Special Meeting Tonight, Feb. 17, on Zoning for Masonic Temple Development

masonic temple PrincetonThe developer for the Masonic Temple property in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood is requesting that more apartments be allowed to be developed at the site.

A special meeting of the Princeton Zoning Board will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the main meeting room at the municipal complex at 400 Witherspoon Street.

The developer is proposing to convert the former Masonic Temple at the corner of John and Maclean streets to an apartment building.

The lot size is 7,473 square feet, and is about 60-feet  wide and 126-feet deep. Two apartments are allowed to be built on the property. The developer wants to build 10.

Under the current zoning, a building containing 3,362 square feet of floor space is allowed. The developer wants to build 9,341 square feet of floor space. A three-story building is allowed under current zoning regulations. The developer wants to build four stories. Fifteen parking spaces would be required. The developer wants to provide only 10.

Every apartment is required to have some open outdoor space. For 10 apartments, 2,600 square feet of open space would be required. The developer wants to provide none.


  1. I can’t wait to get to the Board of Zoning Adjustment tonight to offer my support for this proposal. It’s from Josh Zinder, one of our most talented local architects, and helps meet a pressing need for more small units near downtown.

    The development is highly respectful of the original historic structure, and will ensure that it is preserved, rehabilitated and maintained. The height and mass of the building is not changing at all. A fourth story would be created by remodeling the interior space, which has very high ceilings owing to its former use as a Masonic Hall.

    I’m sad to see that this piece repeats almost word-for-word talking points that have been circulated by local opponents of this project. You should just write to Josh. I’m sure he’d be happy to explain why the variances are needed and appropriate.

    1. I agree, SFB. I think that this type of smart reuse of an already large existing building makes a lot of sense. If this area were in an historic district, as proposed, I am confident that the architect and owner could work with the HPC to make this happen.

      1. “I am confident that the architect and owner could work with the HPC to make this happen.”

        Are you a member of the HPC, and do you have an example to share? One where Princeton’s HPC championed an owner’s desire to obtain variances that tripled the allowable floor space, quintupled the allowed number of units, and did without a third of the required parking spaces? From the HPC minutes I’ve read, the HPC rarely supports variances unless the property is already non-conforming and certainly nothing of this scale, so an example or two would certainly provide a fresh perspective.

  2. Funny how the person writing this article doesn’t bother to do the research and realize they are misinformed. Another local architect who represents the small opposition to this project should also know when to stay silent when his own mediocre work conveys limited vision that could be achieved by a 2nd year architecture student.

  3. More loss of trees, lawn, and inadequate parking. This would be a tough sell to me. The tone of the criticisms below is also, well, ugly. Is everyone who disagrees with you to be considered just dumb?

      1. It’s easy to attack people personally when you are posting as anonymous. Try using your own name and being decorous; then we can have a conversation.

        1. Pat Palmer: I guess I didn’t phrase my post well! I mean to say that I thank you for your comment and I share your sentiments about both the proposed waivers and the tone of comments! (I am being regretfully anonymous because I do not want my employer to know that I am posting, and I very much respect those who do post under their own names).

          1. Thanks for clarifying. I was over-sensitive perhaps. Had recently seen a Facebook post of the same tone which didn’t sit well with me. I hope the board made a good decision for all parties.

  4. Perfect recycling of a historic building for market-rate housing close to town minimizing need to clear new space and lessening future vehicle miles. Hopefully the developer makes a nice profit and more of these rehabilitations for better use can occur.

Comments are closed.