Workers in Princeton begin removing controversial municipal fueling station canopy

Workers could be seen on Monday morning removing the municipal fueling station canopy in Princeton

The governing body of Princeton voted last month to hire a contractor to remove the canopy at the fueling facility. In February of 2019, the canopy was built as part of the new $500,000 municipal fueling station on Mount Lucas Road adjacent to the new Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad building. The fueling station is for fueling municipal vehicles and school buses. The station was built by the municipality in a residential zone, but officials did not review plans with residents in the neighborhood near the station before moving forward. A public outcry followed after the station was built. Residents complained about various aspects of the station, including the canopy and the harsh lighting at the facility at night.

Officials explored options for moving the station, then announced in the fall that they decided to keep it where it is. Some public works vehicles will now fuel up at another fueling station on Harrison Street.

Independence Contractors will charge the town up to $61,227 to remove the canopy, install two motion-activated LED lights on the existing fuel tank for vehicle illumination, install two switch-activated lights on the existing tank for tank refilling illumination, extended a masonry wall, raise all masonry walls to a nine feet, install a dark-colored stucco and capstone to the masonry wall, and install a transfer switch for emergency generator use.

The Princeton Site Plan Review Advisory Committee has recommended that a rain garden be removed and that additional screening of the site be added on the Route 206 side. The Princeton Council must work with the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, the NJDEP and the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission to make those changes because the state holds three conservation easements on the land. It would cost an estimated $35,000 to relocate the rain garden, another $35,000 for state permits, and $32,000 for the elimination of the three conservation easements, plus legal fees and other costs, for a total of $124,500. The estimated costs do not include the construction of rain garden replacement and other site work to reroute stormwater runoff, landscaping to screen the fuel facility on all sides, or the installation of a fence or other screening material on the US Route 206 side of the fuel facility. The town would need to borrow the money to fund that work and other proposed sidewalk improvements near the site.


  1. What a ridiculous waste of money to try to please some NIMBY people at the expense of the vast majority of Princeton taxpayers.

  2. The ridiculous waste of money was in authorizing the spending to build the station in the first place without getting proper neighborhood input.

    1. I think that the location they selected is perfect. An unused spit of land between two busy roads near other municipal buildings. This is its highest and best use. It’s not like it’s in a residential neighborhood. It is between residential neighborhoods. I can’t understand why people are so upset.

      1. I agree. There are one or two houses across from the fueling station–it’s not “in” a residential neighborhood, it’s on the edge of one. Yes, the municipal complex has expanded over the years–but so has the municipality. Perhaps they should have stuck the whole thing over on River Road, next to the sewage treatment plan. But then you would have had Princetonians outraged at having to drive off to the middle of nowhere to visit municipal offices. There is absolutely nothing that has been or ever will be done in town that doesn’t have somebody in a huff. The idea that we’re paying $60,000 to remove a canopy is insane, given that the fueling station will still be there. As others have said, Princetonians–of which I’ve been one since 1960–need to get a life.

    2. It’s stupid to think it would have been productive. No one in Princeton is going to want a fueling station near their property.

      It was the perfect spot of land – don’t fool yourself into thinking it was going to be turned into a idyllic nature conservatory otherwise. All townships need a fueling station for their public service vehicles and that location makes the best sense.

      1. it was a more idyllic spot before the renovation. The idea that having a conversation would not have helped is silly. At a minimum, it would have led to $100,000 in savings, as they wouldn’t have had to build a canopy that they then paid to tear down.

        Let’s call this what is was: an attempt to sneak through an unpopular project without getting the usual community input. Very undemocratic and not the type of government we want to have.

  3. At one time, Princeton had a newspaper, a real newspaper. About a year ago, I wrote an op-ed piece pointing out that the Kaiwen “music school” that was going to take over the “running” of Westminster Choir College was a Chinese-Communist fraud under the direct control of the Beijing Polit Bureau. It was in fact being used by Rider to steal the land and buildings of the Choir College in one of the most shameful land grabs in the history of the Bunko game, but that’s another matter.
    The PRINCETON PACKET refused to print the aforesaid piece. I don’t claim to have been the first to recognize Kaiwen as a Communist front up to no good. (It’s not the Communist part I objected to, but the “up to no good” part). That information first appeared in a much more deeply researched form in the ATLANTIC. Rather, if we don’t get an editor-in-chief with some balls for society at large, with print as the primary medium, not the anti-social toys that encourage shooting from the hip—or the mouth—we will survive increasing only as a feudal state run by clowns.
    Trump and his henchmen remind me of the line in BRIDESHEAD REVISTED when Rider is admonished by his cousin not to consort with the wrong people while at college: “Anthony Blanche,” he says. “Now there is a man for whom there is no excuse.” When a country can elect a man for whom there is, to use a Trumpism, “incredibly” no excuse (one wonders if Mr.Trump knows what he’s saying when he says I’m “incredibly” intelligent) What is needed is opinion outlets with bite and writers who have some fellow-feeling. America has turned into a 450 lb. man whose only worry is where to get a Big Gulp during the lockdown. In short, not everything should be printed—given credence. The anti-social media shows us that Democracy is made up of illiterate chiefs and few Indians. But we must go back to developing in ourselves more than empty verbiage as help for our fellow man. I went to an immigrant Catholic school, tuition 50 cents a month, but for that 50 cents we learned wacky stuff drawn from Martianus Capella’s DE NUPTIIS PHILOLOGIÆ ET MERCURIÆ, but we also learned that we’re not in this alone–that, as a public-service example, we don’t ruin an outstanding and, that overused word, unique school, Westminster, just because we can—because we can come as thieves in the night and slip away with 26 acres of prime land to rent out or sell for our own monetary benefit, the whole made palatable by the new Trump speak—lies and half truths strung together for “your own good.”

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