HOPEWELL TWP.: Lester hasn’t achieved in affordable housing

Aurelio “Al” Colina, Hopewell Township
To the editor: 
In his letter of Oct. 15, our self-appointed mayor, Harvey Lester, touts his greatest achievement as his winning a reimbursement lawsuit against the state for $639,000.
While Harvey Lester actually failed to receive any public reimbursement, he came away with a vague promise of Hopewell possibly getting some credits towards our town’s affordable housing plan. Vague because these numbers have been argued in the courts for years and no real resolution seems to be forthcoming any time soon.
In fact, this decision was immediately appealed by the Fair Share Housing Center. Township Attorney Steve Goodell clarified at the Oct. 13 Hopewell Township Committee meeting that “Well, we’re not going to get a check, we know that . . . the actual determination of how many credits it could be a tricky issue because there will be a question of what regulations you use.” The only real winners in this so far have been the lawyers whose bills keep going up and up. Bills that you are paying for in your taxes!
While attorneys and politicians play political games with affordable housing, our hard-working bipartisan volunteers on the Planning Board have been working hard on developing an affordable housing plan that is comprehensive, sensible, cost-effective and realistic. In doing so, the Planning Board has repeatedly sought guidance from Lester, as whatever plan the Planning Board proposes must be approved by our Town Committee for submittal to the state. These requests have been met by a deafening silence.
The current deadline is Dec. 7, 2015. If this doesn’t happen, builders’ remedy lawsuits will prevail and big developers will be able to start building all over Hopewell Valley, as they did in the Windsors. Developers get their way without community involvement. It’s not what I want, and you should question what Lester wants, as he talks a good game, but consistently fails to take concrete actions to protect the township.
You have a choice on Nov. 3. Choose wisely.
Aurelio “Al” Colina 