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MCAR Municipal Spotlight: June 2017

MCAR Municipal Spotlight: June 2017

 

West Windsor Councilwoman Ayesha Hamilton Meets with MCAR’s Legislative Committee

On May 22, West Windsor Councilwoman and Planning Board Member Ayesha Hamilton met with members of MCAR’s Legislative Committee to provide an update on the several redevelopment projects on the horizon in the Township. The main topic of discussion was the May 10 planning board meeting where Howard Hughes Corporation, the owner of the 653-acre former American Cyanamid property, discussed its proposed redevelopment plan for the site.

While Councilwoman Hamilton did not share her personal view of the project because it will be coming before the Planning Board again for review on July 26, she provided an overview of the plan that was presented and discussed the initial concerns voiced by residents at the meeting.

 

More than 150 people attended the May 10 meeting.  Appearing in public for the first time since 2014, company representatives gave a general overview of how they want to develop the site, which sits in the west end of town, bound by Route 1, Quakerbridge Road and the Amtrak mainline.

 

The proposal Howard Hughes presented at the meeting closely mirrored the concept plan the company revealed to the Township in February. It proposes a mixed-use village center development with 1,976 residential units and more than 1.3 million square feet of commercial space. Of the proposed residential total, nearly half are high-density apartment rentals, followed by 353 townhomes, 462 single-family homes, and 236 age-restricted homes. The developer also announced its intention to request that the township declare the parcel as an area ‘in need of redevelopment’.

 

Much of the public comment from the over 40 residents who spoke at the May 10 meeting centered on concerns about the potential impact on the schools and traffic in the area. There were a handful of people that spoke in favor of the project pointing to the diversity of housing it will create and economic development it will generate in the region.

 

The property is currently zoned for more than 6 million square feet of research, office and light manufacturing, which means Howard Hughes needs to obtain a zoning change from Township Council to move forward with the project. Before that happens, however, the project needs to be reviewed by the planning board. That entity is set to reconvene and make public comment on the project on July 26. The meeting will be open to the public, although location and timing are not yet set.  MCAR will provide members with that information as soon as it becomes available.

 

Councilwoman Ayesha Hamilton sends out a timely e-newsletter on happenings throughout West Windsor. MCAR members who wish to be added to her email distribution list are encouraged to send her an email at  ahamilton2537@gmail.com.

 

 

Hamilton Officials Remain Committed to Neighborhood Improvement Program

Hamilton Township Officials recently announced that township inspectors will continue patrolling for property code violations such as overgrown grass and weeds, garbage piled in front yards, cars parked on lawns, broken gutters, doors, windows and roofs falling into disrepair, etc., as part of its ‘Neighborhood Improvement Program’.

 

Rather than wait until a resident call to complain about a neighbor’s bad yard before going out to investigate, as was done before, the township is now tackling one neighborhood at a time and issuing notices to residents as they see violations. The program runs between April and October. Neighborhoods are randomly selected and given two weeks’ notice. Then, a group made up of a health inspector, housing inspector, zoning officer, police officer and a Housing and Urban Development inspector walk or drive up and down the streets, with an eye out for housing code, zoning and health-related violations. Problems are noted and relayed to the health officer, who then issues a letter to the property owner. They have 21 days to correct or begin to correct most problems, but the township grants extensions to people who are tight on money, time or both.

 

In some cases, when multiple attempts to reach the owner are unsuccessful, the township will step in to complete the work itself and place a lien on the property for the costs. Residents who meet certain federal income criteria may also be eligible for a zero-interest loan from HUD that is forgiven after 10 years if they continue to live in the home.

 

For more information about Hamilton’s Neighborhood Improvement Program, visit: http://www.hamiltonnj.com/news/?FeedID=1571

 

D&R Greenway Land Trust Preserves St. Michael’s Farm in Hopewell

D&R Greenway Land Trust recently announced the final 20 acres of St. Michael’s Farm in Hopewell have been preserved. Funding came from Mercer County’s Open Space Program with about 2/3 coming from private donors. More than $600,000 was raised to purchase the land, which serves as the pedestrian entrance to the property.

 

The St. Michael’s Farm Preserve was created in 2010 by D&R Greenway along with residents who jointly raised $11 million to prevent development that was proposed for the site. With the new property, the St. Michael’s Farm Preserve is now expanded to over 400 acres. The 20-acre open space parcel will serve as a transition from Hopewell Borough to the farm preserve and includes a tributary to Bedens Brook. D&R Greenway will clean up the site, conduct an inventory of the trees and enhance the pedestrian entrance and setting for passive recreation.

