To the Editor:
The last major untouched portion of the Princeton Ridge, 90 acres of meadow and forest at the crest of Mount Lucas, directly adjoins our street. But the Princeton Planning Board will hear a proposal this coming Thursday to build a large and intrusive housing development there.
The property owner is Lanwin Development Corporation, one of the largest and most aggressive in the state. Their site plan calls for 30 McMansions on half-acre lots, 100 feet from our backyards. It demands wetlands destruction, massive traprock blasting, and the loss of the finest old-growth hardwoods in central New Jersey. Herrontown Lane was designed in the 1970s as a small, explicitly environmental development, the first and only such project in Princeton: buried utilities, no streetlights, minimal disturbance, maximum preservation. The Lanwin site plan is utterly unsuited to the special conditions of the Ridge, and its approval will ruin our peace and privacy, cause serious runoff damage to our homes (and also the hundreds of townhouses along Blue Spring Road), add traffic to narrow, heavily-used Herrontown Road, and create a powerful precedent for the inappropriate development of Jasna Polana and Springdale Golf Course.
We invite anyone interested in the issue of overdevelopment in Princeton to attend the meeting. This hilltop, if preserved, could be the keystone for a spectacular greenway running from Rocky Hill to Lake Carnegie. And these 90 Ridge acres are historic as well as lovely: Annis and Richard Stockton of Morven courted there; George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Paine all knew it well. In later centuries, the Herrontown uplands sustained Dutch, Irish, and African American farmers. Now they protect dozens of threatened and endangered species. To save this last section of the Ridge is to save the best of Princeton.
Time and place: Princeton Municipal Building, Main Auditorium, Thursday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Anne Matthews and Will Howarth