PENNYTOWN TASK FORCE MEETING: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
“Notice is hereby given that the Pennytown Task Force will hold a meeting on
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hopewell Township Municipal
Building, 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, Titusville, New Jersey, 08560.”
After a long summer of canceled meetings, Pennytown discussions are back on the agenda.
Last Spring our community rallied together and successfully opposed Hopewell Township’s plans to partner with Kooltronic to build a major residential and commercial development at Marshall’s Corner. Following that, the Township Committee proposed forming a task force to evaluate three options with how to proceed with the Township-owned Pennytown tract and Affordable Housing obligations.
Now, however, Township officials have seemingly scrapped any task force and are proceeding with a plan to build a 70-unit affordable housing rental apartment complex on the publicly-owned Pennytown plot.
As of Monday’s Township Committee Meeting, there appeared to be near-agreement to transfer the bulk of the property to Conifer Realty, a private developer, to build and maintain the proposed rental units. The Township may also reserve a portion of the land to sell for commercial development.
The contract with Conifer has not yet been finalized or made public, but a few details emerged at the October 28 meeting, from comments by the Committee and Charles Lewis of Conifer:
Plans are to build a rental apartment complex to feature:
- Fourteen (14) 1-bedroom units to rent (for $207, $693, or $ $864);
- Thirty-six (36) 2-bedroom units to rent (for $435, $814, or $1018); and
- Twenty (20) 3-bedroom units to rent (for $930 or $1165).
The rental complex would be built to a maximum 3 stories, with a townhouse design preferred, but design “input” may be considered. Conifer would be responsible for all permits and due diligence expenses.
- the tree protection ordinance (with implication that if trees were removed they may be “revegitated” elsewhere),
- compliance with the 150 feet stream buffer, and
- water treatment issues (the developer would retain responsibility for waste water).
The 70-unit plan hews to the Township’s original vision for Pennytown when it originally acquired the property.
We will continue to update this site as things develop, and we urge everyone to attend future meetings.
The Hopewell Township Council will meet tonight (May 13, 2013) to discuss a number of issues, including a bond ordinance. This bond ordinance calls for the acquisition of property in and by the Township, appropriating $580,000 to purchase the property at Block 33, Lot 10, or the land adjacent to Kooltronic.
There are two meetings this week which may address the Township’s plans for Marshall’s Corner.
On Monday, April 22, the Township Committee will meet
first at 6 PM in executive session and then in a public session to begin at 7 PM. The Agenda posted indicates that the purchase of more Marshall’s Corner property will be addressed, as well as wasterwater issues.
On Thursday, April 25, the Planning Board will meet at 7 PM.
UPDATE: the 6 PM Executive Session on Monday, April 22 has been CANCELED
At its meeting on Monday, April 8, 2013 the Township Committee raised a bond ordinance to purchase the “hole in the donut” property across from Kooltronic for $580,000. Why?
Members of the public who attended the meeting asked the Committee many questions — including the following:
- Will the Committee vote to end Kooltronic relationship?
- Will the Committee rescind the “Area in Need of Redevelopment” designation for the Kooltronic property?
- Will a Marshall’s Corner resident be appointed to the new Task Force?
- Will the Committee disclose to the public any information about negotiations with Kooltronic?
These questions were not answered, so residents are left with more questions than answers concerning the future of Marshall’s Corner.
Watch the meeting HERE
Why was the joint development plan scrapped? Township officials said that negotiations with Kooltronic failed. But they also finally acknowledged the huge public outcry against the project. That outcry, and the knowledge that citizens would hold both the Township and Kooltronic accountable for past promises, clearly influenced both sides.
Thank you for showing that our voices can make a difference. Thanks to you, and to the dedication of local organizations like the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the Sourland Planning Council, and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, we scored a victory for our land, our water, and our community.
Unfortunately, the fight against ill-conceived, large-scale development at Marshall’s Corner is far from over. The owners of Kooltronic have vowed to pursue maximum development, asserting they they can build 255 housing units on their site. In the wake of this week’s decision, the township is already proposing a number as high as 122 units on the Pennytown site.
“We are not moving forward.” – Mayor Vanessa Sandom
There will be no joint venture. Hopewell Township will now move to develop the Pennytown tract WITHOUT Kooltronic.