Plans for Redevelopment May Continue, Says Court
A state appellate court recently upheld the Borough's decision to redevelop parts of Spring Street, allowing the project, which has received ongoing objections from the Concerned Citizens of Princeton, to continue.
The downtown redevelopment project, which turns two Spring Street parking lots into housing, shops, and a parking complex, will continue as planned after the court said on June 30 that arguments in the suit had no merit.
"The court made it clear that the Concerned Citizens had no basis and law on which to pursue the case," Borough Mayor Joe O'Neill said in a telephone interview. Founded in 2002, the Concerned Citizens of Princeton Borough is a nonprofit group formed to oppose downtown redevelopment. The group first took the Borough to court in January 2003 because it disapproved of the Borough's use of $13.7 million of the town's money to pay for the project. The group made two previous attempts to stop the project; first to block the bond ordinance, and then to prevent the Borough from expending additional funds. Both legal battles were unsuccessful.
Calls made to the Concerned Citizens of Princeton were unreturned Tuesday before Town Topics' deadline.
But while the group has now been defeated three times, it is expected to petition the state Supreme Court to review the case and seek legal action to halt completion of the project.
Mayor O'Neill said he questions the group's motives, as the lawsuit has cost the Borough over $100,000 thus far: "They're certainly not concerned about the Borough taxpayer," he said.
The $13.7 million cost of the project to the Borough covers construction of the 500-space garage, public plaza, and walkways. Nassau HKT Associates will finance the cost of Building A, which will be located adjacent to the library, and Building C, which will be located on Spring Street. Nassau HKT will lease this land from the Borough for a period of 99 years.
The third phase of the project is still in the design process, and will be discussed at a future Borough Council meeting, said Mayor O'Neill.