Lawrence Township Voters Approve School Bond Referendum
Lawrence Township voters recently approved a $25.1 million bond referendum to make improvements to each of the seven school buildings in the Lawrence Township Public School District. Adding air-conditioning to classrooms, improving accessibility and making security enhancements are among the planned renovations. The State of New Jersey will pick up 40 percent of the tab for the new debt.

East Windsor residents can now pay property taxes online
East Windsor residents can now pay their quarterly property taxes by e-check, debit card or credit card through the Township’s website: https://www.east-windsor.nj.us/ . Convenience fees are attached to the online payments. There’s a fee is $1.05 for e-check payments, $3.95 for VISA debit card payments and 2.95 percent for all other credit card or debit card payments.

The new online system allows property owners to have online access to the current year's tax bill, as well as their tax account history, for the past three years. It also expands options available to property owners to make tax payments. For more information, call the Tax Office at 609-443-4000, ext. 231.

Proposed PennEast Pipeline Gets Federal Certificate, but Application is Denied by NJDEP
In late January, the on-again, off-again PennEast Pipeline proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through parts of Mercer and Hunterdon counties appeared to be on again thanks to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granting a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” for the project. Less than two weeks later, however, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) sent a letter to the company denying the project’s application, rendering it incomplete because required information had still not been submitted. According to the letter, PennEast would have to file a new application to move forward.

PennEast wants to build a 116-mile-long natural gas pipeline from Luzerne County in Pennsylvania through several other Pennsylvania counties and into Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey, including Hopewell Township. The project would impact about 1,588 acres of land during construction, and about 788 acres of land when it becomes operational. About 44 miles, or 37 percent of the pipeline route, would be located alongside existing rights-of-way. MCAR will continue to keep members updated, as the company remains committed to the project.

Trenton Water Works Update
Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson has reached an agreement with a civil engineering company to help run the city's municipal water utility, amid  escalating concerns about water quality and infrastructure. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has approved the proposed 12-month emergency contract with Wade Trim to aid Trenton Water Works. The agreement with Wade Trim is aimed at satisfying a directive last fall from the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.

Established by Trenton in 1859, the utility provides water to approximately 225,000 customers in Trenton and parts of Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence and Hopewell. It provides for sewer services in Trenton but not in the four neighboring municipalities. On February 1, The Trenton City Council held a Public Information Session on Trenton Water Works in an attempt to address questions and concerns. A link to the report is available here: http://www.trentonnj.org/Documents/02012018%20TWW%20Information%20Session%20-%20Copy.pdf

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson Announces He Will Not Be Running for 2 nd Term in May
Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson recently announced he will not be seeking a second, 4-year term in May. Several people have indicated that they are running for the seat including, long-time Assemblyman Reed Gusciora; Michael Silvestri, a political newcomer from the city's Chambersburg neighborhood; City Councilman Alex Bethea; 2014 mayoral candidate finalist  Paul Perez ; and Trenton activist Darren “Freedom” Green. Mercer County Deputy Clerk Walker Worthy is also expected to run, although no formal announcement has been made.
 
Project Freedom Coming to Robbinsville
Robbinsville Township will donate approximately 10 acres of the northeast corner in Town Center South along Route 33 to Project Freedom, a non-profit that develops and operates barrier-free housing throughout New Jersey to enable individuals with disabilities to live independently. Township Council approved the developer’s agreement with Project Freedom on January 11.

Robbinsville is home to the very first Project Freedom on Hutchinson Road, which consists of 35 units designed specifically for people with disabilities and/or mobile impairments. The Town Center South location will be located across Route 33 and to the left of North Commerce Square. It will consist of 72 units, 18 percent of which will be restricted to supportive housing for the developmentally disabled.

The Project Freedom application is expected to go before the planning board in the spring. All 72 units are considered “affordable” and will enable Robbinsville Township to reach the 638 credits needed to satisfy its affordable housing obligations with both the New Jersey Superior Court and the Fair Share Housing Center through 2025.
 
New Business Administrator Takes Seat in Hamilton
Long-time Hamilton Councilman Dave Kenny who did not seek reelection in November 2017 was recently appointment Business Administrator upon retirement of John Ricci who served in the role for more than 40 years.

Mr. Kenny is a life-long Hamilton resident and served on council for 12 years. An attorney by trade, he has served as municipal attorney for Hopewell Township and Robbinsville Township. He runs his own law firm—Kenny, Chase and Costa.
 
 
3 2 Rural Acres Preserved in Hamilton Township
New Jersey Conservation Foundation and partners – Save Hamilton Open Space, North Crosswicks Friends of Open Space, the state Green Acres Program, Mercer County and Hamilton Township – have joined together to permanently preserve two properties totaling 32 acres in Hamilton Township.

