Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 10
 
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
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Consolidation Advocate Casey Lambert Is Endorsed for Township Committee

JAMES FLOYD
Harris Road

Gas Pipeline Safety Setbacks Needed in Proposed Bunn Drive Development

JEANNE FOUNTAIN
Potomac, Md.

Size of 2009 Property Tax Increase Will Fluctuate With Home Valuation

HENRY J. FRANK
Valley Road

Former Bus Driver and Crossing Guard Thanked for Years of Serving Children

B. GRANT FRASER
Shady Brook Lane

Former Mayor Says a Freeholder Koontz Would Keep County Board ‘In Balance’

Marvin R. Reed
Cameron Court


Consolidation Advocate Casey Lambert Is Endorsed for Township Committee

To the Editor:

I am delighted that Casey Lambert, who served with distinction on Township Committee several years ago, has decided to run again for the term that begins in January 2009.

I have known Ms. Lambert for a long time and have admired her ability to get things done. She was an outstanding member of the Consolidation Commission in 1995, and still believes that it would have brought great benefits to our community. Now she would like to join forces with the Borough in whatever ways possible for the betterment of the two Princetons. She would instantly take steps to stop the bickering over small matters and create major task forces to tackle areas of major, common concern. I applaud that.

She would also work hard to make Township government more transparent and responsive. I applaud that too, and I believe she can make it happen. 1 know her to be fair, thoughtful, and consensual. We need these qualities on Township Committee, together with energy, intelligence, and management experience, all of which she has. In addition, she has served on a whole range of Township commissions and boards, giving her much needed insights as to the ways these groups work and how they might be improved.

I told Ms. Lambert that it would be a disservice to the Township if she did not run. Happily, she has thrown her hat in the ring and I hope my friends will join me in voting for her at the March 30 PCDO endorsement meeting, and on June 3.

JAMES FLOYD
Harris Road

Gas Pipeline Safety Setbacks Needed in Proposed Bunn Drive Development

To the Editor:

In 2005, as a resident of Princeton Township, I became involved in opposing the Hovnanian plan to build senior housing on Bunn Drive. I was concerned about the two Transco natural gas transmission pipelines that run through the proposed development. Other nearby communities had ordinances that would prevent building so close to the pipelines. Why didn’t Princeton?

Pipeline companies are required by law to monitor blasting near their pipelines and are not in position to object to construction that is outside of their pipeline easement, lest they be financially responsible for loss of land value. But pipeline incidents do happen. According to the federal Office of Pipeline Safety, the number of major incidents involving natural gas transmission pipelines rose from 64 in 1995 to 118 in 2004. Three incidents in 2004 involved the Williams Transco Pipeline in New Jersey.

Pipeline companies themselves would like governments to set standards for building setbacks from their transmission pipeline easements. In testimony before Congress, an official from Transco’s parent company, speaking on behalf of the pipeline industry, lamented that mandatory setback ordinances aren’t more common. The sad fact is that Edison, New Jersey, Austin, Texas, and the State of Washington set up guidelines only after catastrophic pipeline accidents.

When it abandoned the Bunn Drive project Hovnanian pointed to the expense of fighting environmentalists. I like to think that the developer also was beginning to see that the environmentalists were making sense. I wonder how much J. Robert Hillier understands about pipeline safety, and if he was informed would he proceed with his plans?

In 2005, Mayor Marchand and the Township Committee failed to heed the federal call for attention to pipeline safety. Yet local communities have to step up and take responsibility. Hillsborough passed its own pipeline ordinance, modeled on Edison’s, establishing 75-foot setbacks from transmission pipelines. Lawrenceville’s ordinance provides 150-foot buffer zones.

I hope that Robert Hillier will follow up with a study of pipeline safety risks and include pipeline safety setbacks in his planning. Meanwhile, citizens need to let Princeton Township officials know that they are concerned about pipeline safety.

As a Hillsborough township official said when announcing Hillsborough’s pipeline setback ordinance: “Our concern is for the citizen who lives near a pipeline.”

JEANNE FOUNTAIN
Potomac, Md.

Editor’s Note: The writer, a former Princeton resident, was an active participant in the Route 206 Vision Plan.

Size of 2009 Property Tax Increase Will Fluctuate With Home Valuation

To the Editor:

The forthcoming property revaluation is not the cause of an increase in property taxes. Property taxes will be higher in 2009 than they were in 2008 for the same reason they were higher in 2007 than in 2006: Mercer County, Princeton Regional Schools, and Princeton Township spent more in that year than they did the previous year.

In 2009, owners of property that increased in value between 1995 and 2008 more than the median increase will be paying more than the average increase in taxes in 2009 over 2008. Owners whose property increased in value between 1995 and 2008 less than the median increase will be paying less than the average increase in taxes in 2009 over 2008.

HENRY J. FRANK
Valley Road

Former Bus Driver and Crossing Guard Thanked for Years of Serving Children

To the Editor:

For about 40 years Wynetta Williams has devoted much of her adult life to the care and overseeing of the well-being of our children. First as a school receptionist, then for 23 years a school bus driver, and more recently for 12 years as a crossing guard. A diminutive woman in size but not in heart, Wynetta served our community with unmatched love, grace, and charm. Just like a Mother Hen, each day she safely shepherded and inspired the energetic and enthusiastic smiles of her faithful charges with a warm smile and best wishes for a good day. Children for several generations arrived at school with the spirit of Wynetta in their hearts and minds.

The Princeton Police Department has honored Ms. Williams with a wonderful memento to commemorate her many years of faithful service. We all owe Wynetta Williams a huge token of thanks and a big hug for making each school day a little brighter and better for our children. Thank you, Wynetta!

B. GRANT FRASER
Shady Brook Lane

Former Mayor Says a Freeholder Koontz Would Keep County Board ‘In Balance’

To the Editor:

In finding a replacement for Elizabeth Muoio, who is resigning to become Mercer County’s Economic Director, the Board of Freeholders has a wealth of bright, young talent from which to draw.

Most deserving, however — and a wise choice to keep the Board in balance — is Princeton Borough Councilman Andrew Koontz.

Having demonstrated his popularity and skill in continually winning elections, Koontz is well known for his advocacy of tight budgeting, expanding recreational activities, and a community-orientation to local policing.

As chair of the local Democratic Municipal Committee, he has built a strong organizational base to advance a progressive people-oriented agenda. He knows how to tackle redevelopment projects, to untangle traffic congestion, support local retail, and expand parking as well as transit opportunities.

His experience with managing many cost-saving shared services in the Princetons — joint fire, recreation, library, community TV, health, human service, sewer, and planning departments — has won him not only support in the Borough but in surrounding Princeton Township as well.

Andrew Koontz brings not only knowledge and energy, but also a sharp eye that would well serve the Freeholder Board and the interests of all Mercer County taxpayers.

Marvin R. Reed
Cameron Court

Mr. Reed is a former mayor of Princeton Borough.

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