Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors



Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors


Advertise in Town Topics

Weather Forecast


Mailbox

Fact or Fiction? Taxes Up or Down For Lower/Higher Priced Homes?

Edgar B. Madsen
McComb Road

Early Earth Day Assault on the Environment By N.J. Dept. of Environmental Protection

Jennifer M. Coffey
Policy Director,
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

Is Palmer Square PO Being Closed? If So, It’s Time for “Local Uproar”

D. E. Steward
Prospect Avenue

Neumann Annouces Her Withdrawal As Democratic Candidate for Mayor

Anne Waldron Neumann
Alexander Street

Third Annual Brunch at Home Benefit For PSRC Is a Resounding Success

Susan Hoskins,
Executive Director
Heidi Joseph,
Brunch at Home Committee Chair,
Princeton Senior Resource Center

Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale Thanks a Great Cast of Volunteers

Frances Reichl,
President of the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale on behalf of the members of the Steering Committee

Candidate for Borough Council Seat Hopes to Bring a Fresh Perspective

Heather Howard
Aiken Avenue

Thomas Zucosky Announces Decision Ending Candidacy for Borough Council

Thomas Zucosky
Witherspoon Street

An Earth Day Thanks to Community For Supporting Sustainable Princeton

Diane Landis
Coordinator, Sustainable Princeton

Participants in Earlier NJDOT Talks Say It’s “Déjà Vu All Over Again”

Lincoln S. Hollister, Sarah W. Hollister, Paula McGuire, Jean Mahoney, Alan Goodheart, Sandra Shapiro, Candace Preston, Richard Barrett, Laura Lynch, Patrick Lyons


Fact or Fiction? Taxes Up or Down For Lower/Higher Priced Homes?

To the Editor:

If we are going to make any headway in our current conversation about real estate taxes in Princeton, we must distinguish fact from fiction.

First, let’s put the rate fiction to rest. Page 1 of last week’s Town Topics reports “that the lower-priced homes generally saw their tax rates increase, whereas the higher-priced homes in Princeton saw a decrease.” Not true! The tax rate dropped for everybody to 2.026 percent in the Boro and 1.927 percent in the Township.

Secondly, my good friend Jim Firestone takes me to task (Mailbox, April 6) for not telling you that “virtually all the units in (my) neighborhood of Campbell Woods went down in their assessments.” I did not say it because it isn’t so! The fact is that most of the assessments in Campbell Woods increased by more than 80 percent during the recent revaluation. Although the increase in my neighborhood may not be as great as some of you experienced, we share your pain.

Can we please come back to earth? The process is working. About 50 property owners in the Boro and roughly twice as many in the Township have filed timely appeals of their assessments this year. Still, I think we could all agree with Edmund Burke: “To tax and to please, no more than to love and be wise, is not given to men.”

Edgar B. Madsen
McComb Road

Early Earth Day Assault on the Environment By N.J. Dept. of Environmental Protection

To the Editor:

One week before Earth Day, New Jersey’s environment is being threatened by a new rule proposed by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The “Waiver Rule” would give the DEP the authority to allow anyone to violate existing environmental rules simply by saying that the rules are “unduly burdensome.”

The “Waiver Rule” is an invitation to abuse of power. The DEP should not be allowed to pick and choose who gets to follow the rules and who doesn’t. New Jersey’s strong environmental rules have been adopted to protect the health and welfare of all New Jersey residents. Our rules rely on science, are open to the public for comment when proposed, and are required by law to be reviewed every five years to ensure that they are fair, efficient, and protect the environment.

With our industrial history and dense population, New Jersey needs tough environmental rules to make sure we all have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy soil in which to grow our food. Don’t let the DEP allow those with the right political influence to skirt their environmental responsibilities. Please join us in telling the DEP to stand up for the environment and strike down the “Waiver Rule” at a public hearing on April 14 at 3 p.m. at the DEP’s first floor hearing room at 401 East State Street, Trenton, N.J.

