Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 21
 
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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Conflicting Influences Often Weighed in Complex Planning Board Decisions

PETER MADISON
Snowden Lane

Sidewalk/Bikeway Advisory Committee Thanks Walk & Bike Rally Participants

JANET HEROUX, Chair
DAVID ATKINS
AUDREY CHEN
DAVID EGGER
FRED GODSTEIN
Township Sidewalk and Bikeway Advisory Committee

5K Run at Stuart Country Day Raised $7,000 for Visiting Authors Program

FRANCES DE LA CHAPELLE, RSCJ
Headmistress
Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart

Nursery School Turning to Community to Replace Lost United Way Funding

DIANE SANDAHL
President, Board of Trustees
Princeton Nursery School
Leigh Avenue


Conflicting Influences Often Weighed in Complex Planning Board Decisions

To the Editor:

While I cannot speak for my fellow Planning Board members, I found last week’s letter from Jane Buttars (Town Topics, May 14) to be, if not hostile, offensive. In weighing complicated issues, Board members consider many factors in reaching a decision that is best for all of Princeton, often representing a compromise influenced by New Jersey Land Use Law and legal ramifications.

The overlay plan and its recent ordinance have progressively reduced the acres of land that would be disturbed at the Lowe site, partially by concentrating the density of development to a small area of the total site. This is a far better plan than the 90,000 square foot office building and 400+ parking spaces permitted by the underlying zoning.

Changing the zoning to preserve open space, while admirable, could be considered within a legal environment as a taking of the land, potentially subjecting the Township and its residents to buying the property at market value. The Planning Board is not empowered to nor should it incur that kind of debt that would raise property taxes for Princeton residents.

Yes, the Princeton Shopping Center would be an ideal site, but Ms. Buttars fails to mention that the owner’s proposal eight years ago for senior housing required intensive development of the Center itself with condominiums, an office building, and parking garage that was strongly opposed by the adjacent community.

Far from being “folly,” the work of our officials requires consideration of many — sometimes conflicting — influences including active recreation, population growth, increased retail demands, education, health facilities, transportation, cultural resources, and yes, open space. Elected officials, staff, Planning Board members, and other boards and committees appreciate the concerns and commitment of Princeton residents. It is counter-productive to denigrate the contribution and dedication of volunteer officials who often must reach a compromise that best serves all residents.

PETER MADISON
Snowden Lane

Sidewalk/Bikeway Advisory Committee Thanks Walk & Bike Rally Participants

To the Editor:

Many thanks to all who came out to Hinds Plaza on Saturday, May 10 for the “Be Green & Be Seen” community walk & bike rally. You showed that lots of folks in this town want walking and biking to be a normal and safe option for getting around our beautiful community.

It was especially gratifying to see so many local decision-makers at the rally: Mayor Phyllis Marchand, Township Committee member Chad Goerner, and Borough Council members Andy Koontz and Kevin Wilkes. Even our representative in Washington, D.C., Rush Holt, came to show his important support for sustainable transportation.

This event was a true partnership. So many individuals and organizations contributed: Sue Conlon, Chris Scherer, and our neighbors in the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance; Jeff Domanski and Kristin Appleget from Princeton University and their Office of Sustainability; Fran McManus and Whole Earth Natural Grocery; Anthony Soriano and representatives of the David D. Hammar Foundation; Steve Carson and Sustainable Princeton; and the several businesses that contributed $1500 through the Borough Merchants’ Association to buy new bike racks to install downtown. Special thanks, too, to Chris Floor for running a busy bicycle repair workshop; to Traffic Safety Officer Kim Hodges and Borough Detective Courtney Heller for acting as safe cycling role models to the children present; and to local advocates David Kimmel, Ron Lessard, Dan Rappaport, and Mike Suber.

Then there was “YYUKK”, the marvelous band of local high school students — Alex Perry, Senyo Agawu, Theo Lebeaux, and Brian Tarantino — who donated their musical talents to the rally for everyone’s enjoyment.

Most of all we want to thank the bikers and walkers, kids and adults alike, who came to the rally to vote with their feet and their pedals for a green and healthy Princeton.

JANET HEROUX, Chair
DAVID ATKINS
AUDREY CHEN
DAVID EGGER
FRED GODSTEIN
Township Sidewalk and Bikeway Advisory Committee

5K Run at Stuart Country Day Raised $7,000 for Visiting Authors Program

To the Editor:

On behalf of Stuart Country Day School, I want to thank the many people in our community who supported the inaugural Poetry in Motion 5K run/walk held on May 3.

More than 200 people participated in this event, raising more than $7,000 for Stuart’s Visiting Authors Program, a dream of the late Ms. Vickie McCarthy, a beloved teacher and alumna of Stuart.

We are grateful to the many volunteers who made our event go smoothly, and especially to our sponsors — Halo Pub, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, The Pediatric Group, Dunkin’ Donuts-Skillman, Lawrence Grill, Klatzkin and Company, First Choice Bank, and Brown Investment Advisors — each of whom contributed to this wonderful cause.

FRANCES DE LA CHAPELLE, RSCJ
Headmistress
Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart

Nursery School Turning to Community to Replace Lost United Way Funding

To the Editor:

Since 1929, Princeton Nursery School has provided affordable childcare and preschool education to families of modest means. As the demographics in the neighborhood have evolved, the enduring need to build a solid educational foundation has remained. Our families have come to rely on PNS to help them provide their children with a rich preschool experience.

Over the years the United Way of Greater Mercer County has been an important source of funding for PNS. This year the United Way shifted their approach to funding large collaborative initiatives and will not be funding our program. This loss of funding represents 12 percent of our total operating budget.

Although we are sincerely grateful for the support the United Way has provided over the decades and have been proud of our affiliation with them, this loss of funding poses a significant financial challenge for us.

The cost for preschool education and childcare for one child is over $9,000 a year. Most of the families who depend on PNS earn less than $25,000 a year and would find it impossible to maintain this level of care for their children without the support the Princeton community has provided.

As we complete our eighth decade of service, we remain committed to the families we serve. PNS has become part of the fabric of the John Witherspoon community. Our deepest thanks to the community for their continued support.

DIANE SANDAHL
President, Board of Trustees
Princeton Nursery School
Leigh Avenue

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