Planning board asked to determine if Reed Road property is an area in need of redevelopment

The Hopewell Township Committee has approved a resolution directing the planning board to determine if the property site adjacent to the Zaitz Tract properties qualifies as an area in need redevelopment.

The property site location is at 1646 Reed Road and is near the intersection of Reed and Diverty Roads. The properties the make up the Zaitz Tract are next to the property off of Reed Road, which would be the new home to a Hopewell Valley Senior and Community Center.

The resolution was approved on May 3. Mayor Julie Blake, Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Committeewoman Kristin McLaughlin, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski and Committeeman Michael Ruger voted “yes” on the measure.

“If we were to move forward positively on this the preliminary investigation report will be developed by our planner and discussed at the planning board level,” said Mark Kataryniak, community development director and Hopewell Township township engineer. “A recommendation will come back to the governing body for a determination as to whether or not this area constitutes an area in need of redevelopment.”

According to the resolution, the Hopewell Valley YMCA is the contract purchaser of the 15.18-acre property.

The stakeholders for the project for the new center include Hopewell Township officials and professional staff, Hopewell Valley YMCA, and Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education and school district.

With the planning board authorized to undertake the investigation of the property site off of Reed Road, the investigation will be handled by planning firm Banisch Associates.

A map of the proposed area, along with a written report on the findings, will be submitted to the planning board. After the planning board receives such a report they will make recommendations to the township committee.

“This action tonight is the first step in one of many that will be included in the redevelopment process, assuming you act tonight,” Attorney Kevin McManimon said on May 3 prior to township committee approval. “Then there is a study that gets undertaken and presented to the planning board; if the planning board acts favorably upon it and the township committee acts favorably on the planning board’s action then you have the foundational step in place. The redevelopment area is designated.”

If the township committee does agree and designate the land as an area in need of redevelopment it would give the township the authorization to utilize all the powers under redevelop law for such a designation, except for the use of eminent domain, according to the resolution.

“The next step in the process is to determine what the zoning will be for the site. This is obviously going to jive with Zaitz Tract site, because of its proximity to it,” McManimon said. “But in the process there will be an opportunity to craft a redevelopment plan for that property and that process will include an ordinance by the governing body, which is a two meeting tract and the review by the planning board, which is another opportunity to see what the zoning proposal for the site is.”