March 9, 2017
Affordable Housing: On Monday, 3/5/18, the Township Committee (TC) announced a joint meeting with the Planning Board and the Township Committee to be held on March 12 at the municipal building at 7 pm. The topic is affordable housing. The town-hall like meeting is open to the public, so bring your questions. The purpose is to update our community on the affordable housing issues; no major new announcement is planned. Our town has still not been told an official number of units that the state will require.
Cemetery: An agenda topic that brought additional people to Monday’s meeting is a proposed new cemetery. Since no representatives of the applicant were present, the discussion has been postponed until the next meeting, 3/19/18 or until such time that a representative is available. The question before the TC is whether to grant an exception to the rule that a town does not have more than five cemeteries. The TC did not want to grant or deny the request for a waiver without hearing from the applicant and from the town folks who oppose the applicant. If the TC were to waive the rule, then the application would move to the Planning Board.
Merck: The year has gotten off to a busy start 2018 in Readington Township. By now most have heard the welcome news that the Merck site is under contract by Unicom Global .
Walmart: Walmart has closed at the end of February, despite the efforts of the Township to accommodate expansion plans (see MyCentralJersey.com for full details). Our town is sad to see Walmart leave. Mayor Ben Smith said that the Township has worked well with Walmart, including an offer of sewer capacity and variances for property zoning, store hours, and its sign. A spokesman for Walmart said “This tough decision to close the store is based on a number of factors, including financial performance and strategic alignment with long-term plans.”
Volunteering: Change can bring uncertainty. What remains steadfast and true are the people of Readington. This community is dedicated to keeping the township a great place to live. Service to the community comes in many different forms, including participation in Township activities and attending the various Committee meetings, either as observers or as members of the Committee.
In January, the 3-year term of service on the Township Committee ended for John Broten and Sam Tropello. Mr. Tropello is still volunteering as he is just begun to serve on the Township’s Board of Adjustments. We thank them both for their dedication to the stewardship of Readington. The new Committee members, Jonathan Heller and John Albanese, are long-time residents of Readington and are prime examples of the spirit of volunteerism in the community, having been active in multiple volunteer Boards and capacities before their election.
Open Space: The Open Space Advisory Board is also composed of volunteers who work hard to serve the interests of the town. At a recent Township Committee meeting, one of the items on the agenda and open for public hearing was the Bond Ordinance (#01-2018) for the acquisition of 14 acres of property in the Stanton/Round Mountain area. The property includes high quality forest (identified as the fifth highest rated forest land in NJ) and a stream, ensuring a larger contiguous section of Round Mountain is protected along with existing trails. The Committee approved the ordinance 5-0 based on the recommendation of the Open Space Advisory Board (OSAB) that this acquisition would help maintain the rural character of Stanton village and further protect Round Mountain. The bond will provide an upfront payment for the land which will be fully reimbursed through the State Green Acres Planning Incentive Grant Fund (50%), County Funds (Cooperative County Open Space Fund – 20%), and the County’s Municipal Grants Program (30%). The volunteers of the OSAB give their time generously not only to identify such properties but also the funding sources that allow the town to expand our open space without any cost to residents.
We fully support the Township’s decision to proceed with this purchase to help maintain the favorable character of Readington. Kudos to the members of the OSAB who helped make it happen.
Hope to see you at Committee meetings and Township Open Space hikes!