November 28, 2018

Anyone Concerned About Princeton’s Character Should Come to Dec. 12 Zoning Board Meeting

To the Editor:

In the November 21 Mailbox, Lincoln Hollister spoke about the environmental concerns of the Ridgeview neighborhood regarding the proposed zoning variance (introduced November 14) to allow a 5,000-square-foot McMansion be built on a non-conforming undeveloped lot.

Mr. Hollister’s letter was prescient, given the concerns of numerous residents regarding the influx of McMansions in the Princeton area voiced at the November 19 Town Council meeting. Over the course of that meeting, it was clear that Princeton residents are frustrated by the free reign allowed to developers to build oversized McMansions with no concern for the surrounding neighborhood.

We applaud the attempts by Mayor Lempert and the Council to preserve the character of the town from McMansions. Unfortunately, the whole Princeton area is under assault from these out-of-place spec homes. The proposed McMansion on an undeveloped lot at 394 Ridgeview Road is a microcosm of all issues angering Princeton residents about zoning, with an added layer of environmental concerns for good measure.

The proposed home on fails most of the criteria outlined by the council to give homes neighborhood character, in addition to failing any sort of fit test for the surrounding neighborhood.

Ridgeview Road is comprised predominantly of long-term self-selected residents who have a desire to preserve the unique nature of the Princeton Ridge and have built or moved into homes that reflect this mindset. Ridgeview residents have already seen a case study of the proposed mass market home at 394 Ridgeview with the new home built by the same developer next door on 500 Ridgeview. It is clear that our faith in the Zoning Board to protect us was misplaced and we were caught flatfooted by this first McMansion. A second house of this nature on a smaller lot would be catastrophic.

The variance for the second home on 500 Ridgeview will be up for reconsideration during the next Zoning Board meeting on December 12 at 7:30 pm in municipal hall. Rejecting the application for a variance will be a key step in allowing the community to work with the developer to preserve the wetlands as well as the character of the neighborhood.

We hope all who are concerned about preservation of Princeton’s character and the environment will come to the Zoning Board meeting and send a message to the Zoning Board other municipal Boards and Council that the concerns of Princeton residents trump the needs of developers. The Zoning Board must respond to the entreaties of the community and not act as a rubber stamp for developers with no personal stake in the neighborhoods in which they build.

Jaspal Singh

Ridgeview Road