Besides low taxes, there's another reason you choose to live here in Bedminster. Whether you can trace your roots here back to the American Revolution or just recently arrived, you probably love living in Bedminster because of its rural heritage and open spaces. Regardless of where you live in Bedminster, you can step outside your door and within a few minutes be in the bucolic countryside. It's what makes Bedminster unique, but also something we constantly need to fight to preserve.
The challenge of course is maintaining low taxes without bowing to overdevelopment. Remember, the local tax burden is shared by residents and businesses alike. A healthy local economy helps ease the load shouldered by our residents.
State imposed affordable housing mandates make this a challenge, and the threat of overdevelopment is constantly present. In the case of the latter, I have very publicly taken stands against developers looking to circumvent our zoning. Not only was I a constant presence at Land Use Board hearings prior to serving on the Township Committee, my feelings on this topic are well documented. You can read more about that here.
Satisfying our affordable housing obligations is a challenge faced not just by Bedminster, but by every town across New Jersey. You've probably seen new housing developments springing up everywhere in response to the latest state requirements. Done well, they can be a positive addition to a community, as the Hills was in the 1980's. Done poorly, they become part of the sprawl that detracts from the aesthetics and character of a town.
We have worked hard to maintain the look and feel of our small town while honoring our affordable housing commitments. You can read more about the details here.
Another challenge we face is the status of our largest commercial ratable, AT&T. The AT&T campus encompasses over 190 acres, and AT&T has recently announced plans to vacant this site for a smaller location (fortunately, in town). While eager developers would love nothing more than to build more housing or warehouses at this location, that is NOT what will happen. Instead, over the past several years, the governing body, the Bedminster Land Use Board and the Somerset County Planning Organization have worked closely together to revision the property as a more viable location for emerging companies and business sectors. As a result, the site was rezoned in 2022 to expand potential uses beyond office space in order to accommodate research, development and laboratory applications, as well as ancillary amenities (e.g., a conference center, similar to the Verizon campus in Basking Ridge). We are hopeful these changes will attract life sciences and high tech users to the location, and are working with the owner (MetLife) to make that vision a reality. You can read more about it here.
My belief is that any new development needs to be appropriately sized and scaled to our community. While times are (always) changing, we can grow with the times without sacrificing our heritage or the health of our local economy.