Three recent open public meetings have moved the possibility of a significant zoning change incrementally closer to reality but hurdles remain, including the Township Committee elections on November 3.
On September 22, the proposed Master Plan amendment including hamlets in Rosemont, Sergeantsville and on Bittersweet Farm was presented. On Tuesday October 20, the Planning Board held a second public hearing on the proposed Master Plan amendment, and last night at the regular Township Committee meeting, individual members of the elected body commented on the proposal.
At the September 22 meeting well over 100 persons turned up, including, apparently, nearly the entire population of Rosemont. Opposition to hamlets in general, and to a hamlet in Rosemont in particular, was quite evident. Last week’s Master Plan hearing was held in the Performing Arts Center at DTS in anticipation of large crowd, which turned out to be far smaller than expected. About 45 people showed up, some in favor and some opposed to the draft Master Plan. The Board members voiced their opinions and after about two hours of presentation and discussion, passed a resolution amending the Master Plan – the culmination of almost five years of work by the Board.
Last night’s Township Committee meeting included a discussion of the amendment with Planner Caroline Armstrong and Planning Board Chairman Ken Hyman. Mr. Hyman asked for direction on whether, how and when to proceed with drafting the actual ordinances to implement the vision of the Master Plan. By unanimous vote, the committee rejected two of the three hamlet sites proposed by the Planning Board. Both the Rosemont site and the Sergeantsville site will be removed from the actual ordinance when it is drafted by Ms. Armstrong’s firm, Group Melvin Design. By eliminating these two hamlet sites, the committee will also remove much of the opposition to the zoning scheme and will mitigate the plan with a more cautious approach.
After a lengthy discussion about the funds remaining in the budget, all four members of the committee agreed that there are sufficient budgeted funds to continue with the project, and instructed Ms. Armstrong to proceed.