University Hopes to Move Forward With E-Quad Proposal Compromise
In a decisive effort to move forward with a proposal to increase development space in its Engineering Quadrangle (E-Quad), Princeton University has put forth a concept that could result in a compromise with residents of the surrounding neighborhood by keeping in place a one-story building that had been slated for demolition.
Under the revised plan, Von Neumann, an energy research lab, would remain, as would a 250-foot development setback abutting Murray Place.
The University is looking for an additional 100,000 square feet of development on the E-Quad, zoned in the Borough as the E-3 district. Approval for expansion, which includes a 50-foot heavily landscaped buffer, would require the use of a jitney transportation system to shuttle employees and students to the Engineering School.
University officials and residents of Murray Place and surrounding streets appeared last Thursday before the Regional Planning Board of Princeton as the Board considered referring the ordinance back to Borough Council, which had decided to hold off introducing the law earlier this year.
The University maintains that it needs to expand its development potential in the E-3, originally created in 1990, in order to extend the Engineering School's research and teaching space. According to University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkeets, the most urgent development prospects include expanding the Operations, Research, and Financial Engineering (ORFE) department and finding additional space for work conducted at the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM).
In past discussions, residents have sought a clearer picture of what the University intends to build on the site, but since a change in the zoning ordinance is requested and not a site plan for construction the University does not have specific plans for new buildings.
Following the University's presentation to the Planning Board, neighbors said they had a 47-signature petition opposing the school's original plan, but that a new plan, as outlined, might be favored. Both the University and residents agreed that more discussion would be needed before Borough Council reviews a new ordinance. A date for that municipal review has not yet been set.