Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 13
 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
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Westerly Road Church to Move, Environmental Resources Compiled

Dilshanie Perera

The Princeton Environmental Commission heard a report last Wednesday from spokespeople for the Westerly Road Church regarding the church’s proposed move from its present location to the Princeton Ridge area along Bunn Drive. Commission member Steve Hiltner also announced that the Environmental Resource Inventory is complete, and will be presented to the Planning Board on May 7.

The relocation project manager for the Westerly Road Church, H. Edward Nyce, explained that the church had outgrown its present location, and thus needed to move. The Bunn Drive location to which they would like to move is an 18-acre site, and the building footprint would encompass 44,000 square feet, he said.

“We’re very crowded in our current building. The buildings that we have are over 50 years old, and our congregation has grown tremendously,” Mr. Nyce said of the need to move. The present site is a five-acre parcel of land on Westerly Road in a residential area of Princeton.

As for the new location, Mr. Nyce commented that “it’s very important for us to be in the community” and mentioned that they were looking for land within the Borough and Township.

The current Westerly Road Church can seat 290 people, and has two services on Sundays to accommodate their congregation. The future location would have the capacity to seat 500 people.

Project developer and builder Andy Brown added that about 260 cars arrive at the church on Sundays, and that the parking lot on Bunn Drive could hold 300 cars. He expects that the new location will draw about 800 people to the two services.

The five acres upon which the church resides will be subdivided into 10 half-acre properties, which they anticipate will be available to individuals and builders alike.

Environmental Commission Chair Wendy Kaczerski noted that “we do have concerns with the project because it is on the Ridge” but remarked that both projects could be a “wonderful opportunity to build something green and sustainable.”

A newly formed subcommittee of the Environmental Commission will review new development applications and assess their environmental impact, Ms. Kaczerski said, while Mr. Brown added that the Planning Board concept review for the proposal is on April 16.

Members of the commission were also pleased to receive the final draft version of the Princeton Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI) from Steve Hiltner. Ms. Kaczerski summed it up by saying it “tells us where everything is in town that we need to protect.”

The ERI is the first compiled in the past 30 years and details information about land use, natural resources, surface water, ground water, biological resources, the built environment, and environmental issues in the area.

The Commission unanimously approved of the final draft as representative of the final version of the Environmental Resource Inventory.

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