South Brunswick Mayor and Council 1998
1998 VOTERS GUIDE
NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION
Vote Tuesday, November 3, 1998
CANDIDATES FOR SOUTH BRUNSWICK
MAYOR and TOWNSHIP COUNCIL
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).
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 1998 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 South Brunswick Mayor and Township Committee:
1. New Jersey's present system of financing public school budgets through property taxes has forced local municipalities to pursue zoning and land use policies that discourage residential development for families. Is this a sustainable strategy for communities and what alternatives do you feel are available? 2. Like most New Jersey municipalities, South Brunswick faces increasing traffic volume. What major traffic initiatives would you support to relieve East-West and Route 1 congestion to make South Brunswick arteries, roads and local streets safer? Do you support the DOT's preferred strategy for widening and restricting access points along Rt 1 by eliminating signals and grade separating key intersections? 3. South Brunswick was among the first municipalities to create a dedicated open space trust fund from property tax revenues. What factors, in your view, should determine how open space land purchases are prioritized? What immediate land purchases do you believe should be made? Is the current $.02 assessment adequate to fund the township's open space needs?
CANDIDATES FOR SOUTH BRUNSWICK MAYOR
Party: The Democratic Party
Address: 30 Cambridge Rd., Kendall Park, 08824
Education: BA-University of Pennsylvania; JD-UCLA
Significant Community Activities: South Brunswick Affordable Housing; South Brunswick Library Board of Trustees; Concerned Black Parents and Citizens of South Brunswick, Human Relations Committee; Welfare Board; Hightstown-South Brunswick Rotary
1. Land use policies that discourage development are not sustainable. Sooner or later we will run out of possible ways to re-zone to protect ourselves from "over-developers". Communities must develop ways, while we still can, to balance our industrial growth with residential growth. When at last we have re-zoned until we can no longer re-zone, the appropriate balance would have already been created. In addition, laws concerning impact fees should be promulgated by Congress. Impact fees would be paid by developers to cover the impact their activity has on the community. This may encourage developers to not over-build. Regardless, this would help communities be compensated for the stress development often places on a community.
2. In order to make traffic safer, the town needs an in-depth traffic study. I believe we need to establish truck routes, to take trucks off the roads in town that can not support them. We need an signalization assessment. I also believe widening route 1 could be very helpful depending on how it is done. The DOT should look into overpasses, and avoid some of the suggestions they have made that would hurt local businesses as well as developments such as Whispering Woods.
3. When considering an open space purchase a variety of factors should be considered such as, environmental sensitivity, location, accessibility, size/acreage, cost and availability. South Brunswick has an open space advisory commission, I believe their recommendations for our open space purchases should be pursued. They suggest land purchases on culver road, old road and the princeton nurseries property. Right now the $ .02 assessment is enough.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Party: The Republican Party
Address: 41 Taylor Rd., South Brunswick 08540
Occupation: Real Estate Agent, Coldwell Banker, Kendall Park
Education: AA Lee's McRae College, NC
Significant Community Activities: Mayor 1985 and 1988; South Brunswick Planning Board 1985-1990; South Brunswick Township Board of Health; South Brunswick Township Industrial Commission; Fire Commissioner District #3 1980-1982; Kendall Park First Aid Squad; founding member, South Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, president 1998
1. I agree that many towns are in fact trying to down zone in order to limit new home development in order to keep down the amount of new students. As a long term solution this will not work. The proper way is to do a complete Master Plan study, not to spot zone to make changes that will not work in the long run. Also, I'm on the record as stateing that the State of NJ must change the way it assists in funding schools and taking on more of the responsibilities. It can be done and states such as NC do it today. We as citizens and our town officials must force our State Government to look at this problem and must force changes to reduce the never ending increases in our local taxes. They must be made to realize that this problem is going to get worse and we must make changes before we reach a crisis, which is not far off.
2. The DOT must first widen Route 1 in South Brunswick to 6 lanes which will give us equal treatment with those towns north and south of us that have already received such changes. Route 522, when completed in our town, will help. I agree that we should have more limited access to Route 1 which will improve traffic flow but it must be done with local input, which is not something that is usually welcomed from the DOT.
