Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 6
 
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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Regional Planning Board Sets Hearing On Hillier Plan for Ridge Next Week

DANIEL A. HARRIS
Dodds Lane
Trustee, People for Princeton Ridge, Inc.

Good Deed by Local Website Reconnects Princetonians With Uruguayan Friends

MARGARET KEENAN
Random Road


Regional Planning Board Sets Hearing On Hillier Plan for Ridge Next Week

To the Editor:

As readers remember from the winter of 2007-2008, Princeton citizens organized to prevent any high-density development on the “environmentally sensitive” Princeton Ridge (Bunn Drive). Some 2100 protesters signed a petition that objected to an ordinance allowing Hillier Properties LLC to build up to 158 age-restricted units on the Lowe Tract, terrain whose forest habitat, root-systems, and canopy are essential to native species and to the natural control of stormwater runoff from the Ridge. In March 2008 People for Princeton Ridge, Inc. (PPR) filed a lawsuit against Princeton Township to block the development.

PPR met throughout the summer and fall of 2008 with Robert Hillier, who produced a new plan more environmentally acceptable than his first proposal in November 2007. Sufficient agreement was reached concerning a reduced building footprint and forest preservation that, on December 16, 2008, PPR submitted to Princeton Township Committee a Settlement Proposal calling for 1) a total disturbance of land of 3.3 acres or less, with the remainder of the Lowe Tract (17+ acres out of 20.88 overall) to be deeded to a New Jersey conservation organization for preservation as open space; 2) protection by the builder of nearly two thirds of the trees on the specific lot originally slated for more extensive development; and 3) underground parking. PPR also proposed that Princeton Township contribute financial support and fund-raising efforts to secure as permanent open space some significant acreage adjacent to the Lowe Tract.

Final agreements on the building footprint (1.8 acres or less) and on the remaining 1.5 acres or less (access road, sidewalk, etc.), as well as other issues, must still be worked out. PPR trusts that Township Committee and the Princeton Regional Planning Board will join PPR in seeking solutions that are least invasive of the environment. Common-sense adherence to parameters stated in the New Jersey State Residential Site Improvement Standards Code will help hugely in producing a negotiated settlement that respects environmental concerns as much as possible while still allowing unfortunate but limited site destruction.

PPR hopes that a negotiated settlement will represent an intelligent compromise that grants some of Township’s stated need for age-restricted housing while simultaneously achieving permanent protection of considerable acreage through responsible environmental stewardship.

The Princeton Regional Planning Board will meet on February 19 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the Hillier Concept Plan. Citizens concerned about a sustainable Princeton should attend.

DANIEL A. HARRIS
Dodds Lane
Trustee, People for Princeton Ridge, Inc.

Good Deed by Local Website Reconnects Princetonians With Uruguayan Friends

To the Editor:

Princeton Online extended its reach recently and made two families very happy. Founder Peter Gibson received an e-mail from Antonio Riera in Uruguay asking for his help in locating the Keenans in Princeton. Mr. Riera had lost touch with our family. His daughter was going to be married and he wanted to invite our son to the wedding. Mr. Gibson consulted the phone book and called to confirm the authenticity of the e-mail.

I explained that our elder son had been an American Field Service student when he was at Princeton High School in the late ‘70s. He had lived with Mr. Riera’s family for a year. The e-mail was forwarded to me and then to my son, who had moved a number of times since he and Mr. Riera had last corresponded.

This month my son and his family will travel to Uruguay for the wedding and a reunion with his AFS family. There should be a toast to Princeton Online.

MARGARET KEENAN
Random Road

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