June 2, 2021

To the Editor:

Princeton is clearly a community that cares about the environment and big issues like climate change. And yet, with all we do, it’s easy to wonder whether our actions are equal to the climate emergency. Our congresswoman, Bonnie Watson Coleman, has taken a step that is equal to the climate challenge by cosponsoring the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 2307. The bill would put a steadily rising fee on carbon and return the funds to households.

The third thing the bill would do is to establish a border adjustment. “The border adjustment might actually be the most important feature,” according to Citizens Climate Lobby Executive Director Mark Reynolds, “because what the border adjustment essentially says [to] other countries [is], ‘If you don’t put a price on carbon in your country, we’re going to impose it here.’” more

To the Editor:

The Harry’s Brook watershed is recorded to be one of the “flashiest” in the country. That means that it does not take much rain to produce a flash flood. I live on Harry’s Brook, and in the last decade what used to be called 100-year floods have, for some of my neighbors, become five-year, two-year, or even one-year floods. Every time the Zoning or Planning Boards issue a variance allowing for an increase in impervious surfaces on a lot on our street, the mismanagement is made visible by our eroding backyards and flooded basements. The typical excuse for the variance is “property rights,” but what about the property rights of people who have owned their properties for decades? And why should taxpayers have to pay more because these variances are making our stormwater infrastructure issues significantly worse?

The developer of the last over-sized house built on our street was told by the Planning Board to plant native trees and install rain gardens. The trees were not native, they died, and the rain gardens were poorly designed. Now the new owners are stuck having to cut down the dead trees and their unresolved water issues contribute to the downstream flooding. I am amazed that the Zoning and Planning Boards have not figured out that the only people benefiting from the construction of over-sized houses, that increase impervious surfaces, are the developers; not the new buyers or the existing homeowners.

This has to stop. To effectively manage Princeton stormwater issues, I want to encourage residents to demand that the Zoning and Planning Boards put a moratorium on variances that increase impervious surfaces. Princeton has a strong ordinance that requires stormwater management for new development. If we are going to begin to address flooding in neighborhoods like mine, we also need to ensure that stormwater is managed with green infrastructure when appropriate redevelopment occurs, and we need enforcement.

Carolyn Rouse
Wheatsheaf Lane

To the Editor:

Recently, letters were sent to the Town Topics Mailbox addressing parking, bicycle lanes, housing, and the shopping center enlargement proposals. I agree with the points made, and would like to add some thoughts below:

1. Why is the shopping center site up for grabs again for adding more “affordable” housing in an area that has seen increased traffic over the last 10-15 years on Terhune, Valley, and Harrison? If Council members had done their homework, the wooded area abutting the shopping center and Terhune was voted down for additional housing many years ago through the efforts of northeast residents. The little park is used for baseball games. The shopping center is used as a meeting place, exercise walks, and has ample parking for a comeback of more restaurants, gyms, shops, and venues for seasonal events. Leave our little ’50s style shopping center and surrounding green space alone!

2. Valley Road School. Why has it taken so long for Council and the School Board to make a decision to renovate this historic building built by our esteemed Italian masons 100 years ago? Valley Road School was discarded for renovation due to “mold” issues, only to be replaced by a new $20 million municipal building which developed mold issues — resulting in more cost to the taxpayers. Could Valley Road possibly be considered for condo-type housing with a small gym and grocery store to house our growing senior population? And perhaps the open space next to the Valley Road School might be redesigned for outdoor activities such as concerts, festivals, etc. when not in use for sporting events. There is ample free parking nearby. The building is near Witherspoon for a short drive or walk into town; 206 is nearby for access to points north and south. The same might be true for considering the unused “recreation” space near Community Park School. A diverse population lives in that area and would welcome more affordable housing. Plenty of parking there and access to town.  more

May 26, 2021

51 YEARS AT PHS: Joyce Jones, who will be retiring at the end of this year, in a 1970s Princeton High School (PHS) yearbook photo. Last Thursday, May 20, was Joyce Jones Day at PHS, celebrating her 51 years of service as a physical education teacher, coach, and peer group leader “with a vision for her students.” (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)

By Donald Gilpin

Celebrating Joyce Jones,” the banner read. “Teaching us to learn from the past, prepare for the future, and embrace the present.”