 

Construction of Province Line Road Segment of Lawrence Hopewell Trail Underway

Construction of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail’s Province Line Road segment is underway.  This will add approximately three-quarters of a mile of trail to the biking and walking loop that runs through Lawrence and Hopewell Townships. The 3,760-foot segment runs along Province Line Road from Route 206 to Bannister Drive, where it crosses into the Foxcroft neighborhood. This link ties Carson Road Woods and Bristol-Myers Squibb Lawrenceville to the north and the Foxcroft neighborhood to the southeast. With the completion of this project, 88 percent – a total of 19 miles – of the 22-mile trail will be completed by summer of 2017.

 

The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) is a more than 22-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and transportation corridor through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships in Mercer County. For more information about the trail, visit http://lhtrail.org/.

 

Hopewell Officials Seeking Public Input on the Fate of Local Senior Center

With the possibility of the Hopewell Valley Senior Center in Pennington Borough closing its doors at the end of this year, Hopewell Township officials are circulating a survey that seeks to find out what Hopewell Valley residents would like in a new senior and/or community center. The survey is available online at www.HaveYourSayHopewellTwp.org/center.  The survey is open to anyone who is at least 30 years old and who lives in Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, or Pennington Borough. The deadline to fill out the survey is June 6. The results will be available about two months after the survey’s closing.

 

Princeton Puts Many Applications Online

Princeton recently partnered with SeamlessDocs in launching an online application and request processing system via the municipal website, www.princetonnj.gov.  The new online system allows residents to order copies of vital records and request vacant house checks using their computer or mobile device. The new system also enables business owners and non-profit organizations to file for several types of permits online, including applications for tent permits, canopy permits, open flame permits, and temporary event permits. The new system allows for secure online payment via credit or debit cards for a small convenience fee.

 

The Municipality will continue to expand the number of applications and permits available through the system. Currently, the following online submissions are available:  Vital Records Requests (including birth, marriage, civil union, domestic partnership and death certificates); Food Service Applications (Farmers markets and temporary event applications); Open Flame Permit Applications; Tent and Canopy Permit Applications; Rental Housing Applications; Vacant House Check Requests; and Princeton Police Ride Along Program Applications. These applications will be available on the municipal website http://princetonnj.gov/forms.html. Questions or suggestions for future forms can be directed to Access Princeton, (609)924-4141.

 

Princeton to Hold Meeting on Parking Usage on July 14

The second of three public meetings to be held on parking usage in Princeton will take place on June 14 at Witherspoon Hall at 400 Witherspoon Street. The initial findings, survey results and analyses of weekday and weekend parking usage will be topics up for discussion. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with an open house, so that the public may review the parking demand maps and analysis. The official portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 

Princeton University Provides Update on 2026 Campus Plan

In mid-May, Princeton University Officials updated the community on its campus expansion plan that includes possible development of the roughly 400 acres that it owns on the other side of Lake Carnegie, in West Windsor, on the Springdale Golf Course and on the Butler Tract in Princeton. The university is looking to expand academic and athletic facilities and build housing for faculty, staff, graduate students and post-docs, but did not announce immediate plans for construction. To view the latest plan, visit http://www.princetonnj.gov/notices/2026-Campus-Plan-Presentation-051517.pdf.

 

Mercer County Rolls Out New Website

Mercer County government recently rolled out a completely redesigned web site at www.mercercounty.org.  Website visitors now have the option to sign up for their favorite updates, e-newsletters, recycling schedules and more.

 

Starbucks to Open in Trenton

Starbucks recently announced it will be opening a store at 102 S. Warren Street in Trenton, as part of its company-wide initiative to invest in at least 15 underserved communities across the U.S. by 2018. It will be the seventh of its kind nationally and the only one in New Jersey. The store is expected to open by the end of the year.

 

Company officials say their goal is to contribute to the city’s economic development and create job opportunities for local youth. Starbucks plans to work with local minority-owned businesses to help with the construction and supply products for the store. There will also be an in-store classroom that will double as space for its jobs training program and a hub for conversation and community. Starbucks will partner with a local nonprofit organization to provide youth with a free multi-week job skills training program. When trainings are not in session, the room will be available for local groups to use for meetings.

 

Governor Christie, Trenton Mayor Jackson & Local Officials Announce $13 Million Initiative to Tear Down Blighted, Abandoned Buildings in Capital City.

On May 30, Governor Chris Christie, state Attorney General Christopher Porrino, and Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson gathered with city officials, community leaders and residents to announce a nearly $13 million initiative to tear down as many as 500 abandoned buildings in Trenton while adding 150 surveillance cameras and inspecting thousands of city street lights.

The state funds are part of a multi-faceted approach to crime reduction that would also include increased funding for surveillance cameras and better lighting.

Per Mayor Jackson, the City of Trenton can currently only afford to allocate $2 million a year to the demolition of abandoned properties, which has been one of the larger impediments to developers. The newly released funds will enable the city to focus on whole blocks rather than one building at a time.

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