Jennifer M. Coffey
Policy Director,
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

Is Palmer Square PO Being Closed? If So, It’s Time for “Local Uproar”

To the Editor:

The credibility of the unpleasant rumor that our Palmer Square USPS “substation,” WPA mural and all, will soon be closed as part of the USPS’s current service cutbacks has recently been given substantial credence. The shift of downtown Princeton postal delivery from foot carriers, leaving Palmer Square for their person-to-person rounds, to truck carriers who work out of the USPS facility way out in West Windsor Township is now a reality.

“They’ve tried to close Palmer Square before, but backed down after local uproar. Now they may be trying to sneak it through.”

It seems to be the time for more local uproar.

D. E. Steward
Prospect Avenue

Neumann Annouces Her Withdrawal As Democratic Candidate for Mayor

To the Editor:

Thank you to my supporters and indeed to every Princeton Community Democratic Organization member who attended the PCDO’s April 3 endorsement meeting. I am withdrawing as a Democratic candidate for Borough mayor. But, as I said that night, our numbers confirmed how Princeton’s mood is changing. We’ve seen large public meetings recently — about the Arts District, Princeton Ridge, the University’s PILOT, revaluation, the Dinky, and the pool.

Having become more active, Princetonians expect more proactive government. Changed expectations require a different kind of leadership. We assume the Borough has a strong council and weak mayor. But the mayor has the bully pulpit and sets Borough Council’s agenda. Mayor and Council shouldn’t wait for challenges to arrive over the transom. They should anticipate them and respond with policies that worked in other communities.

Revaluation. It’s determining who can remain a Princetonian and who can’t. Was the tax shift predictable? Why wasn’t the method scrutinized and the process monitored? Shouldn’t appeals have been standardized, and informal appeals counted to help judge the revaluation’s accuracy? Why weren’t broader remedies than appeal sought and tested beforehand?

Consolidation. Consolidation will benefit the Borough if we save money and Borough residents are properly represented. We’ll gain some efficiencies and lose some, but we’ll win leverage with the University. Given the difficulties, however, it’s good that shared services without full political consolidation are also being considered by the Consolidation Study Commission.

Development. Including the University’s, particularly the Dinky, which shows how the University regards us. Mayor and Council should not accept a Dinky terminus farther from downtown until light rail replaces the Dinky with service to Nassau Street. Our mayor should fight, on the Planning Board and with zoning changes, for environmentally sustainable development that preserves neighborhoods and benefits the town. Form-based zoning should be considered.

Downtown. A town center where residents shop for daily needs increases social cohesion. The Borough’s mayor should encourage this kind of retail. Borough merchants, in turn, deserve a business-friendly mayor. When sales rise, so do commercial property values and taxes. Mayor and Council should support a Special Improvement District: it would include the University and provide many of the services the Borough provides now. Mayor and Council should also consider an economic development commission.

Consensus. Proactive leadership includes building consensus. A mayor must both speak and listen. The Borough needs a livelier website and a better way of updating residents on the hows and whys of Council’s achievements. House-meetings in all Borough neighborhoods would allow a mayor to hear residents’ concerns directly.

I’m looking forward to remaining active in the community and the PCDO. What happiness we enjoy living in a town where so many residents share progressive values and where our municipal government rests in such good Democratic hands!

Anne Waldron Neumann
Alexander Street

Third Annual Brunch at Home Benefit For PSRC Is a Resounding Success

To the Editor:

The Third Annual Brunch at Home benefit for the Princeton Senior Resource Center proved to be a resounding success. The unique baskets full of brunch delicacies were delivered on Sunday, March 27, to 300 Princeton area homes, a 14 percent increase over last year. That success is due in no small part to our sponsors including Wells Fargo, Springpoint Foundation, Dave Saltzman Insurance, Acorn Glen & UBS Financial/Michael Stewart, Archer & Greiner, and the many local sponsors who contributed food donations including: Chez Alice, Main Street Catering, McCaffrey’s, Chauncy Center & Hotel, Panera Bread Company and Bagel Barn. Thanks are also due to the more than 100 volunteers who were hard at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday and the Brunch at Home Committee, who worked tirelessly for six months. We’re already receiving compliments: “What a pleasant surprise,” “The quiche and muffins were out of this world,” “It was really nice getting the basket and fun looking through everything. The basket is filled with really nice items. Put me on the list for next year!” And of course thank you to those who ordered our Brunch at Home baskets. We’re already looking forward to next year.

