Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 39
 
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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Environmentally Fragile Ridge Area No Place for Luxury Housing Project

DAVID BREITHAUPT
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission
CASEY HEGENER
Member, Princeton Environmental Commission
WILLIAM WOLFE
Chair, Site Plan Review Advisory Board

Contributors Thanked for Supporting Eden Family of Services Fund-Raiser

THOMAS P. McCOOL, Ed.D.
President and CEO
Eden Family of Services


Environmentally Fragile Ridge Area No Place for Luxury Housing Project

To the Editor:

The market has spoken. Two developers have told Princeton Township officials that there is no need for senior housing as proposed in the Township’s “overlay zone” ordinance calling for housing for those 62+. While we have been in favor of a place for us seniors to downsize in Princeton, both Hovnanian and Hillier have determined that there are not enough of us to justify a 140-unit development on the environmentally fragile Ridge. These developers have indicated that the only way to justify this huge project will be to pursue the high end of the market and reduce the age requirement to 55, making this a more general luxury housing project without specific features for seniors.

A change to permit occupants 55-plus or a change to require only one of the occupants to be 62-plus will allow the potential for school students and thus an increase in taxes not usually associated with senior housing. Given the recent voting down of the school budget, these considerable community costs will place further pressure on future budgets.

In addition, there are plans for at least another 79 senior condo units on the Ridge for a minimum of 219. These other developers will surely ask for the same age reduction concession being requested by Hillier if it is granted.

As proposed in the past, a smaller number of housing units closer to amenities will suffice, which suggests once again that sites such as the Princeton Shopping Center, the vacated hospital site and/or Merwick are much preferred. This would put seniors closer to conveniences/amenities with less dependence on cars and less traffic generation. Our officials should open discussions with the Shopping Center and explore the other closer-in senior locations soon to be available.

If the purpose of the overlay zone on our most fragile environment was to accommodate a social need, then this may be the cue to remove the overlay zone. What is being proposed on the Ridge is not good for seniors nor for the environment, and could increase school costs adding to property taxes.

DAVID BREITHAUPT
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission
CASEY HEGENER
Member, Princeton Environmental Commission
WILLIAM WOLFE
Chair, Site Plan Review Advisory Board

Contributors Thanked for Supporting Eden Family of Services Fund-Raiser

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Eden Family of Services, I want to thank our generous community for supporting Eden by Moonlight, Club Speakeasy, which took place September 15 at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset. The evening helped to raise awareness, new friends, and much needed funds for Eden and the children and adults with autism whose special needs Eden serves.

Unfortunately, the public funding we receive through school districts and state agencies does not fully cover the cost of the comprehensive array of services Eden provides for individuals with autism and their families. Thus, in order to ensure the continued sustainability of those services, we rely on events such as Eden by Moonlight and the generosity of our extended Eden family to help make up this shortfall.

We are deeply grateful to our dedicated steering committee, led by co-chairs Virginia Scarano and Ehab Abousabe; our sponsors and patrons; our many volunteers; the outstanding Palace at Somerset Park staff for their excellent service; the staff of Jennifer Angelo Design, who provided the beautiful décor; and everyone else who helped to bring our 1920s Speakeasy-themed event to life. Also, special thanks to the many individuals and businesses who helped keep costs down by generously donating silent auction prizes or other goods and services for the event.

Finally, please know how much we appreciate the individual donations of so many of our friends and neighbors who attended and supported Eden by Moonlight. Their generosity is making it possible for Eden to realize its dream — of individuals with autism learning, growing, working, and leading productive lives in their communities.

THOMAS P. McCOOL, Ed.D.
President and CEO
Eden Family of Services

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