3. We must move forward, which has not been done so far, and actually purchase property. The longer we wait the faster property will disappear for open space use. Without proper study I cannot say which properties should be purchased, but they are out there. The current fund is adequate, and with the permission of the citizens of this town, and could be used to bond so that we could buy now and not wait for property to disappear and the pricing keep going up.
CANDIDATES FOR SOUTH BRUNSWICK
FRANK T. ANTISELL
Party: The Democratic Party
Address: 2 Harper Road, Monmouth Junction 08852
Occupation: Engineer, Bell Atlantic
Education: Widener University, B.S., Civil Engineering, 1989
Licensed Professional Engineer in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware
Significant Community Activities: South Brunswick Township Planning Board; South Brunswick Township Zoning Board of Adjustment; South Brunswick Township County Committeeman; Community Unity Day; Special Olympics; Community Outreach Group - Bridges Program;Community Outreach Group - St. Marks Soup Kitchen; Community Outreach Group - Calico Cat; Mathcounts Competition for seventh & eighth graders; Widener University Mentor Program
1. As a member of the Planning and Zoning Boards this year, I have helped to control residential growth by saying "no" to developments that are not in the townships best interest. We need to keep development in check by reducing the number of design waivers and bulk variances. Improperly planned residential development contributes to overcrowding of our schools and increased traffic congestion on our roads.
The state controls how schools are currently funded and should examine how other states fund schools to see if there is a more viable alternative. I am a supporter of recent legislation sent to the state by the League of Municipalities, which would allow towns to assess developers impact fees.
2. In order to relieve the traffic problems we need to start by conducting an overall traffic analysis and signalization assessment. We can than explore the possibility of establishing a truck route to remove the truck traffic from our residential streets, which were not designed to handle this traffic and do not posses the necessary buffers to safely support truck traffic. Also, we should evaluate the effects that new applications for development will have on our roadways.
I believe that Route 1 needs to be widened to relieve the bottlenecks throughout our town. Currently, motorists see the congestion and venture to find "short cuts" on our residential streets. I have a number of concerns with the current DOT proposals that would eliminate many of the access points, which would make Route 1 more efficient but could make the traffic on some of our east-west roads worse.
3. When reviewing and prioritizing open space land purchases you should consider the following:
- Environmental Sensitivity
- Open Space Advisory Committee Recommendations
- Master Plan for Parks, Recreation and Open Space
The Open Space Advisory Committee has recommended seven sites that would be beneficial purchases and the township should pursue each of these.
The current two-cent assessment is a good start to funding the township's open space needs. Additionally, the township should evaluate the possibility of bonding for open space and using the two-cent assessment as payment on the bonds. This would allow us to protect more of our existing open space now, before it can be developed. We also should continue to work with the county on open space purchases and pursue other funding programs such as Farmland Preservation and Green Acres.
Party: The Democratic Party
Address: 1513 Mahogany Ct., Monmouth Jct., 08852
Occupation: Data processing Coordinator/Union President
Education: New Brunswick High School '59
Significant Community Activities: SBT Zoning Board; sbt Democratic County Committee Vice-Chair; Raritan Valley Workforce Investment Board; American Cancer Society Jail & Bail Committee.
1. A part of the premise of the question, that local municipalities discourage residential development across the board, is not entirely applicable to South Brunswick. We recognize that we must provide housing opportunities for families. However, zoning decisions must be made prudently. In our town, the Democrats have downzoned residential properties to reduce densities and have provided retirement community zoning for our seniors. At the same time, it is worth noting that we Democrats have discouraged haphazard development that contributes to overcrowding of our schools and increased traffic congestion.
I believe that the combination of strategies - including downzoning of residential densities and retirement community zoning - will help South Brunswick cope with the challenge of providing a quality education to our children.
2. Based on my experience with the Zoning Board, it appears that South Brunswick needs to follow its Master Plan closely and continue to upgrade east-west routes. With this in mind, I am concerned about the potential development of an over-dependence on Route 522 to convey heavy truck traffic.