Last Thursday, May 20, was Joyce Jones Day at Princeton High School (PHS), honoring Jones on the eve of her retirement after 51 years at PHS — as physical education teacher, coach, and peer group program leader.

The celebrations included banners and balloons, music, commemorative pins, a special Princeton proclamation, and a wide range of tributes and reminiscences from former and current colleagues and guests.

In a phone interview last Saturday, Jones reflected on her career at PHS and “the moments when I think I’ve made a difference.”

She recalled the last meeting of her peer group leaders a few years ago when a graduating senior got up to speak: “‘Thank you for teaching my mom how to be a leader and facilitator,’ he said, and he also named his two brothers who had been in peer group. ‘And I’m the last one and I want to say thank you as well.’ Everyone was listening, and somehow that statement spoke volumes for me. As I reflect back I see that not just in coaching but also in the peer leadership program and in my classes, there are the students that I know I have touched, but there are also the ones I may have no idea I have influenced. That’s special.”

Jones started at PHS in 1970 “with a vision for her students and the desire to empower young women participating in sports,” according to Thursday’s proclamation. She was the PHS field hockey coach for more than 30 years, leading the team to the New Jersey State Championship in 1984. Also head coach of girls lacrosse at PHS, she coached that team to a state championship in 1985.

As part of the original peer leadership group staff, which created the program in 1979, Jones went on to help build up the peer group to include the entire ninth grade every year, and she was instrumental in developing a team of teachers to train participating seniors. Jones remains a part of the leadership of the peer group, which has been expanded and replicated in other schools throughout the region over the past 40 years.  more

To the Editor:

As spring slides into summer and the sound of cicadas compete with the sound of traditional landscaping, seeds of hope have taken root in Princeton. The Changing the Landscape: Healthy Yards = Healthy People/Cambiando el Paisaje: Jardines Sanos = Gente Sana project kicked off in January and is making progress. The project seeks to move our community to adopt practices that protect the health of landscapers and the environment in a way that embeds racial equity into local decision-making and builds partnerships between government, sustainability groups, and community-led frontline groups.

Key accomplishments to date include multiple focus groups with landscapers in English and Spanish; meetings between landscapers and municipal leadership; and kicking off a campaign to educate residents to do their part.

The project Steering Committee — which includes the Princeton Environmental Commission, Unidad Latina en Acción NJ, the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Quiet Princeton, Rutgers School of Public Health, the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program, and several Municipality of Princeton departments and commissions, including Human Services, the Board of Health, and the Civil Rights Commission — invite you to learn more about the project by reading the Spring 2021 Newsletter at sustainableprinceton.org/current-projects. more

To the Editor:

Thank you to our community for its amazing continued support. We are delighted to share that this year’s Morven in May weekend was the most successful in our history, despite having the Garden Party “blown” into the following evening by unusually high winds. The plant sale also surpassed all pre-pandemic sales records. Our event chairs Ashley Formento, Liza Morehouse, Martha Sword, Elizabeth Wislar, and Marcia Zweig were superlative hostesses, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

We were delighted by the response to our partnership with the Arts Council of Princeton, with “Paint Out Princeton at Morven in May” hosting record numbers of plein air painters throughout the weekend safely painting on our grounds and producing our first online gallery of their work which can be seen at this link: morven.org/paint-out-princeton-2021.

Morven was one of the first New Jersey museums to reopen its galleries in July 2020 following all CDC and safety protocols after keeping our 5-acre property in the heart of Princeton open for passive visitorship throughout the shutdown. We continue to work hard to meet people where they are comfortable; we expanded our garden tours, outdoor history strolls, and turned our traditional weekly tea into no-contact box lunches in the garden and broadened our array of offerings to include presenters from around the world zoomed in for Morven specific content, all features we probably wouldn’t have so quickly adopted had the pandemic not necessitated out-of-the-box thinking. more

To the Editor:

My name is Maya Wahrman, and I am currently a Masters of Social Work student at Rutgers University, working full time at Interfaith-RISE in refugee resettlement and serving families and individuals living in Princeton, Trenton, and across central and south Jersey. I moved to Princeton nine years ago as an undergraduate at the University, and after graduating I worked for two years at the University’s Office of Religious Life in interfaith programming, focusing on immigration justice.

