Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 33
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
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Vote on Arts & Transit Zone Postponed; Ordinance for Pool Money Approved

Ellen Gilbert

At its Monday evening meeting, Township Committee agreed to postpone a public hearing on the ordinance that would establish the Township’s share of the Arts, Education, and Transit zone (AET), and approved a bond ordinance that would provide a supplemental appropriation to support expenses associated with the new pool project.

An ordinance that would result in a uniform 35 mile-per-hour (mph) speed limit on Cherry Valley Road was approved, and Loomis Court resident Frank Wiener asked Township Committee members to rationalize the higher per capita tax rate in Princeton, as compared to other area municipalities that offer similar services.

The public hearing for the AET ordinance is now scheduled for Monday, October 24, not November 14, the date that appeared on the meeting’s agenda. Mayor Chad Goerner explained that the October date was chosen in the event that the Planning Board, which is now considering the AET proposal, needs “further introduction.”

An Alexander Road resident who expressed concern about potential parking arrangements and the undesirability of metered parking was told that there were no relevant plans at this time. “Meters would be a separate issue,” said Mr. Goerner. “We need more data from the Planning Board.”

Acknowledging that both the Borough and Township have expressed concerns about the proposed movement of the Dinky station, Mr. Goerner said, however, that “we’ve looked at all the different options that would prevent movement,” and concluded that none of these options was financially feasible. And while the Memorandum of Understanding that was negotiated with the University to detail conditions for creating the AET “needs refinement,” Mr. Goerner encouraged “our colleagues in the Borough to work with us so that we can move forward.”

Township Engineer Bob Kiser explained that the supplemental ordinance appropriating $1,461,625 for pool expenses is needed in order to award contracts and cover the costs of professional services agreements, all of which had been discussed at a previous joint meeting with Borough Council. The public hearing on this ordinance will be on September 19.

The Cherry Valley Road adjustment would mean changing the 40 mph speed limit that is currently observed on most of Cherry Valley Road (except for the approach to Route 206, when the limit becomes 35 mph). Mr. Kiser said that the road’s narrow, winding course and the presence of “many drainage ditches” suggest that a 35 mph speed limit be established for the entire stretch of Cherry Valley Road from Route 206 to Province Line Road. As a result of recent legislation, he added, local municipalities may make adjustments that are then sent on to the Department of Transportation. The public hearing for this proposed change is also September 19.

“Why are people not questioning the taxes in this town?” asked Mr. Wiener during the “comments” portion of Monday’s agenda. “Under current economic circumstances, are we doing the best we can for the Township portion of the bill? Is it enough to say we kept the rate the same as last year?” Mr. Wiener noted that his questions were unrelated to revaluation; they simply had to do with the relatively high per capita tax rate in Princeton.

Suggesting that it’s not fair “to compare apples with oranges,” Mr. Goerner and Deputy Mayor Sue Nemeth spoke of the desirability of living in Princeton, and said that every effort was being made to keep costs down.

Committee members Liz Lempert and Bernie Miller were both absent from the meeting on Monday.

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