By now many of you know a Philadelphia developer bought the Hollystone property at 29 Fiddlers Creek Road in Titusville (Hopewell Township) with the intent to convert a single-family residence into a hotel/ restaurant complex they intend to call “The Hopewell” on a quiet, narrow, rural road in our community.
The project is a massive intrusion into this environmentally sensitive area of Hopewell Township and will forever change the area around Fiddlers Creek Road. We need to mount a strong response to this application so our township leaders know we are opposed to this outrageous proposal.
The Proposed Development:
To see the zoning application and understand the scope of this project, click here.
The proposed development includes:
A 27-room hotel, the Hopewell, is described as a “boutique hospitality experience.” The “spirit” of the Hopewell will be to celebrate a trend of getting back to the land…..while invading land that is environmentally fragile. The developer maintains you can enjoy this experience in an “unspoiled landscape” as it proposes to build a massive complex capable of accommodating large crowds and more traffic problems. The “initial launch” (is there more to come?) also includes:
Full service restaurant
Small gift shop
Rooms with kitchenettes to accommodate “longer stays”
Some light additions” will include a swimming pool, sheltered outdoor terraces for dining and “recreation” (like late-night bands and music)
This boutique hospitality experience will also expand the existing parking lot from 27 to 95 paved spaces
The operators, by doing “regional marketing”, promise that Hopewell residents can expect uncontrollable traffic and late-night noise in this rural neighborhood
The Rights of Residents:
The property owner is not entitled to the massive development it is seeking under the zoning laws of our township.
Instead, this developer can use the property for any “legal purpose” that is described in the land use ordinances. The developer appears to be an informed, experienced real estate investor and, as such, it knows it can work within the guidelines of the ordinances to rehabilitate the existing, historic home as a single-family residence and to renovate the existing apartment to increase the income from the property. All of this can be done without the massive expansion it is planning.
On the other hand, if the owner thinks it paid too much for the property and needs this massive expansion to make a greater profit, this is not the problem of the Hopewell community.
In short: We do not want the “boutique hospitality experience” and they are not entitled to it. We should not sacrifice the integrity of our community to bail out a Philadelphia developer.
What steps can we take?
- Since most of us were unaware of this application until this week, concerned residents have come together to start the discussion about how we can respond. We have already had a huge response from the community…..meaning from ALL parts of Hopewell and a resident of Ringoes.
- We are gathering contact information from residents who want to be part of the opposition.
- We have engaged attorneys to represent us at the upcoming meeting. More information will be forthcoming in the next few days on the legal issues.
- There are a lot of comments posted on social media, like FB Hopewell Pennington Issues, Hopewell Pennington Update, etc. and on Next Door. (to date, there is not a single person posting on social media who is in favor of this zoning application).
- We need help from the community and many have offered their time and expertise to join this fight.
Do not let your guard down. This developer has already purchased this property and will try to convince our township leaders that the development is a ‘benefit’ to this community. We need to kill this application at the zoning board level to avoid a long and costly appeal to the courts…..but we are ready, if that become necessary.
From more than 45 years in the commercial real estate business, I know that the scope of the development described in the application, cannot be profitable with 27 rooms. That means the operators will have to draw customers from the general public (not just hotel guests) for the restaurant, gym, coffee bar, swimming pool, etc.
THINK OF HOW THIS WILL PLAY OUT FOR EVERYONE IN THE GENERAL AREA. WE WILL HAVE TRAFFIC, CONGESTION AND NOISE AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY.
You can help:
- Join us by sending your contact information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In the next few days we will be sending information to everyone on the mailing list about our plans for posting on social media, preparing a petition for residents who oppose the development, and other activities.
- It is critical that you participate in the public hearing, scheduled for December 7 at 7pm. The Zoning Board meets by Zoom only. When the date is closer, we will post the link to the meeting and instructions of how to use Zoom.
- A strong showing from the residents is important to let the board and Township Committee know we do not want this project
John & Carol Mastrosimone
52 Fiddlers Creek Road