I came to know the town of Princeton as a community that I wanted to contribute to and see flourish. I volunteered at Princeton High School mentoring unaccompanied minors in the ELL class and with local refugee families. I moved into direct client service and worked for a year at the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Trenton (LALDEF) as a bilingual client advocate and case manager in partnership with a Trenton middle school. As an active member of Princeton Mutual Aid and a social worker I see the immense possibilities in Princeton and Mercer County for support of our vulnerable neighbors and the growing immigrant and Latino communities in our town.

I have had the great fortune of knowing Eve Niedergang my whole life, as our families have been close friends since before I was born. When I moved to Princeton Eve always hosted me graciously for dinner, drove me to appointments, and helped me with whatever I needed. I saw Eve’s commitment to Princeton, her knowledge and care toward all the different layers of our community. She has always showed me and everyone in my circle immense generosity and kindness of spirit, paired with a nuanced thoughtful approach to politics, from her own neighborhood to the federal level and beyond.  more

To the Editor:

At my advanced age, many may have expected that I would not be here to write this. Neither do I know, after taking every imaginable precaution, how I caught COVID pneumonia. Now that I’m returning to full health, I believe that it was Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, its doctors and staff, that saved me. I am evermore convinced of how fortunate we are here in Princeton to have such professional, caring, and dedicated medical professionals.

My gratitude extends beyond my stay at our local hospital. After I was discharged, I continued receiving excellent care at home including visits from a physical therapist, a home aide, and a registered nurse. And so I continue getting better.

The entire medical team with their outstanding skills, dedicated professionalism, and deep kindness have pulled me through this. For that I would like to publicly thank them all.

Carolyn Leeuwenburgh
Jefferson Road

To the Editor:

The current proposal for selling parking spaces on our residential streets in order to add bike lanes to a major artery is a disaster. We urge Council to turn down this plan. Both components of the plan — bicycle lanes on a major road, and the sale of parking spaces on residential streets — will have catastrophic and far-reaching results.

Hamilton/Wiggins/Paul Robeson is a major artery in town that runs parallel to Nassau Street and serves as a connecting link to major highways in our county, our state, and beyond. It is misguided to think that this major crosstown artery is wide enough to accommodate bicycles as well as the heavy traffic and trucks that use this road on a normal traffic day. Bicycles are not meant to be part of a major network of heavily traveled highways. 

Where are the traffic surveys that led to this plan? Consider this: during the past 15+ months of the COVID pandemic, traffic was anything but normal, much lighter, almost non-existent. Schools were closed and most office employees worked at home. No one was commuting to work! This will change as schools and businesses open again. Summer traffic is also light, with schools closed and people out of town, so any traffic surveys taken during the past 15+ months and including this summer must be incorrect. This is not the time to make major changes to any roads or traffic patterns. more

To the Editor:

Let me second Terry Lyons’ letter of May 19 on the vitality of the Princeton Shopping Center (PSC). All retail areas have suffered during the COVID pandemic including downtown Nassau Street. This general retail downturn is not a reason to hand massive tax breaks (PILOTS) to would-be developers of the PSC who could well turn it into another failed Forrestal Village, or Route 1 strip mall.

The Sustainable Princeton Fair of April 24 was a vivid example of how valuable the PSC courtyard is as a community resource. Another example is the Blue Bears restaurant that is dedicated to providing a place of dignity to work for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nomad’s saw a business opportunity in the PSC and opened a new pizza restaurant without any PILOTs. The New York Sports Club (NYSC) at the PSC was thriving but closed on the day of the Governor Murphy’s COVID order, contrary to the claim of “multiple vacancies well before COVID” in the Preliminary Investigation Report by Carlos Rodrigues. I know because I was a regular NYSC member who suddenly could not enter the club that day.

McCaffrey’s, Ace Hardware, Walgreens, and many other PSC stores well serve the community. The loss in property taxes from PILOTS would necessarily increase in taxes on Princeton residents. Far from being “obsolete,” the PSC is an essential community resource that should be preserved as is. 

Charles Skinner
Western Way

May 19, 2021

To the Editor:

Our elected officials have been working hard to figure out how to “solve” Princeton’s parking “problem,” specifically targeting the downtown labor force, as well as the high school students, faculty, and administrators.

The current thinking seems to be to manage the existing on-street parking supply around the downtown and the high school differently, with various types of paid permits, and to have the whole thing managed by a private, for profit vendor.

