The United States Postal Service increased the amount it was willing to pay for the easement for land next to the Palmer Square Post Office after a public meeting last month, and will now pay the town $85,000, an increase of $75,000 over the original offer.
Elected officials, based on the recommendation of the town’s lawyer, were originally going to accept $10,000 for the easement. Some residents and David Newton of Plamer Square questioned the small fee and said the easement was more valuable. The lawyer for the town had told officials the government could use eminent domain to take the property without paying, and said $10,000 would be sufficient to cover the legal fees for the easement.
Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller questioned the town’s move to give up the easement at such a cheap price and was also hoping to save the post office by withholding the easement. The post office will move to 259 Nassau Street on Nov. 9.
The Princeton Council voted unanimously Monday night to introduce an ordinance approving the easement for the higher price. A final vote and public hearing are scheduled to take place at the Oct. 12 council meeting.
But Tom Latesia, a lawyer for Pepper Hamilton who represents Palmer Square Management, questioned whether the town had followed the proper process regarding the easement.
The parcel of land in question is part of the Green Acres program, and is listed on the town’s recreation and open space inventory, he said.
This was news to town officials. They said they “don’t believe any improvements were made on the lot” and that they were voting to continue an easement that already exists, not create a new easement, and therefore did not need to consult with the state or county.