Vol. LXV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Although University Vice-President Bob Durkee expressed optimism early Tuesday morning about receiving the municipalities blessing for a revised Arts and Transit proposal at this Wednesdays joint meeting of the two governing bodies, the delivery of a new draft of the agreement, including provisions [added by the Borough] that we have never seen before, appeared to throw a damper on his optimism.
Borough Council and Township Committee are scheduled to a hold a joint meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Room in Princeton Borough Hall. The stated purpose of the meeting is discussion of the Princeton University Arts and Transit proposal and Joint Municipal Budgets. The Boroughs announcement of the meeting indicated that formal action may be taken.
I dont know what this means about where we are, Mr. Durkee observed later in the morning after receiving the Boroughs latest iteration of the agreement. One of the challenges of working with the Borough is that these things happen: they just unilaterally make changes in an agreement that I thought we had all come to an agreement on.
The we he was referring to is a subcommittee created about two months ago, in the wake of the failure to endorse an earlier Arts and Transit proposal at a joint meeting of the governing bodies on January 31. In addition to University representatives, the team included Township Mayor Chad Goerner, Township Committee member Bernie Miller, Borough Council President Kevin Wilkes, and Borough Council member Roger C. Martindell.
Even before the release of the Boroughs new version of the agreement, however, Mr. Goerner did not anticipate any formal Arts and Transit action at the Wednesday evening meeting. As far as Arts & Transit is concerned, we would plan on giving an update on the progress of the subcommittee, he said. The main area of focus will be the joint budgets (both operating and capital). Specifically, there will be a focus on library and fire departmental budget requests.
Borough Council member Barbara Trelstad similarly reported that it was my understanding that the Joint Negotiating Team from the Borough and Township will be updating Borough Council and Township Committee on where those talks stand, but that we will not be discussing Arts and Transit much more. The primary focus of the meeting will be joint budgets and I hope that we can all come to consensus on those and approve them.
Township Committee member Lance Liverman reported that although he will be unable to attend the meeting, he endorsed Mr. Goerners points of view.
Mr. Durkee said that he was not at liberty to talk about the specific changes most having to do with transportation issues that had been agreed upon by the subcommittee, nor could he say what the Boroughs latest provisions were. There were some unanswered questions about how some aspects of the transport part of the agreement would work, he commented. The subcommittees revised proposal would try to answer some of these questions, as well as look at longer term options in an effort to clear the way to move ahead with discussions about zoning and allow us to take the project to the Planning Board.
Thats what we were trying to do on January 31, he added. We certainly went into that meeting hoping that thats what everybody thought would happen that night: that we would get a signal from the governing boards that they would move toward putting zoning in place.
We are going to develop this area, he added. The key question is whether or not the Alexander Road site will be approved as an Arts and Transit neighborhood. If not, he said, the University will develop an arts hub elsewhere. We wanted a signal by the end of April; obviously were getting very close.
Public support for for the Universitys plan for an enhanced Arts Neighborhood and improved Transit District which involves moving the Dinky 460 feet was reflected in a full-page ad in last weeks Town Topics, bearing the names of approximately 250 Borough and Township residents. We urge the Borough Council and Township Committee to amend the existing zoning to permit this project to move forward in a timely manner, the ad noted.
Town Topics® may be purchased on Wednesday mornings at the following locations: Princeton McCaffreys, Coxs, Kiosk (Palmer Square), Krauszers (State Road), Olives, Speedy Mart (State Road), Wawa (University Place); Hopewell Village Express; Rocky Hill Wawa (Route 518); Pennington Pennington Market.
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