Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 18
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
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Cleveland Lane Residents Prefer Granite, Looking to Borough Council for Redress

Linda Arntzenius

Meeting in public session last week, Princeton Borough Council was asked by residents of Cleveland Lane for redress concerning the installation of concrete curbing on the street in front of their homes.

Speaking for a group of some dozen neighbors living between Library Place and Bayard Lane who attended the meeting, Claire Jacobus, a resident of Cleveland Lane for over 37 years, asked the Council to reconsider their request for granite rather than concrete curbing.

“There has been a breakdown in communication between Public Works and citizens,” said Ms. Jacobus. “We respectfully request a meeting to redress a flaw in the process by which the decision to replace the curbing with concrete has been made.”

In response, Councilman David Goldfarb asked Borough Engineer Christopher Budzinski about the current stage of the process. He was told that while the portion of the curbing to which Ms. Jacobus referred had not yet been worked on, any change from concrete to granite at this time would necessitate an amendment to the existing contract with the firm engaged to do the work. Last fall, the Borough awarded a contract for $1.3 million to S. Brothers Construction for the replacement of curbing and other roadside improvements on Cleveland Lane.

Councilman Roger Martindell asked about the cost involved in making the change to granite block and what the homeowner’s responsibility for that cost would be. He was told that if a majority of the homeowners elected to have granite, they (the homeowners) would assume all of the cost, currently $39 per linear foot.

Ms. Jacobus said that there was some confusion among residents as to the costs involved and described a series of email communications on this subject. She reiterated her request to come back to the table for redress. “Not one of us seems to have understood the process and we are asking you, as our elected officials, to return to this issue.”

Council President Margaret Karcher, who led the meeting in Mayor Trotman’s absence, said that she was unable to schedule such a meeting in the Mayor’s absence or add the topic to the agenda for the next Council meeting on May 6 (already set to address zoning ordinance for Merwick). However, Ms. Karcher held out the possibility of discussing the matter outside of a full Council meeting.

Mr. Goldfarb suggested that if residents were to return on Tuesday, May 6, any individuals living on Cleveland Lane who don’t want to pay for the installation of granite should also be represented.

Borough Administrator Robert W. Bruschi said that he would work with Ms. Jacobus to determine the window of opportunity for making the change, how long it would take to order the granite, and how much the change would cost residents.

In a telephone interview with Town Topics following her presentation, Ms. Jacobus commented: “We have deep concerns and this was the perfect playing of the democratic process. I feel optimistic that our concerns will be addressed.”

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