Princeton officials will meet in closed session Monday night at 6 p.m. to discuss litigation with AvalonBay, the developer of the former hospital site on Witherspoon Street.
The governing body is slated to approve a revised developer’s agreement with AvalonBay during the public portion of the meeting at 7 p.m. in the main meeting room at town hall. The new agreement is a result of talks between AvalonBay and representatives from the town over the last two weeks.
AvalonBay sued the town of Princeton over the developer’s agreement that was approved by the council in April. The agreement that was approved by the council called for AvalonBay to follow revised recommendations for environmental testing. The recommendations were made by consultant Ira Whitman, who was hired by the town to look at environmental concerns. In his revised report, Whitman recommended that more samples be taken to test for volatile chemicals and metals, citing new information that had come forward from residents regarding two former incinerators on the hospital site.
Last month, a Mercer County Superior Court judge ordered AvalonBay and the town to seek the help of a mediator to resolve their dispute. The judge questioned whether the town could require AvalonBay to conduct extra environmental tests at the site on Witherspoon Street, and expressed concerns about the governing body’s vote to approve the developer’s agreement that required AvalonBay to do extra testing beyond state requirements. The judge indicated that AvalonBay would likely win the lawsuit against the town.
Under the terms of the new proposed developer’s agreement, AvalonBay will drop its lawsuit if it is required to comply with the original Whitman report issued in March. AvalonBay has agreed to test the medical incinerator floor drains, piping, and any incinerator ash found during demolition for metals identified in Whitman’s revised findings in April, but will not test for PCBs. AvalonBay will not test exterior soil and soil below the former incinerator room. Instead, the developer will stockpile the soil underneath the incinerator room and use it in subsurface locations underneath asphalt. If any evidence of discharge is found in the soil, it will be removed from the site.
Under the proposed agreement, AvalonBay will also use clean fill topsoil that will be imported to the site for all grass, landscaped areas, and pervious surfaces. The topsoil will be 4 inches deep and cover 65,000 square feet of the development. The topsoil in the community garden will be 12 inches deep. AvalonBay has also agreed to additional air monitoring during concrete crushing operations at the site, but has refused to do any sampling of concrete that is being reused on the site.