Nineteen acres at the edge of the North Crosswicks village historic district, once proposed for a cemetery and mausoleums, was preserved as open space. The property fronts on both South Broad Street and Crosswicks-Hamilton Square Road and is nearly surrounded by preserved farmland and open space. It will be used for passive public recreation such as hiking, bird watching and nature observation. Agriculture to attract grassland bird and pollinator habitat will continue a section of the property that has been farmed for hundreds of years.

As part of a package deal with the Diocese of Trenton, the purchase also includes a 13-acre property with frontage along Doctors Creek. This property, which has wetlands and steep slopes, is a bald eagle foraging area and will be kept in its natural state to protect wildlife.

New Senior Living Community Opens in Hamilton Township
Solvere Senior Living recently opened its $59.1 million Homestead at Hamilton senior living community at 2560 Kuser Road, Hamilton. The four-story community has 96 independent living apartments, 75 assisted living apartments, and a memory care neighborhood with 24 apartments. Amenities and services include multiple dining venues, two art studios, a performing arts center, theater, libraries, fitness gym and studio, salon, concierge, transportation, and sundry shop. According to Solvere, which is based in Princeton Forrestal Village, the new community will create more than 450 jobs directly and indirectly. 
Princeton Healthcare Joins Penn Medicine
Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) has completed the merger with Penn Medicine, which means its affiliates, including University Medical Center of Princeton, Princeton House Behavioral Health, Princeton Home­Care, and the Princeton Medicine Physician Network, are now part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
 
Princeton University Details 10-Year Plan
Princeton University recently revealed a more detailed vision of its plans to expand its campus in the next 10 years to accommodate 500 new undergraduate students, create new engineering and science buildings, new housing, and construct buildings, paths, and footbridges on the university-owned land south of Lake Carnegie in West Windsor.

Among the more significant proposals in the plan is the construction of a new “lake campus” complex on the south side of Lake Carnegie, connected to the main campus via Washington Road and a new footbridge. This campus would include administrative space, graduate student housing, retail space, areas for academic partnerships, amenities, a parking lot and transit hub, and athletic fields. 
The plan also proposes new footpaths and buildings for engineering and environmental studies on its lands east of Washington Road. These new buildings would link to the central campus by an east-west connector path for biking and walking. Where paths intersect, the plan proposes “nodes” with entertainment, dining, or other socially oriented facilities. The bike and pedestrian path going over the new footbridge would link to the town of Princeton’s municipal paths, giving residents a way to cross the lake without using the heavily trafficked Washington Road bridge.
The plan also calls for a new residential college for 500 students to be built near Poe Field east of Elm Drive. This new college would require relocating a softball field and a tennis center, which would be moved to the Lake Campus near a rugby field and cross-country course. Other sports would eventually move to the Lake Campus also, and a new hockey arena would be built there. There would be a new shuttle service for student athletes. 
Closer to the existing campus, new engineering and environmental studies buildings would be built on the north side of Ivy Lane and Western Way, near current engineering buildings. A new parking garage where there is currently a surface lot at Faculty and Fitzrandolph roads is also planned. The Springdale Golf Club tract will be preserved and leased to the golf club for at least another 10 years. After that, however, it could be developed into university housing. 
The 166-page campus plan is online at https://campusplan.princeton.edu/current-campus-plan
 
Peter Cantu Sworn in as Plainsboro Mayor for the 38 th Time; New West Windsor Mayor Hemante Marathe Takes Seat
On January 2, long-time township committeeman Peter Cantu was sworn in as mayor of Plainsboro for the 38 th time. He’s been serving on Council for 44 years.

One day before, West Windsor Township swore in its first new mayor in 17 years, Hemant Marathe. Marathe was sworn in with his running mates elected in November—newcomer Virginia Manzari and Linda Geevers who is serving her fourth four-year term on Council.

Marathe’s election as mayor left his council seat vacant. Jyotika Bahree, who served the last six months in the council seat left open by the resignation of Peter Mendonez, was chosen to fill Marathe’s seat. Bahree will serve until November, when the remaining time left on the seat (it expires on Dec. 31, 2019) will be up for election. Wang, who was a candidate for mayor in November, has already announced she intends to run for election to the seat.

Hopewell Township to Require Landscaper Registration
Landscapers operating in Hopewell Township are required to registered annually to ensure that they understand the Township’s regulations concerning yard waste. An informational meeting will be held in the Public Works building at 203 Washington Crossing- Pennington Road on February 22, 2018 at 8am. The meetings will provide information about the program and offer an opportunity to register. More information is also available at:   http://www.hopewelltwp.org/447/Landscaper-Registration