer as to why they think this massive overdevelopment is a good thing for our community. Why do they want to turn scenic farmland into urban sprawl?
Exhaust fumes, extensive noise and greatly increased traffic will all be introduced where none exists now. This is an intrusion into the heart of a totally undeveloped place in a very sensitive environment and it will be destroyed forever. Our beautiful community that is comprised largely of farms and preserved open space will become another turnpike style rest stop in an area where there is no demand for it. This is why on November 5, I’ll be casting my vote for John Hart and Ed Jackowski.