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.
“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.
The following was issued today (3/27/13) from the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association: “The Watershed has been advised by counsel not to attend tonight’s meeting of the Hopewell Township Committee. A resolution on the agenda threatens the Watershed’s new environmental center. Moreover, we believe that the meeting was improperly noticed. Attending the meeting could jeopardize the legal recourse available to us. Interested parties may view Watershed Executive Director Jim Waltman’s statement on the proposed Kooltronic-Pennytown development on our website”
The Township Committee meeting planned for Monday, March 25th beginning at 6 pm at the Municipal Building, has been RESCHEDULED for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27TH!
This is a “Special Meeting” to precede the meeting previously scheduled for 7 pm, the much-anticipated vote whether to Join with Kooltronic in the “redevelopment” of the Pennytown tract (thereby including the Kooltronic lot in the redevelopment plan), or whether to proceed with the redevelopment of Pennytown without “partnering” with Kooltronic.
The Agenda for the 6 pm “Special Meeting/Executive Session” is HERE which states that “formal actions may take place” — the Agenda cites an Executive Session Resolution.
The Agenda for the 7 pm Meeting is HERE and includes:
- Public Comments Section
- Work Session – Pennytown/Kooltronic issue
- A RESOLUTION concerning wastewater quality management plan to REJECT newly added sewer service systems for the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed
- An Executive Session Resolution
From Hopewell Boro website: “A special meeting of the Hopewell Borough Council, Hopewell Township Committee, and Pennington Borough Council, will be held on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Hopewell Valley Central High School auditorium, 259 Pennington-Titusville Road, Pennington NJ 08534, regarding the proposed MARSHALL’S CORNER/PENNYTOWN REDEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL. All interested parties should attend.” Let’s fill the Auditorium!
UPDATE: Email from Hopewell Township Mayor Vanessa Sandom:
Subject: Tonight’s Hopewell Borough meeting on Pennytown
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 13:09:31 -0400
I understand tonight’s meeting has expanded beyond its original intent of being an opportunity for me personally to have a dialogue with borough residents about the Pennytown redevelopment zone. Most importantly, for me personally, I wanted the opportunity to listen closely to whatever concerns they have.
As this event has expanded to become a press event, it requires that I receive the Hopewell Township Committee’s endorsement to speak for them and I don’t have the ability to have this discussion before tonight’s meeting.
I’ve reached out to both Borough Mayors to see if we can set up a multi-municipality committee/council meeting. In the meantime, all borough residents are welcome to attend our upcoming planning board and township committee meetings and voice their concerns there.
Thanks for all your help in trying to set up the meeting tonight. I’m sure I’ll see you soon. Vanessa