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Montgomery Township Committee 1999

1999 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 2, 1999

CANDIDATES FOR MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provide nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Words in excess of the limit are deleted and indicated by a bullet (O). Incumbents are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 1999 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following three questions to all candidates for Montgomery Township Committee:

1.What is your position on the Hillsborough Bypass? How can the Township Council work with the D.O.T. to avoid increased traffic through Montgomery?

2. The Montgomery Township Board of Education has a lease-purchase agreement with the state for a portion of the North Princeton Developmental Center. What would you do to facilitate the acquisition of the entire North Princeton Developmental Center property? After the property is acquired from the state, what will you propose Montgomery Township do with it?

3. How can Montgomery balance continuing growth with preservation of open space?

CANDIDATES FOR MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE

Vote for OneTerm: 3 yearsSalary: $3,000 

JIM IRISH
Party: Democratic
Age: 48
Address: 31 Montgomery Road, Skillman, NJ 08558

Education: Graduated Albion College 1973 with a bachelor's degree in history

Occupation: Owner/operator, James Irish Tree Experts

Community Activities: Montgomery Township Open Space Committee, 1994 - present; Emergency Medical Technician running member Montgomery Emergency Medical Service (EMS), 6 years; Coach, Montgomery Baseball League (youth baseball); Coach, Nassau Hockey League (youth ice hockey); Orchard Hill Elementary School annual Arbor Day volunteer; Community Organizer, Ingersoll-Rand property acquisition and preservation effort, mid-1990s; Member, Delaware and Raritan Greenway Association; Member, Friends of Mary Jacobs Library; Member, 1860 House; Member, Van Harlingen Historical Society

Answers: 1. I am very concerned about the Hillsborough bypass. It would split neighborhoods in two, and it has the potential to split the township, as well. I'm also extremely concerned about the impact on traffic. The bypass could increase dramatically the number of vehicles pouring into Montgomery, where traffic has become a serious problem in recent years. The bypass and resulting traffic would intensify the pressure to widen Rt. 206 through Montgomery. Working with regional neighbors such as Princeton, I would do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.

2. The NPDC property is a treasure. In the years since NPDC closed, timetables for various tests and reports haven't been met; citizens haven't been adequately informed of progress and haven't had opportunities for input. Township leaders describe ambitious development scenarios while historic buildings deteriorate beyond repair.

It is absolutely critical that Montgomery control how NPDC is developed. The Town Center concept is good, but we must be careful about traffic impacts and we must preserve the natural beauty of the property. There should be more citizen involvement in the planning for redevelopment of this facility and better communication with residents about those plans.

3. The pace of development in Montgomery is unacceptably fast. We need to take a harder line with developers and end practices and policies that encourage sprawl. I am not opposed to all development; we need a tax base that includes clean commercial ratables. But development must occur in the context of a vision and long-range plan for effective and responsible land use, and only where it can be supported by existing roads, water, and other infrastructure.

Open space preservation must be a top priority. For the past two years, the pace has been too slow. Montgomery is losing opportunities for open space as developers seize them.

 

MARY LETARD*
Party: Republican
Age: 51
Street Address: 12 Meadow Run Drive, Skillman, NJ 08558

Education: Graduate of Bliss College, Columbus, OH

Occupation: Mayor Montgomery Township; Full Time Grandmother

Community Activities: Montgomery Township Committee 1997-99, Mayor 1999; Sewer Operating Committee, Chair 1999; Open Space 1998-99; Board of Adjustment Liaison 1998; Shade Tree 1997-8; Police Advisory, 1997; Montgomery/Rocky Hill Municipal Alliance 1995-99; Montgomery Township Affordable Housing Committee 1992-5; Montgomery Woman's Club GFWC (Past President); Montgomery Cultural Center (1860 House); Carrier Foundation Auxiliary; Montgomery First Aid Squad Auxiliary; Van Harlingen Historical Society; Somerset County Republican Executive Committee

Answers:
1. The Hillsborough Bypass is a solution to a problem in Hillsborough that Hillsborough is working with the DOT to solve. Impact on Montgomery by this improvement involves the re-routing of Route 206 between Belle-Mead Griggstown and Township Line Roads through the Pike Run Development. That re-routing has been included in Montgomery's planning for many years and is a necessary element of the Pike Run Traffic Circulation plan. I oppose any expansion of Route 206 south of this intersection. Traffic will increase on Route 206 no matter what. The state's initiative limiting the routing of interstate truck traffic to the National Road Network has my support.

2. Montgomery is working with the state to plan for the redevelopment of the North Princeton Developmental Center Property. Both Montgomery and the state anticipate that this redevelopment will be done by a partnership of the township, state and one or more private developers to produce an end product which will have low traffic impact, generate tax revenue, and have a minimum amount of new housing. This should eliminate the need to purchase the entire property and reduce township expenditures to those required to use part of the site for some township services such as schools, municipal offices, libraries, community center, etc.

3. Montgomery has carefully directed the purchase of properties and development rights so as to avoid high concentrations of development particularly in the remaining undeveloped portions of the town. This means that we will continue to target properties between proposed developments that have high value environmental and historic features and which would otherwise be developed. To expedite this the Township Committee has authorized the hiring of an assistant township planner to spearhead the acquisition of open space.

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