The following is a submission from Michael Pisauro, Policy Director at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association:
Tonight, Wednesday May 4, the Hopewell Township Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a hearing on the owners of the “Kooltronics” request to interpret a zoning ordinance. It is important that Hopewell residents come out and urge the Board to reject Kooltronics’ proposed interpretation.
Kooltronics is asking the Board to interpret a zoning ordinance that would allow them to increased density of development on their property. Currently, Kooltronics could build 14 units on their property but can buy the development rights from other properties to increase the density on their property. Many of their proposed interpretations would allow:
- significant expansion of a house on a preserved lot.
- the tearing down of an existing house to build a new house on an environmentally sensitive portion of the preserved lot.
- the expansion of active recreational activities on lots that sold their development rights.
- the development of a hydroponics facility or greenhouse on a farm that sold its development rights.
None of these, in our opinion, meet the legal requirements of the ordinance and are definitely not honoring the spirit of the law. The ordinance was intended to transfer of the development rights for other properties in Hopewell in order “to preserve and protect the critical environmental and agricultural resources that prevail in the VRC and MRC Districts.”
We urge the Zoning Board to interpret the ordinance faithfully to protect groundwater; and to preserve large tracts of forest and agricultural lands. Developers should take meaningful steps to protect environmental resources in the Township as required by the ordinances, not degrade them to our detriment.
For a more detailed explanation of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed’s position and a copy of Kooltronics’ submissions please visit our website.