HOWELL – The year ahead will feature new faces on the council and school board, as Howell officials take their oaths of office for these and other governing bodies.
A new mayor takes the reins, as well a new councilman, for terms starting this year. Howell will have its first Democrat mayor since 2000, with Dr. Theresa Berger, working alongside an all-Republican council.
Joining the council is Republican Evelyn O’Donnell. Neither incumbent chose to seek re-election, guaranteeing a new face for each of the respective seats in campaigns where development was an issue.
Both races were separated by 200 votes or less. The two were scheduled to take their oaths of office January 3 at the annual reorganization meeting, after presstime.
Howell’s board of education for the elementary, primary and middle school district welcomed two new faces and an incumbent for their full terms: Laurence Gurman, Cristy Mangano and Mark Bonjavanni, respectively.
The township races saw much discussion over development issues, as proposals continue to come before the planning and zoning boards for new businesses and residential development in Howell.
Among the projects proposed are 100 age-restricted units on Route 9 between Estelle Lane and Alexander Avenue in a plan through MGD Holdings.
There’s also Sunnyside at Howell on Verdana Way, where the proposed development calls for one residential apartment building containing 52 units and two commercial buildings to include a 2,010 square foot retail space. The development will also include a 2,010 square foot bank and a 2,552 square foot Tim Horton’s restaurant.
At the end of 2016, the council and administration were working on several projects expected to continue through this year.
One was investigating how to dredge Lake Aldrich and Lake Louise, with the council recently approving a study for those measures.
Another was whether food truck laws needed to be amended. Currently the trucks cannot station themselves in certain areas even with the approval of the landowner and only more mobile trucks such as ice cream vendors are approved for licenses.
Possibly the largest scale project is the sewer expansion of Freewood Acres and portions of the Route 9 corridor. The infrastructure project would provide sewer operations to those two neighborhoods, where there are currently none, in a project expected to take two years to complete.