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Zoning Board, Stop Hurting the Township

by Community Contributor

To the Editor:

To quote William Shakespeare, sort of:  To protect steep slopes or not to protect steep slopes, that was the question at the Hopewell Township Zoning Board of Adjustment special meeting on June 11, 2024. Unanimously, with one member absent, the Board chose not to protect steep slopes on the Delaware River. Unbelievably, the Zoning Board granted approval, even though the project was already built into the steep slopes without permits, without inspections, without authorization. Maybe they just don’t like steep slopes.

Hopewell Township has a well-earned reputation regarding environmental protection. Yet, this mind-blowing decision comes on the heels of another astonishing Zoning Board decision just a few months ago. The Zoning Board allowed the Hollystone Hotel project to endanger Fiddler’s Creek and groundwater conservation. Maybe they just don’t like water.

Now add in the fact that the Zoning Board no longer meets in person, even though the COVID Public Health Emergency ended on March 7, 2022, and our Township Committee has been meeting in person since June 13, 2022.  What you have is a wildly out-of-touch Zoning Board, which does not reflect bedrock Township values. Maybe they just don’t like public accountability.

The court-approved Hopewell Township Master Plan of 2002 provides our blueprint for land use and protects both groundwater conservation and steep slopes.  Our separate Municipal Steep Slope Ordinance reinforces our protection of steep slopes. Despite these two strong statements, the Zoning Board carved out exceptions for two different applicants to allow non-compliance with the Master Plan and Steep Slope Ordinance. Maybe they just don’t like Hopewell Township values.

Harvey Lester,
Titusville, NJ

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