Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Hillsborough Sampler 2011

Friday evening was the first Hillsborough Sampler and it was good! Plus we learned about some Hillsborough restaurants and food specialty businesses that we hadn't found previously:

Not only were the samples great, it was nice to meet the people behind the businesses. We had a chance to try pizza and Mexican food and Indian. There were samples of a fabulous chocolate cake and a personal chef and a nutritionist in attendance.

Congratulations to Michael Zheng, the intern who has been working in Hillsborough's Business Advocate's office, and planned this event.

Just two minor comments:

The Sampler was free, which was nice, but most people attending would have been happy to donate a few dollars to the Hillsborough Food Bank or a can of food.

We arrived relatively early and found some of the restaurants were already out of food and making runs back to their businesses to stock up. Several of the vendors apologized for the delay, explaining that the high school sports teams had been getting out of practice and had made a stop by to "sample" the goodies.
Photographs courtesy of Susan Gulliford.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sonic: Over and Over I Keep Going Over...

Sonic's proposal for a restaurant at the corner of Route 206 and Oxford Place may or may not have become yet more problematic for the applicant as his attorney and engineer revealed, at the end of last night's almost three-hour-long planning board meeting, that their site contains wetlands.

Ron Gasiorowski, the attorney for the neighbors objecting to the Sonic proposal, opened the meeting by announcing that his clients had joined together as Save Our Neighborhood, Inc. Approximately 50 residents attended the hearing.

P. David Zimmerman, the neighbor's planning expert, then testified regarding the design of the building, the variances, the signage, the impervious coverage, setbacks, and the visual environment of the proposed building compared to the surrounding area. He testified that he felt there was "too much on too little property."

Five residents of the community then testified that they were concerned about traffic, garbage pickup, power washing, trucks, parking, lighting, noise from Sonic customers, overbuilding for the lot size, and the general impact on the quality of life in the area.

Following the public comments, Sonic's attorney Donald Whitelaw addressed the board about a clarification on their site plan that would require an amendment. According to their engineer Brett Skapinetz the NJDEP had just advised them that there were wetlands at the rear of the property about 20-feet off the rear lot line requiring changes in the site plan particularly in the stormwater management.

Attorney Gasiorowki objected to this testimony so late in the meeting and demanded that the planning board vote on the plan as presented. Sonic's attorney stated that they were merely "advising the board of a change of conditions."

Several members of the audience complained loudly about the last-minute information, asking for an immediate vote.

At the request of the board's attorney, the hearing recessed for a few minutes in order to allow the attorney to speak privately with the engineers and planners.

When the meeting reconvened, the application was carried to the March 10th Hillsborough Township Planning Board meeting at which time Sonic must submit its new site plan.

Enjoy Frank Sinatra while you read...It just seemed appropriate. For you youngsters who don't know the lyrics, go here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

RVSB Children's Concert 2011

Tomorrow is an annual event that many local families look forward to all year: the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band Children's Concert.

This year's theme is Pajama Jam featuring music about children's stories and fairy tales, including Toyland, The Teddy Bear's Picnic, and some Disney themes.

Although anyone can enjoy the afternoon's event, from the youngest kids to grandparents, every detail of this fun concert is child friendly: the band members wear brightly colored shirts, the music is sprightly and pieces are often familiar to the audience, they have audience participation, the concert is relatively short, and, following the concert, the children have a chance to meet the musicians and see and touch the instruments.

The concert is held Sunday, February 6th at 3:00 p.m. at Bridgewater-Raritan High School,600 Garretson Road, Bridgewater.

For more information about the concert and Raritan Valley Symphonic Band, go here.