July 22, 2020

Expressing Concerns About Impact of Proposed Change on Franklin/Maple Site

To the Editor:

On July 13, the municipality of Princeton introduced draft Ordinance 2020-25. This proposed overlay ordinance, as written, allows for “up to” 160 apartments to be built on the Franklin/Maple site, which is between Witherspoon Street and Jefferson Road.

Pursuant to proposed Ordinance 2020-25, the municipality could add up to 80 market rate apartments to the 80 affordable apartments that are currently designated for the site. Therefore, proposed Ordinance 2020-25, if adopted, would allow for up to 160 apartments.

Though I am a supporter of more affordable housing being built in Princeton, I, as both a resident of Princeton and resident of an adjacent street, have concerns about the impact of the proposed change from 80 apartments on the Franklin/Maple site to “up to” 160 affordable and market-rate apartments. The site is only 3.2 acres and it was studied in 2018 and 2019 and it was determined that 80 units was the appropriate number of units for this site.

There will obviously be impacts and consequences if there is such an increase in building bulk, units, people, children, and cars occurs. As the site is only 3.2 acres, the “up to” 160 housing units translates to a density of “up to” 50 units per acre. The draft ordinance also allows for all buildings to be up to 5 stories/55 ft. and allows for 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

It is important that residents of the adjacent neighborhoods be aware of the two  limited opportunities to submit questions, comments, and concerns prior to a vote to adopt or deny the proposed ordinance. Questions, comments, and concerns can be submitted to (1) the Planning Board (July 23 meeting) and (2) mayor and Council (July 27 meeting). As both meetings are virtual meetings, there are instructions on the municipal website princetonnj.gov (Meetings and Agendas) for submitting written questions, comments, and concerns.

The “up to” 160 units proposal is currently not part of the Princeton Affordable Housing Plan that was submitted to the Court and subsequently found to be acceptable by the judge and Fair Share Housing, the litigant.

Michael Floyd
Harris Road