'Peaceful Protest' Planned Over Union Hotel Plan

bd874c557819386b4017_6c370c5353dd06238722_P8010016.JPG
This sign is posted on the property next to the Large House, which is currently under restoration by the county Chamber of Commerce. Credits: Curtis Leeds
ab0429e6d655b66652b4_ea6279e8e51ea842e8b0_P8010015.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
6259e612e7768deef155_a4ad0c91258fecd40f9d_P8010017.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
0de38c2b4858753d6230_7c0315098d830582b12b_P8010020.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
7d6c1d015c22d25e7a31_e5278e9424be0645cf85_P8010022.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
3f5a1fbc2623493d94cc_0bbd5a4dfb9e7a7061b1_P8010023.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
546a86181bbaad561255_47bcb64b83192eafa1fc_P8010024.JPG
The county's Historial Society has a sign posted near its Main Street entrance. Credits: Curtis Leeds
c71ffd0624ecf676382f_a224d7de47353265a414_P8010025.JPG
Credits: Curtis Leeds
bd874c557819386b4017_6c370c5353dd06238722_P8010016.JPG

FLEMINGTON, NJ – They are popping up on lawns and gardens throughout the borough.

On the main roads and the side streets, in front of homes and businesses, the eye-catching red signs proclaim, “STOP Demolition of Historic Main St.”

The signs are part of an effort being waged by Friends of Historic Flemington, a group organized to encourage “adaptive reuse” of the buildings that may be razed as part of Jack Cust’s Stagecoach at Flemington concept.

Sign Up for E-News

The group plans a rally that will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the steps of the old Historic Courthouse on Main Street.

After the rally, “A guided walking tour will convey the history and architectural significance of the buildings that are slated for demolition,” according to a press release from the group. “Speakers will explain the economic and cultural benefits that adaptive reuse of old buildings brings to the community.”

The group and its supporters have been especially visible at recent Borough Council meetings, where officials face questioning about the future of the Union Hotel and its surrounding properties. In particular, they’ve asked Borough Council to share with the public Cust’s plans.

The plans initially called for a two- or four-year college that could be affiliated with Raritan Valley Community College or with Rutgers; a new, 100-room hotel; retail; restaurants; and 230 to 250 “high-quality residential units” that would be built above the restaurants.

Cust first publically revealed his vision for the hotel and its surrounding properties on Feb. 22 at what Mayor Phil Greiner called the most-attended Borough Council meeting in history. Since then, Cust and his team have worked with the borough’s Hotel Area Redevelopment Committee to revise the plans to address some of the concerns expressed by objectors.

Those changes are substantial, according to the mayor and others on the committee who have seen them. But because Cust has yet to file a formal development application with the borough, the borough doesn’t have a copy of the proposal and it isn’t considered public.

Objectors have pleaded with Borough Council to include others on the Hotel Area Redevelopment Committee who may have experience or a particular interest in historic properties. In response, at its July 25 meeting, council added borough Historic Preservation Commission chair Elaine Gorman, and the Planning Board chairman and vice-chair -- Todd Cook and Susan Englehardt -- to the committee.

At the meeting, Greiner promised that the revisions will be released to the public in advance of an application to the Planning Board. And while he said that the hotel facade has been redesigned from the original proposal, he cited the hotel and Main Street’s 20-year decline as a reason for action.

“How long do we continue doing this before we consider a change in direction?” he asked. The process is “not a secret,” Greiner added. “It’s the way it works.”

While Greiner and other borough officials have so far avoided actually endorsing the plan, others have not been reluctant. They include county Freeholders John Lanza, John King and Rob Walton. While they each cite various reasons for supporting the plan, they especially point to its consistency with the county’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which is the county’s blueprint for Hunterdon's economic future.

The Cust plan seems to dovetail with several key elements of CEDS, including its support for walkable, mixed use development.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Flemington/Raritan

Two Key Questions on Union Hotel Finances

May 21, 2018

To the editor:

I thought TAPinto readers might be interested in knowing a little about the agreement between the Flemington tax payers, as entered into by their government, and the appointed redeveloper of the central area of Flemington, including the Union Hotel.

The full analysis can be read on my website and the full agreement is on the borough’s website.

I reflect below on two ...

The Psychology Behind My Vote for Peter Jacob

To the editor:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs. Maslow stated that our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up is what motivates us, and so on.

"It is quite true that man lives by bread alone ...

Peter Jacob, Clear Choice for CD7

To the editor,

In the fall of 2016, I was driving down Main Street in Flanders. As I always do before an election, I was conferring with my sister about the available choices for voting on my way to the polls. The last thing I said before I hung up, “You are going to want to make sure you check out Peter Jacob.” He is a 30 year old social worker who works with the ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Two Key Questions on Union Hotel Finances

May 21, 2018

To the editor:

I thought TAPinto readers might be interested in knowing a little about the agreement between the Flemington tax payers, as entered into by their government, and the appointed redeveloper of the central area of Flemington, including the Union Hotel.

The full analysis can be read on my website and the full agreement is on the borough’s website.

I reflect below on two ...

Crusades Barbers Grand Opening

May 10, 2018

Crusades Barbers Grand Opening Saturday, May 12,  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

149 Route 31 Flemington, next to the Flemington Department Store

Discounts on haircuts / food catered by King Tut restaurant in Lebanon / grilling by next door neighbor Rogers Appliances / part of Crusades’ proceeds donated to the Safe Harbor Child Access Center / domestic violence, Flemington

Plus ...