Relative to Route 1, I recognize the urgent need for the DOT to relieve the bottlenecks through our town; however, I am concerned about current DOT proposals that would eliminate many of the interchanges with vital east-west routes. I believe that implementation of the DOT plan would make Route 1 more efficient but might have the concurrent effect of channeling all the east-west flow of traffic through our town to a very few roads.
3. I believe in the current system of prioritizing open space land purchases - by the governing body considering the recommendations of the Open Space Advisory Board. In terms of specific purchases, again I would defer to the Advisory Board - though I would hope that purchases provide for a fair mix of active recreation opportunities and preservation areas.
However, all open space purchases should be pursued with the assent of the property owners. Local government should not condemn property for open space acquisitions. In my opinion, condemnation is seldom appropriate except where public safety is at risk.
JOE DEL GUERCIO
Party: The Republican Party
Address: 1 Lackawanna Ct., Dayton, 08810
Occupation: Financial Representative
Education: BS in Finance 1990 Seton Hall University; CLU 1996 American College; ChFC 1997 American College.
Significant Community Activities: Coach with the SBAA baseball and basketball; sponsor and coach S.B. Soccer Club; chaired fund raising through corporate sponsorships; founding and charter member of the SB Chamber of Commerce; member of the Board of Managers of the SB YMCA; and member of the PTO at SB Upper Elem. And Indian Fields Schools.
1. Financing school budgets through municipal property taxes should be changed. Separate financing of numerous school boards require duplication of many services, programs and functions. This is costly and causes a disparity in tax rates and land use policies between towns. Desire for ratables causes municipalities to pursue zoning practices harmful to neighboring towns. The bigger picture and quality of life are better served through efficient central land planning and financing over a larger tax base. This would be accomplished if a state tax replaced the municipal tax. The state would provide financing only while local school boards would still have control over public education. Growth communities like South Brunswick would see more stability in tax rates by being spread amongst all towns. With economies of scale, rates would be lowered everywhere. Whichever system finances education, I favor local control over the School Board.
2. We need several traffic initiatives to make South Brunswick's roads safer and less congested. N.J. must complete the widening of Route 1 through town. All phases of 522 must be completed. Better signage, especially for cross town truck traffic is needed. We must ensure that new development in Franklin won't use our local streets like Allston, Hastings, Kingsley, and Raleigh Rds. as a cut through to avoid the intersection of Rt. 27 and New Rd. This issue is also a concern near Henderson and Sand Hills Rds. I oppose Rt. 92 and the M.O.M. rail line. Neither project serves South Brunswick, and will further congest our East-West arteries and cause other problems. We should all work for completion of 522 and Rt. 1 and against Rt. 92 and M.O.M.
3. Open space is a critical factor in our quality of life. With limited resources, priorities must be set in selecting properties for acquisition. I favor acquiring residential property. This will prevent the construction of houses with children requiring education funding. If industrial or commercial property were acquired, we'd loose our tax base. Other factors are the property's location, value, and suitability as parkland. I favor immediate acquisition of the Kozachek Farm near Sondek Park on New Rd. The park is in dire need of expansion and additional athletic fields. Since the open space fund has never been used, I'd have to say the 2 cent assessment is presently adequate.
Party: The Democratic Party
Occupation: Retired, ITT Senior Accountant
Education: attended Rutgers University
1. The strategy for communities to pursue zoning and land use policies that discourage residential development for families as a way to finance public education cannot be sustained. There is only one answer and that answer lies with the state assuming financial responsibility through a general school or income tax.
2. East-West traffic in South Brunswick is one of our major problems. But several initiatives are under way. The completion of Route 522, a four lane highway from Route 27 to Route 130 and the New Jersey Turnpike will certainly relieve traffic on our local roads. Establishing a township-wide truck route will also help. The completion of Beekman Road at Route 27 and its realignment will move traffic more quickly. The DOT's plan to widen Route 1 and restrict access points is absolutely necessary if traffic is to move freely in South Brunswick.
