To the editor:
Township Committee candidates Shawn Lipani and Ron Skobo have no business writing/advertising that they are going to stop overdevelopment when Hillsborough’s planning board, zoning board, and township committee almost never turn down a development proposal, have no problem changing zoning requirements to suit the projects, give financial breaks to developers and don’t even enforce what these developers have already agreed to. They are putting residents at risk, especially the more vulnerable.
A few years ago, when the Amwell Road West development was going through the Planning Board, several residents testified that the close proximity to Amwell Road of the apartment buildings, which were designated special needs affordable, was a hazard, and that the lack of separate access/egress was also unsafe. I know because I was there. These concerns were ignored by the township committee and the planning board and now we have problems with fire trucks, ambulances and school busses accessing Westering Place, as it’s currently called.
When Brookhaven Lofts, another high-density development just southeast of Falcon Road off Route 206, was in the planning stages, many residents went to a public meeting and discussed not just the lack of easy access to services from that point in town, or the ability of public transport to access that area, or the concern about flooding. They also had major concerns about the lack of sidewalks on the access road or even in a small space at the 206 intersections for residents to be able to safely walk along the entry road leading out of the development. The developer made a commitment at that meeting to provide sidewalks in response to residents’ concerns. But sidewalks were never built there.
It is incredible how these developers tax exemptions and abatements when they don’t even provide basic safety for our residents, who are also their tenants and owners.
I ask everyone in Hillsborough to vote for Democrats Jeffrey Wright and Olivia Holmes for township committee. Olivia has lived in the township for over 30 years and is a successful small business owner. Jeff is a financial planner who has lived here for four and a half years. They bring a good mix of experiences and priorities to the ticket. Both care very much about the future and the quality of life here in Hillsborough, and are a refreshing alternative to the Republican development machine that has been mowing its way through the planning board, zoning board, and township committee in the recent years.
I know that Jeff and Olivia will listen to residents, and will think about traffic, safety, and quality of life when approving developments. They are not under the thumb of the township attorney or the large developers or the Republican apparatus that is so evident in Hillsborough. Jeff and Olivia will be responsive to residents’ concerns. They will listen to residents and do their level best to keep them safe. Vote Wright and Holmes on November 6.