June 24, 2020

Experience, Expertise, Responsiveness Make Cohen An Effective Legislator for Town

To the Editor:

I’m writing to support David Cohen, a Democrat on the Princeton Town Council who is seeking re-election. 

I met David last year, when my neighbors and I attended a meeting of the planning board, on which David sits, to express our concerns about a developer’s plan to tear down a house at the end of our street and build two larger houses in its place. Our street has 25 or so modest homes on tree-filled quarter acre lots, and we were concerned both that the planned 4,500-square-foot houses would be out of character and that stormwater runoff would make the homes on the downhill side of the development vulnerable to flooding.

At the meeting, David — an architect by training — listened intently to our concerns and suggested several concrete solutions. Thanks to David, the town required the developer to adopt a more rigorous stormwater management plan and to create a conservation easement, preserving several trees on the property. 

Since then, I’ve learned that David’s conscientious approach is characteristic of his work in town governance. In debates over a proposal to limit FAR waivers, for instance — an effort to discourage tear-downs by limiting the size of new construction on smaller lots — David both articulated the importance of preserving Princeton’s affordability and demonstrated his willingness to listen to good faith objections about the measure’s unintended consequences. His approach to this issue — listening deeply, adjusting his position where he felt it was warranted, always keeping core values in mind — is typical of David’s decision-making. 

Since March, David has devoted himself to ameliorating the effects of COVID-19 in our community. He was instrumental in moving the town’s land use boards (planning, zoning, historical preservation) to a virtual platform, working closely with municipal staff, board members, and town attorneys to ensure the boards continued to operate in a transparent, participatory, and lawful way. In addition, David has been working closely with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Economic Development Committee, and town staff to rebalance our streets to accommodate COVID-related changes, such as reduced car traffic, increased bike and pedestrian use, and retail businesses’ desire to use some of the public right-of-way for outdoor commerce (dining or sales). The plan, soon to be rolled out, is a result of this group’s near-daily meetings and commitment to seeing our town through this crisis. Finally, the neighborhood Buddy Initiative that David proposed and developed last year has, over the past several months, been an essential resource to seniors and others with limited mobility. When I volunteered, I wasn’t surprised to discover that it was David himself who emailed to connect me with my “buddy.”

David’s experience and expertise, his responsiveness to constituents, his ability to devise creative solutions to our town’s challenges, and his willingness to roll up his sleeves to get the job done have all made him an extremely effective legislator for our town. Please join me in supporting David in the upcoming primary. Now more than ever, Princeton needs leaders like David.

Jane Manners
Wheatsheaf Lane