Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 26
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
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May 13 Beaver Incident Leads to Township Follow-Up With Guide

Ellen Gilbert

The agitated response by some private citizens and elected officials to the May 13 killing of two beavers at Pettoranello Garden in Princeton Township by Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson has not been forgotten. At Monday evening’s Township Committee meeting, Administrator Jim Pascale announced that the Department of Health “has been active in following up on this matter,” and that after ”several meetings” they have “come up with a standard operating procedures manual that will give guidance and direction by species to the Animal Control Officer.”

“When he gets a call,” Mr. Pascale explained, “he will have an outline on how to proceed.” He added that the Department of Health would continue to discuss the manual, which is still in draft form. The guidebook is being shared with appropriate state offices and should be “locked up by the end of summer,” according to Mr. Pascale.

Other announcements at the meeting included Engineer Bob Kiser’s news that Alexander Road will be opened up to one lane with “limited passage” beginning this Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Township advises anyone with questions about the ongoing project to contact the West Windsor Township Engineering Division at (609) 799-9396.

In response to Township Committee’s request for a review of “collateral issues” regarding the proposed Arts and Transit neighborhood, Attorney Ed Schmierer reported that, after studying the relevant laws, he is “satisfied that the University does have the right to move the Dinky terminus at their expense.”

Mr. Schmierer lauded the Borough’s interest in creating a “transit zone” in the existing right of way (the current site of the Dinky terminus), but did not agree with it. “I think that the purpose of trying to do that was to reserve a right of way for future transportation initiatives” which remain “unclear,” he explained. He advised the Township not to join the Borough in exploring the concept, but suggested that the question be brought before the Planning Board, for consideration as a “circulation element” in the Master Plan. This scenario would give the community one year to adopt the area if and when the University expresses interest in using it. “Adopting a transit zone would not do this,” he concluded.

Mayor Chad Goerner reminded everyone of the July 25 joint meeting of Township Committee and Borough Council to consider the Joint Consolidation/Shared Services Study Commission’s report, which endorses consolidation of the two Princetons. Mr. Goerner gave particular credit to Commission Chair Anton Lahnston and project consultant CGR (Center for Governmental Research) in helping to identify the approximately $3.1 million in savings (about five percent of the municipalities’ budgets) that would accrue as a result of consolidation. “It will make an impact,” he noted. 

The Open Space Tax should remain at two cents, said Citizens Finance Advisory Committee Chairman (CFACC) Scott Sillars in the “open space tax report” at the conclusion of the public portion of the meeting. If consolidation is approved, this amount would probably be revisited next year as new plans are made. Other CFACC suggestions for the future included establishing procedures to more accurately identify and track open space-related expenditures. The Open Space Tax currently generates about $940,000.

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