3. The purchase of open space should be decided by three factors: location, availability, and price. Since our community is 42 sq. miles in size, we must make sure our open space can be enjoyed by all our residents. The second factor of availability is also important. Is the owner willing to sell? Condemnation should never be used to procure open space. In regard to price - is it reasonable and the property in question worth the spending of taxpayers' money?
Party: The Republican Party
Address: 26 Bedford Road, Kendall Park, 08824
Occupation: Retired chemist; substitute teacher in the South Brunswick School System
Education: BS in Chemistry
Significant Community Activities: Life member in Kendall Park First Aid Squad; past member of SB Chamber of Commerce; member of the Township Committee; coach baseball and basketball in rec. leagues.
1. The strategies used by townships to control the cost of education depend on the growth of that township and the voters' willingness to pay for a good educational system. South Brunswick is still growing. There are houses, yet to be built, which have been given approvals. Because of this, additional residential development is being discouraged by land use policies. Residents like what is left of our open spaces. South Brunswick does not need more housing of any type. The Kendall Park area has enough resales at reasonable prices for families of all ages.
2. Rt. 518 should be extended across Rt. 27 to just south of New Rd. and continue to Rt. 130 (as outlined as Arterial Way in the Master Plan) as a East-West Road besides Rt..522. Route 1 must be widened to 3 lanes in South Brunswick and the Turnpike should lower truck fees instead of building Rt. 92 to reduce traffic and dangers on Rt. 1.
3. The main factors in determining what land be purchased for open space will depend on what it is going to be used for and how it currently zoned. The land near Sundek Park should be bought first. Any additional assessments would depend on what is done with the money currently received.
Party: The Republican Party
Address: 3126 Cypress Court, Monmouth Jct., 08852
Occupation: Trial Attorney
Significant Community Activities: Republican Committeewoman; Whispering Woods Homeowners Association; development of intergenerational activities.
1. The recent budget defeat in South Brunswick exemplified the problem with property tax based funding for schools. Small cuts in the school budget are not the answer. Senior citizens on a fixed income voted against a school budget because the resulting property tax would have caused them a significant hardship. Relief from this situation can only come from the Legislature and Governor. I will work with Republican State Senator, Peter Inverso and the Republican Assembly members, Paul Kramer and Barbara Wright and Republican Governor, Christine Whitman to change the school funding to a broad based tax. I want to see South Brunswick develop as a balanced community where a reasonable number of people will find an excellent education for their children, recreation and the availability of employment. People should not be excluded from South Brunswick for economic reasons. But until there is a change in the school funding mechanism we must adopt a conservative approach to land use.
2. Route 522 should be completed across South Brunswick. Route 1 should be widened to three lanes through South Brunswick.. Route 27 should be widened and Route 130 should also be widen. Northumberland Way should be completed. I do not support the DOT's strategy of restricting access points along Route 1. Route 1 is the main non-toll north-south road in the State. We must allow each development along Route 1 to have the best access to Fire, First Aid, and police protection. We need to update the roads master plan. Many of the roads or portions of them are to be built by developers. We need to determine what is going to be built and when.
3. We should acquire and protect the most environmentally sensitive areas first. We should then acquire the areas that are next to existing parks or recreation areas. Residentially zoned areas should be acquired before commercially or industrially zoned areas. Specifically the Oxy/Manowitz tract and the Kozacek tract adjacent to Sondek Park should be acquired now.
I would in the appropriate circumstance support condemnation as a method of acquiring open space.
The current $.02 assessment should be sufficient to generate a large enough fund to acquire a significant amount of land, if wisely spent. This is the maximum tax rate allowed by law.
SYLVIA M. LEE
Age: 52 years
Address: 48 Kingsland Circle, Monmouth Jct., 08852
Occupation: School Nurse
Education: 1967 Diploma Nursing Graduate, Frankford Hospital School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pa.; Bachelor of Science Degree Stockton State College, Pamona, NJ; Health Care Administration. School Nurse Certification, Jersey City State College, Jersey City NJ.
