To the Editor:
The Zoning Board recently opened up a Pandora's box that will wreak havoc on our local community by granting a use variance for a "New York-Style" jazz club at the site of what is now Mike's Tavern.
There is a larger picture here with potentially negative altering effects on the surrounding neighborhoods of Birch, Leigh, Bayard and Duffield Place that the Zoning Board simply "tip-toed" around at their recent meeting granting preliminary approval.
In the minutes from the meeting, The Zoning Board referred repeatedly to the current establishment, Mike's Tavern, being "very similar" and basing their approval on the long-term existence of Mike's Tavern not having any negative effects on the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods. Indeed, Mike's Tavern is a quiet, small bar and package store. Unlike Mike's Tavern, however, the proposed jazz club will target 150-plus patrons, comprising three floors, and with music lasting until 1 a.m. seven days a week. I live near Mike's Tavern and have never seen 150 people there with music bellowing from the premises, nor have I seen or heard the mass exodus of patrons at 1 a.m. The Zoning Board was just plain wrong when they professed a similarity between the two establishments.
In addition, The Zoning Board did not address the genuine parking issues and how they affect the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods. Many of us will have our quiet street disrupted by the noise and parking of patrons at virtually all hours of the day, seven days a week until 1 a.m. What about the safety of kids who play on the dead-end streets of Duffield Place and Old Bayard Lane, or the kids who play on Birch Avenue and the nearby Community Park?
The Board places only one contingency on the approval: "Any change in the type of music from jazz and jazz-related music to any other type of music would require reapplication to the Zoning Board." Unfortunately, I don't think we have "jazz police" in Princeton to determine the type of music playing at the club. I have greater faith in Duke Ellington who said: "It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line." This shows just how worthless that contingency actually is.
While I recognize that change is inevitable in our community, "change is inevitable" is more than a cliché when it concerns our neighborhoods and long-term impacts of parking, traffic, noise, and disruption of the enjoyment of our daily lives. Change has to benefit the local residential neighborhoods too, not just the business owner. There is more at stake here than the Zoning Board has realized. Frankly, it is unacceptable and must be stopped.
To the Editor:
On July 22, my 10-year-old daughter and I were involved in a serious automobile accident on the corner of Terhune Road and Walnut Lane, and consider ourselves very lucky to be alive and well two weeks later.
I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank the many good Samaritans who stopped their cars to help, and neighbors thanks, George who notified the police and EMS on our behalf. I also want to thank the Princeton Township Police officers on the scene, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad members who attended to us, and the staff at Princeton Medical Center for their compassion and excellent care.
It is my suggestion that, due to the volume of young and inexperienced drivers commuting to the high school through the Walnut/Terhune and Walnut/Valley Road intersections, drivers slow down and proceed with great caution on Terhune and Valley, regardless of who has the right of way.
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