Why anyone would think that it is a good idea to provide more student parking is beyond me. So the entitled little darlings can spend another 15 minutes in bed, before tearing down our neighborhood streets in their late model Audis and BMWs? I don’t think so.

There is a stronger case to be made with respect to the school staff and downtown workers. And better managing the existing supply of on-street parking is certainly a superior alternative to building new parking lots. But it misses the point. more

To the Editor:

Summer concerts, community fairs, outdoor dining, easy access, plantings in bloom, places to stroll and relax — we can enjoy all these at the Princeton Shopping Center. Its courtyard is a lively contrast to more modern malls.

But the consultant who reported on the need for redevelopment (“Council Approves Recommendation for Shopping Center Area Development,” May 5, page 8) says the courtyard is under-utilized and contributes to the center’s obsolescence.

What’s your opinion? Let the town Council and candidates know your view.

Terry Lyons
Deer Path

May 12, 2021

BEST BUILDINGS:“At Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction, we have the experience to bring your ideas to life. Our goal is to create a place that is yours, in everyway possible — whether it’s a new home, a large renovation, or a small addition,” says architect and owner Marc Brahaney. Shown are three award-winning projects: an exterior renovation in Princeton; the tub room (soaking tub spa) of a primary suite addition in Princeton, which also includes dual bathrooms; and a beach house in Mantoloking, bottom, which replaced the original structure destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. (Photos by Tom Grimes).

By Jean Stratton

Lasley Brahaney creates new beginnings and makes dreams come true!

This award-winning company, located at 860 State Road, opened in 1992, and has been a Princeton mainstay ever since.

Architect and owner Marc Brahaney founded the firm with his late wife, Janet Lasley, who was a builder. The two combined their skills, establishing a firm which earned widespread recognition for excellence in the field.

A Princeton University graduate, who also earned an architectural degree from the University, Marc Brahaney decided to settle in Princeton, and worked with architectural companies in the area before establishing his own firm.

Design/Build

Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction focuses on residential projects and is noted for its high quality workmanship, attention to detail, and superior customer service.

It is also a design-build firm, with the architects, designers, and builders all under one roof. This is particularly beneficial to clients, explains Brahaney.

“Working in combination, we are an efficient team for clients. It enhances communication, and clients can count on predictability. I see myself as a common denominator. I am involved from the beginning to the end. more

To the Editor:

Phyllis Marchand — our mother/wife — thrived on interacting with the people of Princeton in her roles as an elected official, as a community volunteer, and as a friend. Watching her interactions for the past five decades has taught us that you can never say “thank you” enough. The “thank yous” we have said in person and in letters seem to have barely scratched the surface of our gratitude. Today we want to publicly reiterate our thanks to the many friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers who have comforted us with notes, donations, and expressions of love, concern, and invaluable remembrances/anecdotes about her. We wish we could mention all of you by name, but you know who you are.  

We especially want to express our appreciation to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad and the Princeton Police Department whose responsiveness, professionalism, and sensitivity to Phyllis was exceptional.  We were also touched by the team of Phyllis’ close friends who organized with care and efficiency the warm tribute to Phyllis — a street corner salute and expression of thanks — as her funeral procession turned onto Wiggins Street in its approach to the Princeton Cemetery.

Our family is planning to celebrate Phyllis’s life at a future time. It will also be a celebration of the members of the Princeton community who inspired her from the very first day we became part of this exceptional town.

Sy, Michael, Deborah, and Sarah Marchand
Montadale Drive

To the Editor:

Yes, it is that time of year again — the June 8 Democratic primary is quickly approaching.  As co-chair (Kathy) and communications director (Nick) of Eve Niedergang’s campaign, we urge you to vote to re-elect Eve to Princeton Council. Eve is finishing up her first term on Council this year, during which she has worked tirelessly to fairly represent our community. We think she deserves another term.

Why are we such fans of Eve? Council membership takes a lot of work, and the past year has been a challenging year for our town. Princeton Council is lucky to have Eve as a strong, unbiased, hardworking member who is devoted to serving to all our citizens. Her door is always open. On any particular issue, Eve actively solicits input from interested groups, listens to those voices, and makes a fair, transparent, and conscientious decision. She is knowledgeable yet knows when to seek out expert advice.  more

May 5, 2021

DISTINCTIVE DINING: “We are set apart by our overall approach and ability to achieve a special refinement. We emphasize quality and a unique and exciting ambiance.” Ben Sanford and his wife Katie, owners of BORO Market | Restaurant | Bar in Pennington, look forward to introducing more customers to their intriguing new restaurant and market. Shown is the elegant main dining room and bar.