Significant Community Activities: President of the Middlesex County 4-H Leaders Association; founding member of South Brunswick's Mayor's Task Force on Substance Abuse; member of South Brunswick Mini Master Plan Subcommittee in 1993; member of South Brunswick's Citizen's Budgetary Task Force; member of the Citizen's Task Force on the South Brunswick/Jamesburg Shared Police Services; chaired South Brunswick's Citizen's Building Advisory Task Force; 1997 Elected as a Charter Study Commissioner; founding member of a grassroots organization called Common Sense in South Brunswick; member of South Brunswick Civilian Police Inspection Team; founding member of Citizen's Advisory Panel to local chemical companies in the South Brunswick area; community member on a panel sponsored by EPA for Worst Case Scenario Planning; President of my Homeowners Association; alternate member of South Brunswick Zoning Board of Adjustment.
1. Let me assure you that South Brunswick has not pursued zoning and land use policies discouraging residential development for families. We're proud of our diverse socio-economic community and the fact that we are and have been COAH certified for a number of years. We have made a strong commitment to families that currently live here and those who will live here. We recognize that raising healthy, well-educated children is an investment in our future. However, I believe that responsible future growth in South Brunswick should include: sharply curtailing high-density residential growth; eliminating zero lot line approvals; open space acquisition; promoting age restricted housing; a reasoned mix of commercial and industrial zoning.
As a councilwoman, I intend to introduce ordinances that will define South Brunswick by preserving it.
2. Traffic congestion in South Brunswick has been and will continue to be a vexing problem. Some remedies though are abundantly clear:
Expeditiously widening Route 1 will facilitate the safe and continuous flow of traffic through our municipality. The two lane bottleneck of Route 1 through South Brunswick is unacceptable and I add my voice to the chorus calling for speedier action.
Eliminating traffic signals is not the answer for the Route 1 corridor in South Brunswick. Until or unless overpasses are built - and some have been foolishly negotiated away - the harm to merchants and the inconvenience to residents is too high a price to pay to warrant their removal.
East-West traffic congestion needs to be addressed not by constructing Route 92 but by speeding up the completion of the two remaining segments of Route 522, and by widening Dey Road. In this regard I have some innovative ideas on noise-abatement in sensitive areas.
3. South Brunswick's charm and appeal are unique; that's why preservation is so important. We need to identify and preserve parcels of land that qualify as:
farmland preservation tracts.
parkland open space tracts.
historic preservation sites.
linear park sites
rural dedication sites.
Thankfully, voters in South Brunswick have shown their commitment to open space preservation by funding an acquisition trust. While this $.02 assessment is adequate for our needs, I only wish we had acted earlier to take this important step. In prioritizing purchases, I feel the Open Space Acquisition Task Force has done outstanding work and I defer to their recommendations.
EDMUND A. LUCIANO, JR.
Party: The Democratic Party
Address: 9 Jay Court, Kendall Park, 08824
Occupation: General Manager
Education: Bachelor of Arts: Biology
Significant Community Activities: 1997-98, Municipal Alliance; 1995-98, Teen Alliance; 3rd Degree; 1998 Mayor; 1997, Deputy Mayor; 1997-98 Planning Board; 1991 Zoning Board of Adjustment; 1997, Board of Health; 1997-98 Citizens Budget Advisory task Force; 1996, 1998, Industrial Commission; 1998 Mayor's Citizens Advisory Task Force For Kingston; 1997, Sr. Advisory Committee; 1997, Shade Tree Commission
1. I do not believe that New Jersey's present system of financing public school budgets through property taxes is a sustainable strategy for communities. A more equitable method is to finance the public schools through the state income tax. This would eliminate the municipalities dependency to raise public school financing thorough the local tax base; thereby, eliminating land use development strategies that are based upon revenue generation and not the best land use. Using the income tax as the funding vehicle will keep local taxes affordable to New Jersey residents.
2. I do not support the building of Route 92 as currently aligned through South Brunswick Township.
The completion of Route 522 will assist in the relief of East-West traffic in our Township but not without potential residual affects to those living in the Princeton Walk/Gate community areas.
