To the Editor:
In their recent letter concerning Princeton University's proposal to amend Princeton Borough's E-3 zoning restrictions in the Murray Place neighborhood (Town Topics, February 16), Andrea and Rick Stine raise important questions.
As the University's proposal would increase its right to develop the Engineering Quad by 100,000 square feet of floor area, and is part of a larger University proposal to develop 205,000 square feet of floor area in the E-Quad, the proposal is also of community-wide interest.
The community should take up consideration of the University's proposal on separate tracks:
1. As with any development, the University's proposed zoning changes should be considered on their merits, no matter what their nature.
2. In the particular case of such a large, tax-exempt developer that affects the whole community, the Borough governing body should not formally take up consideration of zoning changes proposed by Princeton University unless and until the University substantially boosts its annual financial contribution to the Borough to offset the impact on the town of the University's present and future development.
It's a two-pronged process: the University pays for consideration of its proposed changes; then the design components and neighborhood impacts of the University's proposal may be considered on their merits.
By bifurcating the process we protect two distinct and possibly conflicting interests: (a) the interest of the town as a whole, including Murray Place, which desperately needs additional financial support from the University; and (b) the interest of the affected neighborhood, which rightly deserves special consideration because any E-3 zoning change affects that neighborhood particularly.
If the Borough does not maintain a two-pronged process looking only at the impact of the University's proposal on the town as a whole, or only at the impact of the University's proposal on the neighborhood we'll lose the opportunity to advance one or another of these sometimes conflicting interests.
By articulating a two-pronged process, we maximize the opportunity to advance both interests.
For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.