Letter to the Editor: What about the Master Plan?


To the Editor,

Mayor McLaughlin likes to boast about her achievements as she campaigns for re-election. Notably, she and her running mate and Planning Board Member Courtney Peters-Manning see themselves as stewards of Hopewell Township’s environment. Well, not so fast. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Mayor McLaughlin and the Democratic majority have continually ignored the 2002 Master Plan. Many recent approvals were found to be inconsistent with the Master Plan. That is important to all of us because the Master Plan defined the carrying capacity of the land; the amount of development that our resources can support. It also identified key, environmentally sensitive areas that are needed to protect the township’s aquifer from over-development. Too much impervious coverage permits water, which would normally percolate into the soil, to run-off.  All elected officials must understand the science of water. The first step is reading and understanding the Master Plan, as well as using it as a guide for any proposed development. Most residents of Hopewell Valley rely upon wells for drinking water. Imagine turning on your faucet and having nothing come out.

Under Mayor McLaughlin’s watch, the township signed deals with developers to build a total of 1,720 market-rate homes and 430 affordable homes on the west side of Scotch Road. This is an area defined in the Master Plan as Valley Resource Conservation, a designation that limited development there to no more than one house for every six acres. That part of Scotch Road is geographically located at the headwaters of two streams. Along with all these homes, Mayor McLaughlin and her Democratic majority also voted to allow a drive-though, fast-food restaurant and a 16-pump gas station as accepted uses. This configuration would be next to a natural gas pipeline, simply horrible planning for an area defined as environmentally sensitive in the Master Plan.

I have tried to stay informed on the issues, by attending most meetings and serving as a government watchdog. I am a registered Democrat and I would love to vote that way. Yet, we cannot endure another three years of a Democratic majority that rubber stamps legislation without public input and which continually ignores a Master Plan that was written to protect Hopewell Township’s environment.

Mayor McLaughlin and her running mate, Courtney Peters-Manning, do not deserve our votes. They have not protected Hopewell Township’s environment. In fact, they have repeatedly sold-out to developers. I am casting my two votes for John Hart and Ed Jackowski, who I know will protect Hopewell Township.

Cheryl Edwards
Hopewell Township