New growth and development will bring value to Princeton
To the Editor:
I would like to continue the discussion, sparked by the March 23 letter to the editor and the response from last week’s paper, about planned development in Princeton.
When I first read the letter by the Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development, I was confused by its timing. Why was this group choosing the spring of 2022 to raise an alarm about current real estate projects and those that had already been approved and are either in progress or imminent? The fact is that all of the residential projects referred to in the March 23rd letter have been part of a growth plan that two different Mayors and various occupiers of Council seats have been working on for at least four years.
Princeton’s obligation to provide affordable housing under the Mt. Laurel doctrine was fully litigated in the courts and was fully covered by our local press. The actual Settlement Agreement outlining the exact number of housing units Princeton would need to provide in order to fulfill its obligation was signed December 18, 2019.
Rather than being “actively at work” with developers as the letter implies, what Council has been doing these last two years during the pandemic is implementing the plan that was thoroughly considered and vetted. It’s worth noting, in fact, that Council has been working to do myriad things such as: 1) keep cars off our streets, 2) place new development in locations that will have minimal impact on existing residential neighborhoods, and 3) require high performance buildings with enhanced storm water management. For example, much of the planned residential development will be near the Princeton Shopping Center so residents can walk to one of the main economic centers of our town.
I agree with the letter from March 30th that highlighted the value that new growth and development will bring to our town. And it’s important to also emphasize that this growth did not come out of nowhere. Mayor and Council have been “minding the store”, and Princeton will benefit from their thoughtful approach to this growth.
Increased development, larger population, waves of pandemic and climate change all make preservation of Princeton’s green spaces far more urgent. One excellent proposal: the Emerald Necklace, a walking and biking path, connecting township parks and open spaces for safe, convenient access to the outdoors from every part of town. Students, seniors and exercisers would all benefit from such a community asset; visitors would love it…and stay to shop or dine.
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