Hopewell Borough Master Plan will be revisited


By Sandra Phelps
   The Hopewell Borough Planning Board is getting set to revisit the town’s Master Plan and the possible rewriting of related ordinances.
   Municipalities are required to review their Master Plans in six-year cycles, and the borough is somewhat behind in its review.
   Hopewell Planning Consultant Carl Lindbloom said there’s presumption of validity to the Master Plan, and with lapse of time, that presumption goes up.
   The Master Plan will be on the March agenda. Mr. Lindbloom plans to go over the re-examination — what that is, the procedure, and what it entails.
   The board will be considering additional zone districts — FP for Farmland Preservation and P for public zones.
   There is only one farmland preservation zone in the borough at this time, Mr. Lindbloom said.
   Public zones include parks, schools, cemeteries, and places such as the library and Borough Hall. Open space that is not farmland also would be included in the public zone, according to Mr. Lindbloom. The purpose of a public zone reflects the true use of the property, he said.
   The Planning Board may consider dividing up the public zone into a built-up public zone and an open space public zone.
   The board carried over this discussion to next month because board member Mark Samse was not present.
   Mr. Lindbloom also drafted a paper on front-yard setback requirements. The board would like setbacks to conform to the neighborhoods in which they are located. A 40-foot maximum setback is required for the front yard, and board members said they also would like a minimum setback included. Where there is an established setback or streetscape, front-yard setback numbers will be matched accordingly. "The idea of having one number doesn’t work in this town," said board member Paul Buda.
   The board also discussed COAH process fees, and guidelines for obtaining construction and demolition permits in the Hopewell Borough Historic District.
   COAH process fees are collected for new construction, both home and nonresidential. Fees are higher for nonresidential construction. The borough enacted fees in 1997 following COAH’s standards. Since then, COAH took a look at the basis for their standards.
   Borough Administrator/Clerk Michelle Hovan said she is developing a more comprehensive COAH form. She said that proposed changes should be introduced on March 1.
   In other business, a certificate of appropriateness was approved for an addition at 11 Maple St.
   Michael Duffy, who resides at 9 Maple St., purchased the neighboring house when the owner, his friend, Alice McLaughlin, passed away after residing there for 72 years. Her husband was born in the 1815 house that belonged to one of the early founders, according to Mr. Duffy.
   Mr. Duffy proposes an addition to the front of the small 1,000-square-foot house that will extend over the shed addition. The house is situated on a long, narrow lot.
   He said he prefers white clapboard, black shutters and a burgundy door for the front facade. The current porch would be extended with simple post construction to 12 feet in length.
   Mr. Duffy’s plans will require a variance for side yard setback.
   Approval of a certificate of appropriateness for a sign for a full-service gift shop at a corner property at 10 E. Broad St. was postponed. The application called for a small printed wood sign to be hung on an existing pole that is located near the steps to the building.
   The multi-use buildings on the property house three retail businesses: Soup de Jour in the smaller carriage house, an antique shop and a florist/ gift shop that will be in a carriage house that once was an antique shop.
   Consultant Lindbloom said the owners may put up one shingle sign for each permitted use, for a total of three.
   Planning Board members want the applicant to come back with a sign plan encompassing the entire property.
   A certificate of appropriateness for a new roof on the Hopewell Pharmacy was approved. A second certificate of appropriateness to replace the second floor windows was held over to next month’s meeting.