Concerned about future of Princeton, residents form a coalition for responsible development

Some Princeton residents have formed a non-profit organization in an attempt to make sure Princetonians’ voices are heard when it comes to development in town.

Many residents are concerned about the future of the town, given the number of new housing developments that will be built and other changes such as the university’s expansion, changes to parking regulations, and other issues.

Organizers of the new Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development say they want the town to take a more effective and collaborative approach to land use development and redevelopment. More than 100 residents already support the fledgling coalition, organizers said.

“Our objective is to protect and enhance the unique character, livability, and quality of life in our many varied neighborhoods,” said resident Brad Middlekauff, one of the founders of the coalition. “Shared interests are at the heart of responsible development. So we will strive to collaborate with real estate developers and town officials throughout the planning process to achieve creative solutions that benefit all parties for decades to come.”

Organizers said important concerns for residents include traffic and parking, open space, historic structures, and appealing gateways into town where development projects are being considered. The main goal of the coalition is to help ensure confidence that these factors and other issues like appropriate density and the state’s area-in-need-of-redevelopment statute are addressed and resolved during the planning process through open dialogue with all stakeholders, organizers said.

“Residents must be mindful of the greater community needs,” said Tom Chapman, a coalition committee member. “The Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development wants to foster open, honest exchange between the developer, Princeton officials, and residents to find the common ground essential to achieving creative, enlightened solutions that work for all, both now and well into the future.”

Organizers said Princeton’s master plan establishes responsible development guidelines for all parties involved in the planning process, such as the guideline calling for the developer to create plans that “preserve the scenic quality of Princeton’s principal gateways; encourage preservation of historic buildings and sites; and preserve and protect the character of established neighborhoods.” They said the master plan also requires the local planning board to enable proactive public participation during the planning process.

“In turn, concerned residents need to recognize the interests and inputs of town officials and the developer. And they must be transparent and specific in articulating the principles that underpin public benefits they envision as essential to responsible development, which reflect a reasonable level of consensus,” said David DeMuth, one of the coalition’s founders.

Organizers said the coalition is dedicated to building a better Princeton for all residents, and sustaining the town’s reputation as the top place to live in New Jersey.

Residents who want to join the coalition should email contactus@pcrd.info to be added to the group’s mailing list. A coalition website is forthcoming.

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  1. I don’t know what a Princeton Gateway is, but I do know that when Westminster Choir College was, like a dirty rug, literally pulled out from under the feet of the faculty and students so its Trust Institution, Rider College, could purloin the real estate and steal a name that many people had worked their entire lives to have mean something, while Rider uses that name to offer a emaciated version of what not just the faculty but people like Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Bruno Walter, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Muti and many others saw as a special place that could always be relied upon to deliver the highest in musical instruction and performance just so Rider could sell the land and finance its pie-in-the-sky notion that baseball and basketball were the primary objectives of higher education, Princeton as a Community did nothing. We cannot, in the words of the late Ralph Nader, trust that great hypocrisy, the law, to make decisions favorable to human need. If we are going to protect the ideals of culture and Civilization itself, if it survives the pressures on it made by the demands of people with blinders on, we shall actually have to rely on the kind of community organization described here. The great danger is that such groups seldom want to disturb what John Calvin describes somewhere in the INSTITUTES as “good order,” which in principle no thinking person, under most circumstances, would be against—nothing is accomplished by a January 6th insurrection except, had that one been successful, to put a madman in charge of the biggest store of nuclear weapons in the world (of course, it only takes one)—but good order often means acedia, going along, so that what started as a noble ideal ends up being a nihil obstat to developers and the like to do what they want. But certainly all must be in favor of this only effective way—the community review—to stop or at least hobble the destruction of the noble invisible in favor of the obvious expedient.

  2. I’m so impressed with your verbosity. It’s lice Caesar and Waldorf salads on one plate.

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