Susan Hoskins,
Executive Director
Heidi Joseph,
Brunch at Home Committee Chair,
Princeton Senior Resource Center

Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale Thanks a Great Cast of Volunteers

To the Editor:

The 80th annual Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale is now just a memory but a lovely memory for all who worked to ensure its success. And a success it was thanks to a great cast of volunteers, alumnae from the two colleges, and a large group of friends from the community, who set up the sale and worked tirelessly to serve our many customers once it opened. We had help from students from Chapin School, Hun School, Lawrenceville School, Peddie School, Princeton Day School, and Stuart Country Day School, including several students who returned repeatedly to lend a hand. The Princeton Day School’s Events group did everything they could to make our two weeks a pleasant experience and they succeeded. Most of all, though, we thank those who patronized the sale and those who donated their books. Without your generosity, there would be no book sale. We hope you were pleased with the sale and the knowledge that this all-volunteer sale not only uses its profits to fund college scholarships for Central New Jersey students but gives back to the community through the books we give to charitable organizations. We hope to see you all next year.

Frances Reichl,
President of the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale on behalf of the members of the Steering Committee

Candidate for Borough Council Seat Hopes to Bring a Fresh Perspective

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the many residents of the Borough and Township who came to last week’s Princeton Community Democratic Organization meeting to hear the Democratic candidates for local office engage in lively discussions about the pressing issues facing our community. I appreciate the support I received for my candidacy for Borough Council and the engagement of so many thoughtful and informed citizens.

Now that the campaign season has begun, I look forward to sharing my ideas with all the residents of Princeton Borough. I want to use my government and management experience to promote good government and progressive policies on the Council. Between now and the election I hope to meet and talk with many of you to hear your ideas on how we can bring a fresh perspective to the Borough Council.

Heather Howard
Aiken Avenue

Thomas Zucosky Announces Decision Ending Candidacy for Borough Council

To the Editor:

I wish to thank my supporters and members of the PCDO during the endorsement process as a Borough Council candidate. Respecting the wishes of the PCDO members and wanting to solidify the party for the primary, I have decided to end my candidacy for Borough Council.

I always saw my role in this race as trying to raise the level of discourse, so I am not surprised by the outcome. However, there are times that we care enough that we do the right thing for our community, regardless of the potential outcome. From my perspective, the real victory was being partially responsible for a packed house to see the candidates in an important race.

I am new to the political arena in town, but I intend to build on the experience and will attempt to be a thoughtful leader on the issues that matter most to me: transparency of government, diversity, sustainability, physical wellbeing, and fiscal responsibility.

In my heart, I know that I gave it my all and set an example for others and for my children.

Thomas Zucosky
Witherspoon Street

An Earth Day Thanks to Community For Supporting Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

With Earth Day upon us, I wanted to thank the community for its overwhelming support of Sustainable Princeton and sustainability over the past year. Sustainability means many things to many people. One of my favorite definitions came from my youngest daughter when she was nine years old. She said, “to be sustainable is to make the environment healthy and keep it clean, try not to pollute, plant new trees and gardens, bike more, and eat healthy foods that are organic.”

Elsewhere, sustainability is defined as a three-legged stool combining environmental action, support of the local economy, and social action to form a strong foundation for smart and thoughtful growth. In other words, we need to care for our resources now, so we can enjoy our lifestyle and pass a healthy world to the next generation. In Princeton, our successful efforts have one key ingredient — collaboration. Businesses, individuals, schools and the municipality are working together toward Princeton’s goals of becoming a truly aware and sustainable community.

