Increased Development Along Ridge Could Increase Flooding, Residents Say
The Princeton Environmental Commission has begun discussions that could result in a change in zoning standards along the portion of Princeton Township known as the Princeton Ridge.
The Ridge runs roughly along the northern portion of the Township between Route 206 and Province Line Road.
A handful of residents living along the Ridge came out in support of such changes at a hearing last Wednesday, in hopes that a revision in zoning might reduce the impact of overdeveloping what has been deemed an "environmentally-sensitive" part of the Township.
The discussions stem from the prospect of increased development in the area. Residents have worried that more building, along with pervious surfaces, could lead to flooding and exacerbate potential sinkholes, which some residents said are caused by a flow of underground water.
A subdivision proposal on a double lot at 50 Woodland Drive was the latest example of the residents' concerns.
"I felt that it was wooded area that was built into the area as green area," said Jeanne Fountain, a resident of Woodland. "In a way, I think we have an ideal cluster neighborhood in the way of open space, but we're an old neighborhood and I'm open to the idea of rezoning."
Robert Kiser, Township Engineer, said that the concerns were valid, but that the discussions were still preliminary: "Clearly, the neighbors are concerned with maintaining the integrity of their neighborhood."
George Bloosten, Ms. Fountain's husband, said the sloping nature of the Ridge would cause potential runoff onto lower properties like his. "People across the street would be impacted by runoff," he said, adding that when the neighborhood was developed, the area was regraded, bringing the potential for the underground water to surface.
Most of the lots around Woodland Drive, which include those on Hilltop Drive and Mansgrove Road, are roughly a half acre. What is unique about that area, however, is that there are additional lots behind the Woodland Drive lots that have the same owners. What can easily happen, residents fear, is that the property owners may consider subdividing those lots.
The area could, as a result, suffer if lots are increasingly subdivided, Mr. Kiser said: "To develop these lots in quarter-acre zoning would, in my estimation, be extremely difficult, and it could potentially impact neighbors in this area by creating additional runoff."
The Environmental Commission is drafting a letter outlining its concerns to the Zoning Amendment Review Committee, the Regional Planning Board of Princeton, and Township Committee.