May 1, 2013

On Princeton Leadership’s Dismaying Settlement Position in AvalonBay Matter

To the Editor:

I am quite dismayed about our Princeton leadership’s settlement position in the AvalonBay matter. In the consent agreement signed by counsel for Princeton Mayor and Council, and the Princeton Planning Board; our Princeton leaders have agreed to the following:

“If the Planning Board denies the application or imposes conditions on its approval of the application that AvalonBay opposes, AvalonBay, at its option, may continue with the current litigation while, if it so chooses, filing litigation challenging the Planning Board’s denial of the Application or conditions imposed on an approval of the Application ….”

This is a remarkable solution that essentially abdicates Princeton’s right to review and object to AvalonBay’s new application. If Princeton objects to the “yet to be submitted application” and AvalonBay does not agree with the objections raised, then AvalonBay has the right to bring two legal actions against Princeton. This is a double-barreled legal shotgun pointed directly at the application review process. What had been a considered review process which addressed Princeton’s regulations and community concerns, is now a rubber-stamping exercise. Through this settlement condition, AvalonBay has now established itself as both the applicant and Planning Board. Our leadership also agreed to other conditions which salt the wound. Princeton has agreed to an expedited process with limitations on public testimony. Perhaps once you have given the Planning Board seats to AvalonBay, you might as well let them control the complete process.

Vincent Giordano

Maple Street

Editor’s note: The writer is a corporate attorney for General Electric who focuses on environmental issues.