Here are a few examples:

The Whole Earth Center and bent spoon ice cream (with the help of Terhune Orchards and Small World Coffee) sell special pints of ice cream. Over the past few years, this partnership has donated more than $6,000 in proceeds to the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative to support the creation of edible gardens at every public school. In turn, some of the produce grown in the school gardens is shared with bent spoon to flavor its ice cream.

On June 9, the Sustainable Princeton BYOBag campaign will launch at the Princeton Public Library in partnership with the Princeton Environmental Film Festival and TV30. This project, aimed at reducing plastic bag use, is spearheaded by an exuberant and diverse group of volunteers ranging in age from high school to retirees.

Other cooperative efforts around town include:

The Princeton Merchants Association and Hometown Princeton’s efforts to support local businesses;

The Princeton Environmental Film Festival, presented by the Princeton Public Library, which involves more than 30 community partners including businesses, nonprofit agencies and individuals in its planning and execution;

The Princeton Regional School Board, Township Committee, Borough Council and the Princeton Public Library are working together on a project to consider solar arrays for some of their buildings.

The Princeton Farmers’ Market would not be operating downtown if it wasn’t for a collaboration between the JMGroup, Terra Momo Restaurant Group, the Princeton Public Library and the Borough of Princeton.

We live and work in a great community, made even better by the collaborative efforts of so many organizations, businesses and individuals. It is through this collaborative spirit that we will continue to act on the BYOBag campaign motto: Change a Habit and Change the World!

Please join Sustainable Princeton the last Tuesday of every month at the Whole Earth Center, 7:30 p.m. for general meetings. Or, go to Sustainableprinceton.org to find out more about our efforts.

We look forward to working with you.

Diane Landis
Coordinator, Sustainable Princeton

Participants in Earlier NJDOT Talks Say It’s “Déjà Vu All Over Again”

To the Editor:

The recent revisiting of the US-1 and Washington Road/Harrison Street intersection issues by NJDOT reminds us of the comment attributed to Yogi Berra: “Déjà vu all over again.” Doesn’t NJDOT remember that only 10 years ago it and the Federal Highway Administration funded a study of this very issue? Citizens, engineers, and politicians met on a regular basis at a “Roundtable” for three years and came up with a solution called the Penns Neck Area Final Environmental Impact Statement: www.policy.rutgers.edu/vtc/pennsneckareaeis/index.html. The then mayors of Plainsboro, West Windsor, Princeton Township, and Princeton Borough actively participated, as did representatives of the major stakeholders, including Princeton University and Sarnoff Laboratory.

The Penns Neck study found that the traffic problems on Route 1 were mainly due to the flow of east-west traffic across Route 1. The current proposal by NJDOT to eliminate lights at the Washington Road and Harrison Street intersections and have the only access by right turns was an alternative that was considered and rejected because it would increase congestion for the east-west flow of traffic.

The basic element of the solution accepted 6 years ago was structured around putting Route 1 under Washington Road, with Washington Road crossing over Route 1 at its existing grade. A new interchange at Harrison Street would also ease access to the new hospital.

Why spend taxpayer money on a repeat study? The current NJDOT proposed solution has been demonstrated to not be viable.

The below co-signers were active participants at the 2001-2004 Roundtable:

Lincoln S. Hollister, Sarah W. Hollister, Paula McGuire, Jean Mahoney, Alan Goodheart, Sandra Shapiro, Candace Preston, Richard Barrett, Laura Lynch, Patrick Lyons

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

Return to Top | Go to Obituaries


Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton — McCaffrey’s, Cox’s, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszer’s (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell — Village Express; Rocky Hill — Wawa (Route 518); Pennington — Pennington Market.
Copyright© Town Topics®, Inc. 2011.