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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the group’s mailing list. A coalition website is forthcoming.
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