Municipality of Princeton names proposed affordable housing sites

The Butler Tract could have 90 affordable units and 450 units total when it is developed, officials said Thursday night.

Princeton officials tonight named the potential sites where housing will be built in order to meet the municipality’s affordable housing obligation. A judge decided how many units the town must build in a recent court case.

The municipality is required to build at least 753 affordable housing units by 2025. Officials say 261 units have already been built or approved.

The Princeton Council and Princeton Planning Board are holding a joint meeting at 400 Witherspoon Hall tonight to review the proposed sites. Officials have been criticized by some residents in recent months for not being transparent about the sites that are being considered and the process. In response to the criticism, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert and Council President Jenny Crumiller wrote a letter to the public a few weeks ago.

Tonight, Lempert, Councilwoman Heather Howard, and Planning Board Chairwoman Wanda Gunning all were told they must recuse themselves from the discussion because of their ties to Princeton University, which will build two of the sites that are being proposed. Lempert and Gunning’s spouses both work for the university and Howard is a lecturer at the school.

The meeting is under way. We will update this story later tonight. Following are the 10 sites being proposed to achieve the 753 required affordable units:

The Butler Tract at Princeton University – 20 percent of the units to be built will affordable units, or 90 of 450 units.

Lower Alexander Road, which is owned by Princeton University – 20 percent of the units that will be built will be affordable units, or 60 of 300 units.

-The Franklin Parking Lot and the Maple Apartments  – 80 units will be built and 60 will be affordable.

-The assisted living facility at Terhune and Harrison –  10 percent of the 89 units will be affordable, or nine units.

Lytle Street – two units will be built and both will be affordable.

-The S-2 rezoned area – 30 of the 150 proposed units will be affordable.

Group homes, locations not listed – three units will earn 12 affordable housing credits.

Accessory apartments, location not listed – 10 units will all be affordable.

375 Terhune – 25 units will be built and 5 will be affordable.

The Princeton Shopping Center – 30 of the 150 units will be affordable.

The total number of anticipated dwelling units for the above proposed projects combined is 1,259 new units.

Krystal Knapp

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


  1. Lise,
    I share your concerns. I believe Princeton is going down a misguided path that will mean the end of the Princeton we love (the traffic gets worse every year!). However, the state has ruled and the town council seems eager to implement it as soon as possible. I suggested redeveloping the affordable housing tract across from Avalon Bay as it would offer a large amount of potential housing that would be blend in with the Avalon Bay development. It’s a better choice than some alternatives, imho.

  2. My reference to “little houses” was to the current effort of some residents to restrict the size of new house construction.

  3. I wonder how many affordable housing activists applauding the plans revealed at the Council meeting actually live near these proposed sites? Those of us with houses near the Avalon Bay project endured years of demolition, noise (back-up beeps 8 hours a day), and construction debris on the wind, and, now that it’s done, a significant increase in car traffic barreling down local streets. At the meeting it was announced that there is a plan to squeeze 80 units, 60 affordable, on the tiny parking lot on Franklin Avenue between Avalon Bay and Jefferson Road. 80 units – it’s mind-boggling. More years of construction and noise, and eventually 80 more cars added to the local traffic flow. Previous commenter here posted that Avalon Bay “works well” and hopes not just that the Franklin lot will become high-density apartments, but that the one-story units next to it will be torn down to build three-story housing. Please, have some empathy for those who actually have to suffer the experience of such projects, which transform our environment for the worse, if not yours.

  4. The town didn’t like the Avalon Bay project, but now that it’s built, it seems to work well. It’s not clear from the article, but I hope the town will build a similar development on the parking lot across the street from Avalon (is that the Franklin lot?) and replace the existing one-story affordable housing buildings with three-story buildings with many more apartments.

  5. The shopping center is already a commercial center. Adding housing there is a good idea. I don’t that that location affects the Mayor’s life one way or another. One might wonder how it will affect parking at the shopping center.

  6. Yes lets add more congestion in downtown. Who doesn’t want low income housing next to their $2 million condo!

  7. Well, if you prefer then the shopping center, another major site for housing, is just down the street from her isn’t it? She won the mayorship coming out of Riverside did she not and those are the folks who opposed the university rebuilding on the Butler tract. Not that my intention is to defend our elected officials who foolishly fought this much needed housing in the courts. Personally, I think it would be better if the housing went up in our neighborhood Krystal, in the heart of town where there are more than 20000 jobs and most folks walk for most things.

  8. Actually, allowing little houses, as adjunct buildings on existing property owner’s land, is DE-restricting property rights and giving owners more options.

  9. Hmm. I would think that naming a site is unnecessary what with the little house crusade, which seeks to restrict the property rights of home owners. It’s the whole darn town!

  10. Notice none are in the Mayor, town council or BIG Dem donor neighborhoods!

Please share your thoughts on this story.

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