Town should rescind area in need of redevelopment zoning for Princeton Seminary property on Stockton Street

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the recent  request to the Princeton Mayor and Council to rescind the “area in need of redevelopment” [ANR] designation for the ten non-contiguous properties owned by Princeton Theological Seminary [PTS].

This designation of an ANR for these properties essentially represented a ‘gerrymandering’ of 10 lots of property, all owned by PTS, for the purpose of creating a residential campus, consolidating their existing accommodation across Princeton.

That project was abandoned by PTS in 2019 as a result of escalating cost and a change in priorities.

Furthermore, PTS has decided to sell 5 of the 10 lots classified under the ANR to a developer. Given that the original reason for granting the ANR no longer exists, and that some of the properties are to be sold or used piecemeal, it appears reasonable to request that the ANR be rescinded.

This action will not harm the property interests of PTS or an eventual buyer. The property will revert to its educational E4 or residential R3 status ,which still allows for substantial development versus what is there today.

Rescinding the ANR will return to the status quo respecting both the owners and their neighbors’ property rights. It will also encourage development that is consistent with the current Master Plan and in keeping with the neighborhood, balancing all interests.

Mike Head
Hibben Road


  1. Glad to see affordable housing developments on the thus far uninvolved Western Section.

    1. Thanks for your comment. The Seminary site has always had subsided housing on it. There is no objection to affordable housing being built as part of any redevelopment from the neighborhood. The issue is that the ANR was granted by the town to allow PTS to build dormitories and it was PTS that subsequently decided not to proceed. It is a developer that wishes to take advantage of the loophole that the ANR created to build at a scale out of proportion to the Mercer Hill district that the site is next to. The existing R3 zoning allows for substantially more development than is there now, including affordable housing if desired.
      The request is that we return to that zoning.

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