Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 5
 
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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High Density Bunn Drive Development Would Contravene Town’s Master Plan

SARAH HOLLISTER
Ridgeview Road

Princeton School Garden Cooperative Thanks Its Teaching Garden Sponsors

DIANE LANDIS
Wheatsheaf Lane
DOROTHY MULLEN
Patten Avenue
FRAN McMANUS
Quarry Lane

King Commemoration Speaker Draws Criticism for Immigration Comparison

TOM ROONEY
Jefferson Road

Friends of Blawenburg Village School Thanked for Trike-A-Thon Donations

LAURA SARUBBI
Interim Director
Blawenburg Village School


High Density Bunn Drive Development Would Contravene Town’s Master Plan

To the Editor:

At its meeting scheduled for January 28, Princeton Township Committee is set to foist high density development, falsely labeled “senior housing,” on the Princeton Ridge, in contradiction to the Master Plan.

The place where the so-called senior housing would be built is adjacent to Hilltop Park on Bunn Drive and contains a magnificent stand of healthy old trees. One of the beech trees is over three feet in diameter and is about 90 feet tall. Six other beeches are between two and three feet in diameter. It should be noted that beech trees, with their roots extending well beyond the drip line, are very sensitive. If their roots are traumatized during construction, the beeches can take as long as ten years to die. A sample of other massive trees on the site includes an oak that is about 110 feet tall and 3½ feet in diameter, a shagbark hickory that is two feet in diameter, and an ash three feet in diameter.

The stand of trees, if left standing, would make a fine shady extension of Hilltop Park. The concept plan that is behind the rush to write the age-restricted ordinance shows a 54-foot high building looming over the park. Won’t such a mammoth building detract from the enjoyment of this park? Don’t we have a responsibility to not degrade the experience of the children of the affordable housing complex directly across Bunn Drive?

One thing that makes the Ridge inappropriate for development is the fact that it is underlain by a mass of impermeable igneous rock, the infamous diabase, topped by a thin layer of soil that is protected by a mature forest. Were it not for that forest, rain water would quickly run off, carrying soil with it, as happens where the trees have been removed. This adds to the flooding that is already a problem downstream. Where there are still trees on the Ridge, storm water is largely held back by the root system and by the leafy canopy.

Why is there such a rush to push through the Overlay Ordinance revision allowing this inappropriate development when another necessary ordinance revision, the one requiring mandatory tree protection and replacement by builders, has been languishing somewhere in Township Hall for over a year?

Why are Township officials espousing the mantra of “sustainability” while at the same time taking such an unsustainable action on our behalf?

SARAH HOLLISTER
Ridgeview Road

Princeton School Garden Cooperative Thanks Its Teaching Garden Sponsors

To the Editor:

The Princeton School Garden Cooperative (PSGC) would like to thank the community for supporting our mission to grow teaching gardens at every Princeton Public School this past year.

The students have benefited not only because they are putting their hands in the soil and growing healthy foods, but also because they are participating in hands-on learning that makes education come alive. There is nothing like witnessing a child pick a sugar snap pea that she planted in early spring, pop it in her mouth and get back in line for the school dismissal bell, or overhear a teacher say that the garden has become integral to the lessons taught in class.

Each of our public elementary schools now has edible teaching gardens thanks to the continued support of Superintendent of Schools Judy Wilson, as well as each principal, and many students and teachers. One example of the dedication we have seen from the teachers is Liza Czelusniak, of Community Park Elementary School. With the support of Sharon Goldman, Community Park Principal, Ms. Czelusniak encouraged every teacher in the school to participate in growing a garden plot with the children. The Community Park gardens generated so much interest and fresh produce last year that the teachers are now asking to expand their plots this spring.

Local businesses have also banded together in innovative ways to support the garden initiative. The bent spoon ice cream shop, Whole Earth Center, Small World Coffee, and Terhune Orchards partnered to make and sell ice cream pints with the proceeds going to support the school gardens. Camillo’s Cafe has used the basil and flowers grown at Riverside Elementary School in its meals and on its tables.

The project couldn’t have moved forward as quickly without financial support from local and regional nonprofits such as The New Jersey Committee of the Garden Club of America, The Garden Club of Princeton, and a local private foundation. These groups provided us the financial means to hire a coordinator and write a garden based curriculum for pre-k through fifth grade with elementary school teachers. The Princeton Education Foundation has also played a part by serving as our fiscal agent.

In February, we will provide start-up funds of $500 each to Princeton High and John Witherspoon Middle schools for teaching gardens at each location. We also plan to expand the garden based curriculum for sixth through twelfth grade students. We welcome any garden based lesson plans that educators might share in hopes of keeping the curriculum a living document.

The school gardens are a win-win program that the Princeton community can truly claim as its own. Thank you, Princeton. We look forward to sharing ideas and vegetables with each of you in the year ahead.

DIANE LANDIS
Wheatsheaf Lane
DOROTHY MULLEN
Patten Avenue
FRAN McMANUS
Quarry Lane

King Commemoration Speaker Draws Criticism for Immigration Comparison

To the Editor:

Shame on Jose Huizar (“King’s Dream Seen as Key to Immigration,” Town Topics, January 23) for invoking the good name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the benefit of the illegal immigration mess.

Dr. King worked tirelessly for a group of law-abiding Americans who were being treated in an appalling fashion. The real victims of illegal immigration today are the hundreds of millions of Americans and legal immigrants who are paying through the nose on a daily basis for the 12 million people who chose to defy the current immigration policy, which Mr. Huizar wants to see changed. Mr. Huizar would do better to look at the human rights of his native country and ask why so many of his countrymen flock to the United States illegally, then fix that problem.

TOM ROONEY
Jefferson Road

Friends of Blawenburg Village School Thanked for Trike-A-Thon Donations

To the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the families and friends of the Blawenburg Village School for their generous donations to our Advent Outreach Project. This year, BVS held a Trike-A-Thon to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In addition to teaching children riding toy safety, our Trike-A-Thon raised $4,800 for children with serious medical conditions.

Our preschool students and teachers did their part by doing laps on our pretend trails named Teddy Bear Drive and Huggins Circle. Many rode tricycles, scooters, and tot riding toys while others walked as Christmas music was motivating them in the background. BVS families, members of the Blawenburg Reformed Church, and other members of the community generously gave to a very worthwhile cause. The children learned that there are some girls and boys in need of a great deal of medicine, a lesson even our youngest understood. It was a very heartwarming experience to see them work together and support other children.

LAURA SARUBBI
Interim Director
Blawenburg Village School

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