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Hopewell Township Committee {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Hopewell Township Committee, choose 2 candidates

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  • John Hart
    (Rep)

  • Edward Jackowski
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kristin McLaughlin
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Courtney Peters-Manning
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Name one or two things in the Hopewell Township Master Plan that you believe should be changed to better reflect the current/future growth of the Township.

What do you think would be good use for the land formerly known as Pennytown?

What are your plans/thoughts for the land located on Scotch Road near Interstate 95?

Describe how you would best approach the land known as the Zaitz tract?

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Website http://www.facebook.com/CourtneyandKristin
The Master Plan was designed to preserve and protect currently pristine areas of the Township. I think we can do more to strengthen those protections by adding additional language which limits development to areas currently in the Wastewater Management Plan. Our rural character is not for sale. I’ve fought against overdevelopment, the PennEast pipeline, and to preserve open space. With that in mind, we also need a thriving business community to shoulder more of the residential property tax burden. The Master Plan should list supporting smart economic activity as a goal. I signed the resolution creating the Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Board and look forward to ideas from that group.
The land on Rt. 31 that we call Pennytown was purchased many years ago when the Township was under pressure to identify land suitable to meet our affordable housing mandate. As the Planning Board worked through that plan, other sites were deemed more suitable and it was removed from the plan. It is currently for sale so that we can return it to the tax rolls. The site is governed by a redevelopment plan that specifies mixed use and has no plans for additional sewer or public water needs.
A previous administration identified Scotch Rd. as suitable for development to meet the affordable housing obligation. With the office park and Capital Health, wide, divided road, and proximity to sewer and water, the Township can meet the court’s standards here. The revised plan received official court approval. With tough negotiation, we made the plan better. We maximized senior housing, giving residents an option to downsize here and eliminating impact on schools. Including neighborhood-scale retail supports the residents and the employees of our major employers. Retail also provides a much needed tax base to ease the residential property tax burden. I am proud to have ended costly litigation. We can now plan with certainty.
The Zaitz tract, located near the circle behind Shop Rite, is another site the Planning Board identified as suitable for affordable housing. Working very closely with the residents on neighboring streets, we were able to enlarge the buffers, provide the opportunity for them to connect to a sewer line, move the taller buildings away from the existing neighborhood, and create a bike and pedestrian path for them. It is important to me that we do everything we can to make sure that current residents have a voice in the process. The public process for the Zaitz tract allowed residents to air their concerns, and we were then able to add additional protections and benefits for them. The site has land reserved for a new Senior + Community Center.
Campaign Email cpmforhopewell@gmail.com
Website https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyandKristin/
The Master Plan should be updated to address climate change and the need for renewable energy. I am an environmental lawyer by training, and I serve on the boards of FoHVOS and the LHT. The master plan should reflect the big role the Township could play in dealing with climate change. There are two initiatives I’d champion. First, green energy aggregation allows towns to pool their electric customers (with an easy opt-out if desired) and therefore get lower prices—and more renewable energy—than single customers could. Second, Community Solar is a program that allows customers to buy “subscriptions” to remotely-located solar projects, then get credits back on their utility bills. With both, residents save money while fighting climate change.
The Township should sell Pennytown to get it back on the tax rolls. I have been walking door-to-door, talking to Township residents, and property taxes are a priority for most people I meet. I have financial experience to keep spending under control. Professionally, I am a Director of Finance, responsible for budgeting and managing cash flow. I know what it means to keep to a budget to make payroll every two weeks, which is a skill I will bring with me to the Township Committee. When selling Pennytown, though, we must protect it from overdevelopment. I am strongly opposed to running sewers up to the golf course, as that would make it much more likely that large-scale development would happen in the area, like at Kooltronic and Pennytown.
The development that may be coming to Scotch Road is part of the Township’s settlement on state-mandated affordable housing. I think the Committee could do a better job in seeking public input on these controversial decisions. I have already advocated for changes. When I served on the Open Space/Recreation Plan committee, I insisted that we conduct a survey to get public input. At the last Township Committee meeting, I suggested that developers be required to post signs alerting neighbors about where to get information. If elected, I would hold office hours, make more use of video and social media, and proactively spread the word about potentially controversial topics. Please also contact me with suggestions at cpmforhopewell@gmail.com.
The Zaitz tract (behind ShopRite on the Pennington Circle), is slated to potentially host a new Senior and Community Center. We need a place where residents can come together. I envision plentiful public meeting spaces, an exercise facility, an indoor pool (as our high school swim team currently does not have a home pool), and a dedicated, separate space for seniors. I am open about where to locate it, but Zaitz has a lot going for it and would allow us to address the dangerous traffic at the circle. We should build the center at the most reasonable cost and locate it where it’s convenient to the majority of residents. I’d need to see hard numbers on the impact to taxpayers before making any decisions. I am a Director of Finance after all!