Hopatcong Lake Regional News reader Michele Guttenberger has submitted the folowing article as "Your Opinion" on our site. As a courtesy to our site members, we always support your ability to voice your opinion.
On August 8th, 2014 Hopatcong’s Borough Mayor Sylvia Petillo made a commencement speech for the groundbreaking of the first Greentree Development site. She told attendees this redevelopment plan took five years in the making. She stated that this was one of the many sites to be developed by Greentree. She hailed that these construction sites would bring jobs and businesses to Hopatcong which had a limited development area because of the Highlands Act. She assured us that the redevelopment would be done properly.
Being done properly would mean formal public hearings for the residents of Hopatcong Borough to voice their descent or approval of these redevelopment plans. Oddly, you will have a hard time finding records that a public hearing was given to this first redevelopment site.
Today, Greentree’s construction work is underway for its 3rd phase, and it seems the Land Use Board and the Hopatcong’s Council members have been conducting various open to the public sessions on Hopatcong Borough’s redevelopment plans which they claim have not been finalized.
Why is the Council in denial that Hopatcong has already had formal approvals between the Land Use Board and Governing Council on Greentree’s site plans for Hopatcong’s official Redevelopment project?
Are residential townhouses the commercial development the people of Hopatcong anticipated as the construction that would bring jobs and businesses to Hopatcong? And where are the environmental studies on the impact of new densely populated residential units near the lake shore would have overall to Lake Hopatcong’s sustainability of healthy water levels? Also, could we meet the needs of city’s water supply for consumption by these full-time multi-bedroom residential units? How would these multi-bedroom housing units adversely effect the drawdown on our underground water reserves and underground water streams that feed into Lake Hopatcong or other private wells. Unlike the east shore of Lake Hopatcong, the west shore historically never had dense hotel units on it shores drawing on its well stream water resources. Nary a discussion can be found with the Land Use Board and other concerned authorities.
It does not appear that the Land Use Board had ongoing discussions with the Hopatcong Environmental Commission on these water issues for the new use of these properties that were now non-commercial development in Hopatcong on sites that once were commercial development areas. Hopatcong would now be losing property that had commercial potential for residential housing. How exactly would Town Houses instead of commercial structures such as marinas, restaurants, or market shops be a choice structure that would (as promised) promote jobs and businesses to Hopatcong? What input decided that Townhouses were the best permanent future use of our limited commercial town center area?
The answer to whom and what decided on the approvals of Greentree’s blueprint plans can be traced to the deeds of Greentree’s first development site Block 30707 Lot 3. It appears that Land Use Board members who were also in the excavating and construction businesses were the deeded Grantors of the Greentree redevelopment project sites. So, the discussions of what would be built on these new development sites were greatly influenced by a developer who sat both on the land use board and the governing council during the five year period that Mayor Petillo mentioned during this well-publicized groundbreaking redevelopment ceremony.
Sadly, the Land Use Planning sessions that have raised so much anxiety by many folks who live in the designated area that were most affected by these “redevelopment” plans. These were the folks that were served the greatest injustice against them because, they believed that they would be considered with special regard on these “redevelopment” plans to the Hopatcong Borough’s Governing Council. But it was really all for naught, since the ink on the blueprints of Hopatcong Redevelopment plans were already dry and underway.
Knowing them by their deeds already tells us the plans the Land Use Board and approving Governing Council have put in place without pre-public acceptance or say. These exercises of redevelopment grant application plans were only a subterfuge to make us believe that we had a choice on the outcome of the future development of Hopatcong. The names on these deeds to these redevelopment construction sites clearly tells us a different collusive story.
You can watch the video of their broken promises right here.