By Jean Stratton

Something special is waiting for you at 147 West Delaware Avenue in Pennington!

Visitors to BORO Market | Restaurant | Bar will find an exciting dining experience in an intriguing setting, unlike anything else in the area.

Opened last December, it is the product of both the experience and imagination of owners and husband and wife team, Ben and Katie Sanford.

“My wife and I have been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years combined between us, including in Robbinsville, Bordentown, Charleston, S.C., and Pennington,” explains Ben Sanford. “We’ve had Cugino’s Italian Market in Pennington for years, including at this location for the past five years. Having our own restaurant has always been our dream.” more

To the Editor:

The Princeton University Art Museum and various commercial property owners have given us a wonderful gift of really well-produced images from the museum’s rich and diverse collection. That is no small effort and is a great bridge for the economic changes in the retail sector (beginning before the pandemic) and the construction period during which the museum will be closed.

The museum is such a great local asset. I hope everyone takes a moment and looks around at the installations on Palmer Square and the Princeton Shopping Center. 

David Schure
Stockton Street

To the Editor:

As a retired member of the U.S. Foreign Service, I was proud to represent America in three countries over my 20 years of service. I write this in advance of Foreign Service Day on May 7, a day designated by Congress to honor our active-duty and retired members of the Foreign Service.

The past year of devastation and uncertainty has been difficult for everyone. This includes members of our Foreign Service who have remained on the front lines throughout the pandemic, working to bring more than 100,000 Americans home safely and continuing to protect and serve America’s interests abroad.

Diplomacy, development and security is the Foreign Service’s first line of defense, neutralizing issues before they become threats to Americans. This year has demonstrated the need for increased global engagement and the importance of U.S. global leadership.

Linda Sipprelle
Victoria Mews

To the Editor:

How lucky we are to have two great candidates running for Princeton Council this election cycle. We have the incumbent, Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, who has shown us how caring she is about many important topics. I know that Councilwoman Niedergang provided the residents of this great town the opportunity to see her work and help the community through many difficult issues. After serving 15 years as an elected Princeton Councilman, I know the many hours you must be able to provide the town. It takes time, energy and perseverance to become a strong and accepted Councilperson.

It is my pleasure to introduce to some of the residents of Princeton our future Councilman, Leighton Newlin. I have known Leighton for over 40 years; and I respect him and his decision making skills. We are going through very serious times with our elected leaders in this country. Just look around and see the questionable and non-caring behavior exhibited by so many elected officials. This will change with Leighton Newlin in office. The caring and support for everyone will begin on Leighton’s first day in office. Leighton has served  as chairperson of Princeton Housing Authority for over 20 years. Leighton has been serving the Witherspoon-Jackson community for many years; and his help with the historic designation for the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood was simply amazing.  more

To the Editor:

I want to take a moment to share my experience as the small business owner of Gratitude Yoga in downtown Princeton. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic our loyal following has supported us throughout our shift to a user-friendly, cost effective virtual studio.

We want to thank all of our clients who have stayed with us and the many people who have encouraged us as we navigated this unprecedented time.  We are so grateful to all of you. We hope to continue to offer yoga and meditation in a warm and uplifting atmosphere, and to flourish as a compassionate yoga community in this ever-changing landscape.

Gemma Farrell
Owner, Gratitude Yoga
Spring Street

To the Editor:

We, Community Park School parents, would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who purchased a Princeton Perks discount card over the past months. Back in December 2020, a CP parent had the bright idea to create the Princeton Perks card, which entitles holders to special deals at some 80 local restaurants, shops, and services throughout 2021, to help fill a fundraising gap felt by parent teacher organizations everywhere this year. We hoped to also drum up traffic for many of our favorite establishments. Thanks to you, nearly 1,500 Perks cards are now in circulation around town, and the parent teacher organizations of Princeton’s public and charter schools raised a combined $17,500. 

