HILLSBOROUGH: Planning, zoning rosters get shuffled 

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By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
Planning and zoning leadership will get a shakeup in the new year.
Longtime Planning Board Chairman Steven Sireci Jr. stepped away from that job and was appointed Tuesday night to a four-year term on the zoning Board of Adjustment. He presumably was to be elected chairman Wednesday night, succeeding Helen “Chickie” Haines, who will remain on the board.
Mayor Frank DelCore said the moves were intended to “mix things up a little bit” and give people changes of scenery.
But it’s possible that the zoning board, which rules on cases in which an applicant is seeking some relief from specific provisions of the zoning code, may have a busier year on more substantive issues than the Planning Board, which hears applications that substantially adhere to planning ordinances.
Former Mayor Douglas Tomson said at a township meeting in December that officials were watching carefully any plans by an “energy-generating facility” to develop a 423-acre tract between Amwell and Hamilton roads.
And a judge has ruled the Board of Adjustment rehear a denied application by the Shoppes at Woods Tavern at the corner of Amwell Road and Route 206 to expand shops and build offices with second-floor residential units behind the shops and bordering on the lot of Petrock’s Bar and Grill.
Robert Wagner, a former mayor appointed Dec. 29 to run the township recreation, parks and social services department, will stay on the Planning Board, but will assume the township official designation, succeeding Michael Merdinger. Mr. Merdinger was a mayor in the 1980s and township administrator for three years until he retired in mid-2012.
Kenneth Hesthag will move from the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Board to fill an unexpired term for this year. Planning Board alternates Shawn Lipani and Robert Peason will become full members through 2019. Mayor DelCore said he would continue to serve on the Planning Board, and Mr. Suraci will replace Mr. Burchette as Township Committee liaison.
Sallie Becorona and Stephanie Forest were appointed alternates for one- and two-year terms, respectively.
The Planning Board was scheduled to reorganize last night, Thursday, and would have to elect a new chairman from its ranks.
On the Board of Adjustment, Frank Valcheck was reappointed to a four-year term. Steve Monte, John Shockley and Philomena Celilli (new to the board) were voted as alternates. 