February 26, 2019

Placement of Municipal Gas Pump A Poor Decision, Misguided Use of Money

To the Editor:

OK—I get it. The Princeton First Aid Squad has needed a new home for a long time and locating the new headquarters across from the Municipal Complex/Police Department makes all the sense in the world. However, the new location also meant moving the “Municipal Gas Pump” to the adjacent property bounded by Terhune Road, Witherspoon Street, Route 206, and Cherry Hill Road.

When most of the mature trees were taken down last fall, my concern piqued, but maybe they were diseased with ash borer beetles? Nevertheless, strike one — the municipality would probably prevent me from removing established, large trees from my property. Then the surrounding privacy chain link fence was erected to obscure the public’s view from what’s being built and now I know why — strike two. Initially, what looks to be an above-ground gasoline storage tank was intrusive, but last week when two large steel support posts towering over the fence were erected, I sensed a significant problem. And now, the atrocious, commercially lit square canopy is just begging for a neon Exxon sign — strike three.

What are our municipal officials thinking? If I lived within sight of a new, unsightly, 100 percent commercial structure, I’d want a reduction of my property taxes. The neighbors can’t be happy nor am I, as it’s near enough to my home to be an irritating nuisance. Why couldn’t they at least have buried the tank and/or installed a canopy that had some aesthetic value (if they even needed a canopy)?  I might have suggested an alternate, less public location for the gas pump (maybe behind the old Packet building adjacent to the municipal yard) but our municipal officials may think that the current location provides a nice “Welcome to Princeton” statement. No matter how it may be landscaped, it’s shaping up to be downright UGLY, a poor decision and a misguided use of our tax money!

Barry Goldblatt
Andrews Lane