MCAR Municipal Spotlight: September 2018
 
New Owner of Foxmoor Shopping Center in Robbinsville 
Through an online auction on August 1, Penmark Management Company Inc. purchased the Foxmoor Shopping Center in Robbinsville for $7.5 million. Penmark has agreed to honor all current leases and is already working closely with the township to create plans to redevelop the 126,000 square-foot-plaza that encompasses 19 acres adjacent to the Town Center Development.

In 2016, the Township designated the shopping center an area “in need of redevelopment” which provides the developer and the township flexibility in creating zoning and bring in tenants that are generally not allowed. One such example is a microbrewery that has already expressed interest in the site.

Plans for the renovation of the center include new landscaping and building façade. The Township has also agreed to work with Penmark to request the state Department of Transportation for a right-in right-out lane from the shopping center to Route 33, which would provide easier access to the mall. For more information about plans for the site, visit http://www.robbinsville-twp.org/news_detail_T2_R287.php

Hopewell Borough Seeks Input from Residents on Redevelopment Plan
On September 6, Hopewell Borough Council held a public hearing on the redevelopment plan for the J.C. Van Doren and Sons lumber yard property on Model Avenue. The redevelopment plan, which has been in the works since 2015, would create a Townhouse Residential zone on the 1-acre property and allow for the construction of up to 13 townhouses. Two of the townhouses would be set aside for low- and moderate-income households. No developer has filed an application with the Planning Board to redevelop the site yet. To view the plan in full, visit https://www.hopewellboro-nj.us/redevelopment/

Two Bridges to be Replaced in Hopewell Township
Plans are in the works to replace two bridges in Hopewell Township that are in poor condition, using a $3.2 million state grant that has been awarded to Mercer County by the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

One project calls for replacing two adjacent bridge structures, both of which are owned by Mercer County, on county Route 518 that crosses over Bedens Brook and a tributary to Bedens Brook. Another bridge that is slated to be replaced is the bridge on county Route 546 (Washington Crossing-Pennington Road) that crosses over Woolsey’s Brook. Once the utility relocation work in completed, County Officials will put the project to bid. The hope is for work to begin as early as this winter.
 
Hamilton to Hold Forum on Trenton Water Works on September 13
Hamilton residents will have the opportunity to hear the latest about Trenton Water Works’ ongoing efforts to improve service at a public forum that’s set for 6pm on Thursday, September 13 at the Hamilton Township Senior Center (409 Cypress Lane, Hamilton). At the meeting, officials will be on hand to answer questions and provide detailed information about the company’s planned pipe replacement program and other improvements.
 
Lawrence Reaches Agreement to Purchase Land Along Colonial Lake
Lawrence Township recently announced it has reached an agreement with Sheft Associates, Inc. to purchase approximately 6 acres of land located at 2420 Brunswick Pike, just southwest of Colonial Lake Drive. The move will stop the proposed development of a three-story, extended day hotel that met fierce opposition from many Lawrence residents.

The property will be subdivided to allow for the continued operation of Colonial Bowling & Entertainment. The agreement also includes the township’s right of first refusal to acquire the remaining lot should Sheft Associates, Inc. decide to sell in the future.

The township is using funding from various funds and grants to buy the land, including the Lawrence Township Open Space Fund, the Mercer County Open Space Assistance Program, the New Jersey DEP Green Acres Program, the Lawrence Township Conservation Foundation, Inc., and the citizen’s group known as “Save Colonial Lake.”
 
Robbinsville Mayor Continues Quest for Own Zip Code
This summer Robbinsville Mayor David Fried appeared before Hamilton Township Council asking for its support as Robbinsville continues its quest to secure ‘Robbinsville 08691” as its preferred ZIP code from the United States Postal Service (USPS). A request Hamilton obliged.

Robbinsville is hoping to make “Robbinsville 08691” its primary ZIP code with “Trenton 08691” becoming the secondary choice. No Trenton residents live in 08691. There are, however, a formidable number of residents and businesses in Hamilton that utilize 08691, so for the US Postal Service to consider any type of switch, a letter of support from Hamilton Council was needed. The Township is now awaiting response from the USPS.
 
The Westminster Foundation Holds Forum on Choir College Site in Princeton
On August 29, The Westminster Foundation held its second open discussion on how the community can work together to keep the college in the hands of an entity that understands its mission. Rider University absorbed the choir college in 1991, but announced plans earlier this year to sell it to a Chinese company—Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Corporation—for $40 million. Those opposing the sale of the school say the company is ill equipped, financially and academically, to run the college. At least two lawsuits against Rider, related to the sale, are pending.

Various ideas for the site were explored at the forum, including a proposal in which the town of Princeton would float a bond issue to purchase the school. The Foundation’s goal is to save the college and make sure it is stabilized. In the meantime, Rider and Kaiwen have announced that steady progress has been made towards completing the transaction and planning for the transition of Westminster Choir College.
 
Princeton School Referendum Vote Delayed
The Princeton Public Schools will not have a facilities bond referendum in November as officials had intended because the New Jersey Department of Education is not done reviewing the nearly $130 million package of projects. The Board of Education was supposed to vote on September 4 to place the referendum, split into two questions, on the November 6 ballot, but the state had not finalized its review in time. The earliest the district could now hold the vote is December 11, but a date has yet to be finalized.
 
New Park Opens on John Street in Princeton
In August, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, Freeholder Andrew Koontz, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Recreation Director Ben Stentz and other Princeton officials cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the renovated Mary B. Moss Playground on John Street in Princeton. The park features new playground equipment, a sprinkler “sprayground,” a pavilion with picnic tables and new landscaping. The project was funded in large part by Mercer at Play, a grant program that was introduced by County Executive Hughes in 2006 to encourage new municipal recreational amenities for all ages.

Nina Melker of Hamilton Appointed to Mercer County Freeholder Board
On September 5, the Mercer Democratic Committee appointed community banker Nina Melker of Hamilton as the newest Mercer County freeholder. Melker is serving in the seat vacated by former Mercer County Freeholder Anthony Verelli, who resigned last month to begin serving in the New Jersey General Assembly.
 
Bakers Basin to be Closed for Bridge Repair
In mid-September, the Mercer County DOT will be performing a bridge replacement on Bakers Basin Road at the Shipetauken Creek that will necessitate the full closure of Bakers Basin Road at the bridge location. The closure applies to all vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Local traffic and motorists going to Lawrence Twp. Public Works, local businesses, or the D&R Canal Path will have access up to the closure location on either side, but will not be able to cross over the Shipetauken Creek. The closure will remain in effect for approximately 120 days after the start of the project.