06 August 2008

Sleep Well, Hillsborough

When people describe Hillsborough as a bedroom community, they're not kidding. According to the statistics provided in Somerset County's Hazard Mitigation Plan, Hillsborough has over 10,000 residential buildings with a replacement value of $3.7 billion. This puts us just behind Franklin Township (14,000 - $5 billion) and Bridgewater (13,500 - $4.9 billion).

This makes sense considering Hillsborough is the third most populous municipality in the county.

Where things begin to get skewed is in the value of our commercial and industrial building stock. Franklin has a combined commercial/industrial building value of $2 billion, Bridgewater, $1.5 billion, Hillsborough, $102 million. That's million, with an "m".

Our other close neighbors also have a greater commercial/industrial presence than Hillsborough. The replacement value of Branchburg's commercial and industrial buildings is $650 million, and Montgomery's is $350 million. In fact, of Somerset County's 21 municipalities, only South Bound Brook, Rocky Hill, and Far Hills have lesser building stock values than Hillsborough.

Here's a better way to see it. The first map represents commercial building stock in $million per square mile. The second map represents industrial building stock in $million square mile.

Somerset County NJ commercial building values

Somerset County NJ industrial building values

You don't need to be a geography genius to find Hillsborough on these two maps!

Three things occur to me while looking at these maps and the related data. Firstly, the lack of commercial and industrial buildings is clearly what gives Hillsborough its character. Anyone who wants to know what distinguishes Hillsborough from Bridgewater, Franklin, Montgomery, and Branchburg need only glance at these two maps.

Secondly, there is no "period of rapid development" long enough to ever allow us to catch up with these other towns.

And lastly, when the lights go out in our 30,000 bedrooms tonight, we'll sleep well.

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