October 17, 2012

AvalonBay Refuses Retail Space, Compost, Green Building Materials

To the Editor:

Can Princeton afford AvalonBay’s refusals? In 2006 Planning Board discussions leading to the new Master Plan for the hospital zone, virtually everyone agreed that local retail is necessary and desirable for the economic and social viability of any development on the hospital site — and for the surrounding neighborhood as well. Yet Avalon refuses to allow space for local mixed retail stores, specifically permitted in Borough Code that caps local retail space at 6 percent and provides no minimum. Why? 550 people who do not have access to local shops will have to drive to get what they need, adding to pollution in an already congested downtown. (Unofficial transcripts of Planning Board hearings are now in the public domain: contact Daniel A. Harris, dah43@comcast.net, to receive a copy.)

Avalon refuses to provide for composting of food waste: “We’re not in the composting business,” stated Ron Ladell at the SPRAG meeting on 10/10/12. Food waste for 550 people will have to go to already overflowing landfills or shipped off to Indiana or Ohio, with out-of-state fees for dumping.

Avalon has refused to use green building materials, from local sources, that will not deplete or endanger our environment. Avalon has not even committed to using materials with recycled content or water-efficient appliances (as requested by the Princeton Environmental Commission in their memorandum dated 10/4/12). Avalon’s own investors have demanded that their company be as green as their glossy website page on “Sustainability” says they are. The economic and environmental impact of these refusals on the Princeton community is unconscionable.

Suzanne Nash

Governors Lane