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Citizen Group Drops Opposition to AvalonBay Plan

medical centerA group of residents has dropped its opposition to developer AvalonBay’s revised plans for the downtown Princeton hospital site.

 

Leaders of the group Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods (PCSN) said they could no longer continue to carry on the fight because of mounting legal costs. The group issued a statement on the issue.

“First and foremost PCSN thanks its many community-wide supporters over a 17-month period—including dozens of speeches at the planning board and many letters to editors,” the group said. “PCSN’s decision to withdraw as objectors before the planning board was not easy. The trustees could no longer justify our mounting legal and professional fees. The trustees continue to carry a significant legal financial responsibility for full payment of debts. Presenting a case at the planning board meeting on July 18th would have involved yet further, sizable attorney and expert fees.”

Leaders of the group say it has achieved several accomplishments, includingsecuring AvalonBay’s commitment to provide 13 percent “very low income” units that will house families in seven units of the 56 affordable units proposed for the site if AvalonBay’s revised is approved by the planning board.

“PCSN supporters should be equally proud that PCSN has secured AvalonBay’s commitment to donate $70,000 to the Princeton Arts Council – funds that will be dedicated to the acquisition and placement of public art throughout the AvalonBay development if  AvalonBay’s Plan B  is approved by the Planning Board,” the group’s statement reads. “We acknowledge that some may be disappointed by our decision.”

The Princeton Planning Board is slated to hold what is expected to be the last hearing on the plans tomorrow night, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. The revised plans for the 280-unit apartment complex include five separate buildings ranging from two to five stories. of one large building, Three townhouse buildings would line Franklin Street. An alley behind the townhouses would provide access to the townhouse garages. Affordable housing units would be located throughout the two largest buildings.  A public road will run through the property, connecting Franklin Street and Henry Avenue. A public park at the corner of Witherspoon and Franklin is larger than the previous plan.

The development would be Energy Star certified and comply with silver level LEED standards.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • SFB

    Yeah, I think you’ve put your finger on it. After months of saying how awful AvalonBay are, it looks like PCSN have struck a deal with them. PCSN’s silence appears to be the result of a secretive backroom deal. What were the terms of that deal? Did money change hands? Should citizens groups be striking deals with developers? I’d prefer everything was kept above board, out in the open, in front of the public.

  • Gee

    Please reread :

    “PCSN’s decision to withdraw as objectors before the planning board was not easy. The trustees could no longer justify our mounting legal and professional fees. The trustees continue to carry a significant legal
    financial responsibility for full payment of debts. Presenting a case at
    the planning board meeting on July 18th would have involved yet
    further, sizable attorney and expert fees.”

    This indicates they dropped their status as objectors before the planning board , not that they dropped their opposition. The specifically stated they cant justify the costs of opposition, probably because the costs were actual, and the probability of getting anything for the costs, other than pissing off Avalon more, was near zero.

    This response of yours “You are mistaken. PCSN have deleted their Facebook page. A Facebook page does not cost any money to maintain. ” is just silly. Part of the deal they struck, most likely, is that ANY opposition views must now disappear, regardless of cost.

  • Craig

    I agree David. Politics is the name of the game. Make a stink and get paid off under the table.
    It’s a shame. But I agree something went down behind the closed doors.
    I’m left scratching my head as well!!!!

  • The head of the planning board read a statement from their lawyer specifically endorsing the plan and thanking AvalonBay. The trustees of the group then had no comment on the change of opinion. If they just ran out of money then they could still oppose the plan without lawsuits. I don’t know how to explain their explicit endorsement and lack of comment except to assume a legal settlement was reached where they received money to pay off their debts in exchange for their endorsement. If that wasn’t the case then they would already have denied it.

  • SFB

    You are mistaken. PCSN have deleted their Facebook page. A Facebook page does not cost any money to maintain. Therefore their actions are not related to how much money they have. Krystal’s title was entirely appropriate.

  • Gee

    Nice misleading title. The group didn’t drop their opposition – they ran out of money to keep opposing the project. A proper title would have been “Avalon wins by default: PCSN can’t afford to fight”

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