While the idea may have germinated at CP, it was a collaborative effort from the start. We could not have launched the card without the help of parents from Littlebrook, Riverside, and Johnson Park elementaries. And we’re equally indebted to parents at Princeton Charter School, Princeton Unified Middle School, and Princeton High School, who added their energy and ideas as the program expanded. It was a true delight to work together and we hope this is just the start of a new era of cooperation among our schools. more

April 28, 2021

TABLEAU OF TREES: “We sell a lot of high quality specimen trees — all kinds: native, exotic, evergreen, shade, flowering, and all sizes. We also install large trees — 25 feet. In addition, we ship trees all over the east coast. Customers know they can count on our high quality specimen material.” Douglas W. Kale (left) owner and president of Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, Inc., is shown with his son Scott as they prepare trees for delivery to new owners.

By Jean Stratton

Magnolia, cherry, pear, dogwood, azalea, forsythia, lilac! Do you have a favorite?

Whatever it is, Kale’s Nursery & Landscape Service, Inc. is sure to have it. Along with all the hydrangeas, rhododendrons, roses, pansies, tulips, geraniums, daffodils, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, thyme, and rosemary — everything that makes your garden an ongoing pleasure!

This longtime favorite independent family garden and landscape center is celebrating its 65th anniversary. At a time when family businesses are far less prevalent than in the past, this is a proud and welcome achievement.

Founded in 1956 by Herbert Kale, it still remains at its original location, 133 Carter Road. It began as a landscape contracting and design business, explains Douglas W. Kale, current owner and president, and son of Herbert Kale.

Hometown Boy

A hometown boy, born in Princeton Hospital, Douglas Kale knew he always wanted to continue the family business, offering quality products and helpful, knowledgeable service. As a boy, he worked in the nursery on weekends and in the summer, learning about the operation. After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in horticulture, he joined the company full-time.

“When Dad retired, I expanded the business into retail in 1977,” he recalls. “Many of our customers had been asking to buy plants and trees. Landscaping is still a big part of the business and in order to give customers the best quality, we grow many of our trees, shrubs, and plants. We grow most of our ornamental trees, and some evergreens.” more

To the Editor:

In addition to the noise from blowers and mowers, in our neighborhood we have the problem of truck traffic—big, heavy trucks struggling up or screaming down Elm Road from morning to night. There is a highway two blocks away (route 206), but this village street is regularly crowded with huge trucks: moving vans, dump trucks, construction vehicles. There are no weight restrictions, so the largest vehicles available can legally drive on the road, flattening and fracturing the blacktop. There is no engine braking law, so heavy trucks coming down the hill can legally sound like the outbreak of WWIII. There are always young children and older citizens nearby; a heavy truck driving mishap here could be catastrophic.

Two actions are needed. One, the town should do everything possible to restrict truck traffic on Elm Road: set weight limits, outlaw engine breaking, post signage prohibiting overweight truck traffic and directing such traffic to more appropriate streets.

Second, Quiet Princeton should acknowledge traffic noise as part of the noise problem they are working to resolve. It is not a one neighborhood problem; a larger Quiet Princeton effort will find support from many neighborhoods in Princeton.

We can have a quiet Princeton if we work at it.

Paul Cruser
Westerly Road

To the Editor:

What a perfect time of year this is to celebrate the beauty and the importance of our life-sustaining Earth!

Newly greened trees, the songs of birds, colorful flowers that make us smile, and the rejuvenation of farm fields – all of these miracles create new hope.

This Earth Day, I find myself reflecting on the legacy of people who have cared for our Earth. For it’s in the little things we do every day, the causes we support, and the choices we make in how we live our lives, that we become integral to the Earth’s stewardship. more

To the Editor:

Re: “Planning Board to Consider Redevelopment Study” (Town Topics, April 21, front page): this article notes that Princeton Shopping Center’s (PSC) owner has selected developer AvalonBay for redevelopment including housing bordering PSC at the Clearview Avenue neighborhood.

AvalonBay’s history of fires is disturbing. This month a large fire at their Princeton Junction apartments caused 22 people in 7 families to lose their homes. This is the company’s fourth known fire in New Jersey; its most serious fire, in January 2015 in Edgewater, which received large media coverage, caused 500 people to lose their homes. In addition, AvalonBay’s large under-construction housing in the year 2000 at the Edgewater site led to the destruction of nine nearby occupied homes, and its Maplewood housing under construction in 2017 also went up in flames.

The use of large, light frame (some call “stick”) highly combustible wood multi-unit construction allows fires to spread quickly. Even if there are no deaths, the loss of one’s home is tragic to residents and costly to municipalities. more