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New Hope again tables action promoting structural conformity


New Hope Borough Council members had hoped to adopt a new ordinance amendment in February.

While the amendment would be new to borough zoning laws, township residents and businesses are well-acquainted with the proposed ordinance.

It aims to limit changes that developers and homeowners can make to buildings in the borough’s two newly defined residential districts (RB1 and RB2).

Council members first brought the ordinance to a vote in March 2022. The county and borough planning commissions hope it will reduce the number of houses that don’t conform with the character of the borough by limiting changes in the setback, height and footprint of all buildings to within 15 feet of the average of surrounding structures.

Residents on both sides of the issue filled the 2022 meeting to voice their opinions, with council members eventually tabling the amendment.

Councilman Dan Dougherty said the 2023 amendment was modified in the interim and he’s “happy they took time to make it better.” But when opened to public comment, one resident objected to the new amendment because it wouldn’t “help general safety and isn’t related to the character of the neighborhood.” He also cited concerns that it would limit his business from expanding.

A builder working within the borough said he couldn’t easily understand the ordinance’s language, which adds a complex layer for builders. Another builder said he “can’t make heads or tails of it,” echoing the concerns of other earlier speakers. The council tabled the motion again after discussion.

In other news from the Feb. 21 meeting, council members approved a resolution against the Devil’s Tea Table Rockfall Mitigation Project. Members of the Devil’s Tea Table Alliance attended the meeting, thanking the council for its support in stopping NJDOT’s project.

Members of the alliance say NJDOT hasn’t followed standard procedure for public involvement or research. They estimate wide-ranging ecological, aesthetic and safety-related impacts. According to alliance members, every township in Bucks and Hunterdon counties directly affected by the project has now passed resolutions of opposition or concern.

The borough approved the advertisement of its 2023 road program. According to council members, the program will see minor repairs to areas of West Ferry Street and West Mechanic Street, among others.

Council members also approved the advertisement of two new ordinance amendments involving formula restaurants and retail stores, which currently aren’t permitted to be built within the borough.

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