The Hopewell Township Committee discusses COVID-19 updates and Cannabis Retail

The Hopewell Township Committee met on April 18 for their regularly scheduled meeting. Boy Scout Troop 44,who were present at the meeting to earn their Merit Badge, opened the meeting by leading the Committee in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning then turned the meeting over to Health Officer, Dawn Marling to give a presentation on COVID-19 updates. 

“Since the beginning of April, we have seen a steady increase in the reported cases of COVID-19 in Hopewell Township; this was expected. Thankfully we have not seen an increase in severity of the illness. We do expect this virus to continue to adapt, the precautions that we’ve been taking still work,” said Marling. Marling also shared that, in late March, the FDA authorized a second booster dose for adults over the age of 50. She particularly encouraged seniors and people who have not yet gotten their first booster to do so.

After reviewing all the minutes submitted for approval from previous meetings, Peters-Manning began staff reports, starting with Public Works Director George Synder. 

Synder told the Committee that the Public Works Department has started work on the Lawrence Hopewell connector trail on Carter Road. “Tree clearing has been completed and the next phase is stacking out the trail, we also started lining up equipment and materials,” Synder said. 

Synder also announced that the Harbourton Rocktown road paving and striping was completed earlier this month. “There were a couple punchless items we needed to take care of, the only item remaining are the cross logs at the church to be done, but the road is up and running,” he said.  

He also noted that the developer for the Woolsey Park bandshell is in the process of sending back documents for approval, but soon a meeting will be scheduled to proceed with that construction.  

The Committee then heard a first reading of the ordinance of Hopewell Township permitting the operation of cannabis retail businesses in certain commercial zones, with conditions. This ordinance restricts cannabis retail business from 1,000 feet from schools, school playgrounds, and school athletic fields. The ordinance was approved and adopted. A second reading and public hearing regarding the ordinance is scheduled for May 2. **

“I would like to thank everyone, it’s been a long process and I appreciate everyone’s input and hard work on this,” commented Peters-Manning. 

Treasurer Julie Troutman told the Committee that they are ready to introduce the 2022 Budget, and a public hearing will be held on May 16 to discuss additional items. Committee member Kevin Kuchinski reminded everyone that details will be announced before May 16. 

The next Hopewell Township Committee meeting will be May 2. 

**Edited 5/2 at 8:30am. Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning contacted MercerMe this morning to clarify the Committee’s actions regarding the cannabis ordinance. She said: “We had the second reading and adoption of the main retail ordinance at this meeting, and we approved one license location at the former chiropractor office on the circle. The first reading was for a “clean up” ordinance adding the word “school” before playgrounds and athletic fields to avoid someone putting up a playground next to a competitor to tank their location”.

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