October 17, 2012

Council Votes to Protect Western Section, Approves AvalonBay Plan for Eastern Side

To the Editor;

The recent unanimous vote by Borough Council to recommend the formation of an Historic District in the “western Section” is a stark contrast to their unanimous vote some months ago to recommend zoning changes that facilitated AvalonBay’s (AB) proposed development of the former hospital site and in some cases the outright advocacy by Council members for the AvalonBay project against the will of almost every citizen who expressed an opinion at the Council meetings when those amendments were being considered.

In last Wednesday’s, October 10, Town Topics (“Borough Council Introduces Historic District Ordinance”) “Barbara Trelstad, a former resident of the western section, said she is concerned about preserving its character. ‘A house was torn down on Hodge Road five years ago, and replaced by a new, modern house’, she said. ‘There are a couple of others on Library Place.’”

What about the eastern side of town? Is the “character” of that section totally expendable? And I am not talking about one McMansion. We are talking about a housing development of 280 apartment units; five stories tall; an overall building size that is roughly the size of Princeton’s football stadium; a building facade that is 485 feet long — probably the longest street frontage in all of Princeton; and a design that completely walls off an entire town block. This building is proposed on a site that sits in the middle of two distinct yet vibrant neighborhoods consisting of: one and two family two story homes. By any measure the proposed AB development is completely out of scale with the adjoining neighborhoods. It is larger than the entire new Palmer Square residences and even out of scale relative to the entire town of Princeton.

So my question to Borough Council: Why are you advocating to preserve the character of one neighborhood at the same time that you are advocating the utter destruction of another? The hypocrisy is stunning.

Joseph H. Weiss

Leigh Avenue