Home » Traffic main subject of HB Council meeting

Traffic main subject of HB Council meeting

by Angela Fee-Maimon

The Hopewell Borough Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on October 5.  

Traffic

The Council continues to address traffic and speed issues in Hopewell Borough. The Borough’s engineer and Safe Routes To School representatives had a meeting to discuss adding sidewalks, overhead beacons at each side of Hopewell Elementary School, upgrading all crosswalks to continental or ladder style, and lowering the speed limit on West Broad Street to 25 miles per hour. 

Council Member Krista Weaver said the main concern with lowering the speed limit was enforcement. She said they plan to engage the police in helping with public outreach so that residents are aware ahead of time about the change in the speed limit. She said the County engineer has the authority to reduce the speed limit by 5 miles per hour. She said that the changes would increase the chances of receiving a grant for which the Borough has applied. 

Mayor Paul Anzano announced that it is now mandatory for drivers ticketed for driving infractions in Hopewell Borough to attend their court hearing via zoom. Council President Sky Morehouse had recommended the change at an earlier meeting as a way to curb traffic violations in the Borough.

Brad Evans, Chair of the Pedestrian Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee, approached the Council to say that the transition zone at a gateway to town also needed to be changed as it remained 35 miles per hour until a driver reached town. 

Weaver agreed and said that they plan to address this with the township next year. 

The Council announced that a bridge replacement on Princeton Avenue was beginning and would be complete by late winter or early spring. The bridge replacement should only require the closure of Princeton Avenue for three days in the beginning and three days at the end of the project. 

Environment 

The Council discussed several ordinance changes required by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection that will alter storm management in the Borough and other municipalities. The Council had a first reading for new ordinances pertaining to stormwater control including Miscellaneous, Wildlife Feeding, Dumpster Refuse Containers, and Pet Waste. 

The Council decided to postpone a more controversial ordinance about tree removal on private property. The ordinance has to be passed by December 31 to be in compliance with the DEP. It will require that homeowners seek approval for tree removal with exceptions for when a tree is dead, blighted, or a danger. 

Council Member and liaison for the Shade Tree Committee, Debra Stuhler, said it was something the committee had been trying to get into effect for years. Other municipalities, such as Princeton, already have similar ordinances in place. She said that homeowners who wanted to remove trees from their property would need to reach out to the Borough for approval and pay for a permit for tree removal. Residents would then need to either plant two trees to replace each tree removed or pay into a tree replacement fund. 

Other Council Members wanted to review and potentially rewrite parts of the ordinance before a first reading. The Borough’s attorney said that certain parts of the ordinance could be changed, like lowering the fee for the permit and not requiring payment into the replacement fund. The Council plans to review its options to make the ordinance less expensive for property owners before a first reading of the ordinance. 

Proclamation

The Council issued a proclamation in appreciation to resident James Ohls for his service to the community of Hopewell. 

Library

Barbara Merry, Director of the Hopewell Public Library, approached the Council to address the lack of space for library programming in Hopewell Borough. She said that she was encouraged by Stuhler and Morehouse to use Borough Hall for an event, but then the request to use the hall was denied. She said that since the Hopewell Theater was currently closed, the library does not have ample space for events. She said it left them with the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, which is already heavily utilized, Chubby’s, and the Train Station. 

Mayor Anzano responded, “We do contain sensitive documents, but I believe we can engage Council and staff to figure it out and make this space available. I believe it is not insurmountable.” 

Anzano said a number of organizations in the community were also discussing expanding space, such as the Old School Baptist Meeting House and the Hopewell Museum. 

Merry closed by thanking Weaver for all of her work on making Hopewell safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

The Borough’s attorney said that it might be possible for the library to legally use Borough Hall since they were a part of and funded by the municipality as opposed to being a non-profit. 

Private sewer project

Council denied a sewer request for 106 Rocky Hill Road. Council Member David Mackie said that the request was rejected because it did not meet the requirements. He said a large swimming pool and terrace took up a large portion of the property’s footprint. The property has now been issued a demolition permit for the swimming pool, and the property owners did not offer support for the claim that they did not have sufficient space for a new septic system. 

Liaison Reports

Council Member Samara McAuliffe said that the Green Team was working on receiving the Sustainable New Jersey certification.  

Stuhler said that the health department was hosting a Vote & Vax event on election day on November 7. The Covid and Flu vaccines will be available at Borough Hall during voting hours, The Covid vaccine requires pre-registration.  

Mackie said that he is still working with the DEP to clear up a notice of non-compliance against the Borough. 

Mayor Anzano said the League of Municipalities was upcoming and offered several valuable workshops. 

Weaver said the PBSAC would be discussing trail connections and bike paths at their next meeting.

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Contact us: [email protected] 

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