Local roads west of route 1 will not accommodate future increases in traffic because they traverse existing communities and for the most part are single lanes. The new Beekman Road will allow for more expedient travel west of Route 1 to Route 27, but without a signalized intersection at Route 27, a delay in continued travel will occur.
Wherever possible, signalized intersections should be upgraded to allow for a left turn lane i.e. five corners in Dayton, Sand Hill Road and Route 27, New Road and Route 27, and Henderson Road and Route 27. Finnegans Lane should be a designated truck route between Routes 27 and 1.
Until more information is available regarding the DOT's preferred strategy for widening and restricting access points along Route 1 through South Brunswick, I will defer my opposition or support. Presently, the information available was inconclusive and did not properly consider characteristics of our Township.
3. I believe need and land availability should determine how open space land purchases are prioritized.
I will not comment upon actual sites to avoid affecting selling price, zoning, and the status of developmental approvals. Site selection should be determine by access, topography, wet land delineations, type of recreation (passive and active), and need. I would like to see parkland/open space areas for the east side of our Township in the near future.
The current $.02 assessment is adequate to fund the township's open space needs. Most likely open space will be acquired by using bonds. In doing so, the Township is required to fund 5% of the acquisition costs. The balance will be made available through bonding.
EDWARD VAN HESSEN
Party: The Republican Party
Address: 207 Fresh Ponds Road, Jamesburg, 08831
Education: Univ. MD Baltimore County 1977-1981; Loyola College 1977
Significant Community Activities: Member, Township Committee - 1994 to present; Mayor, 1996; Deputy Mayor, 1995; member, South Brunswick YMCA, Board of Directors; co-chair, "Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945" Exhibit; past president and board member, South Brunswick Education Foundation; past board member, Dayton Square Condominium Association V; member of the Board of Health, Recreation/Community Affairs Advisory Board, Senior Advisory Committee, Environmental Commission and Municipal Alliance Task Force; member of the Planning Board, Board of Health, Environmental Commission, Shared Services Task Force, Recreation/Community Affairs Advisory Board, Municipal Alliance Task Force, CATV Commission, Transportation Advisory Committee, Shade Tree Commission, Affordable Housing Authority, Human Relations Commission, Budget Advisory Task Force and Open Space Advisory Committee.
1. The choices we face are limited. With respect to school funding, our choices are limited to local funding through property taxes or state funding through a broad based tax. Zoning choices are effectively limited to commercial, industrial, office or residential. I do not believe the funding mechanism is the problem. Rather, the problem is that all of us in New Jersey are being choked by redundancy. There are more than 1000 school districts and municipalities - each maintaining a costly bureaucracy. As for our zoning alternatives, each of the options are necessary for "community." They provide the places for us to live, work, and shop.
2. Setting aside rush-hour traffic volumes (something which no one on the planet is able to eliminate), the core of our problems stem from poor traffic management and a lack of efficient ingress and egress to the major north-south arteries in South Brunswick. Take a look in either direction on Route 1. The areas which are relatively free of traffic lights are traveled far more easily than those which are choked by traffic lights and at-grade intersections. I have long supported the widening of Route 1 through South Brunswick - even when the DOT believed a "magic rainbow" traversed our community. When traffic moves on Route 1, the bottlenecks at the ingress and egress points are dramatically reduced. The net effects are improved air quality, less noise pollution and improved traffic flows on our east-west roadways.
3. I am extremely proud of the fact that South Brunswick has implemented a dedicated Open Space Trust Fund. Placing that question on the ballot in 1996 was one of the major goals of my administration as Mayor. The factors which should determine how Open Space are prioritized are: the utility of the property for the residents of this community, the proximity to existing recreation or Open Space, and development pressures. My preference is to focus on the acquisition of land which is currently zoned residential and which is proximate to other township parks.
South Brunswick has adopted a two cent tax, the highest allowed under current state law and deposits approximately $600,000 into the Fund each year. Considering the bonding power of the community, this affords us the ability to purchase some 300-400 acres each year. It's just a disgrace that no Open Space has been purchased in the two years since the Fund was established.