Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 9
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
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Borough Council Studies Sidewalks, Vehicles, Park Design, Wireless

Dilshanie Perera

A medley of issues including sidewalk curbing assessments, municipal vehicles, and moving the Harrison Street Park project forward were the focus of Borough Council’s meeting last Tuesday. Council members Andrew Koontz and Margaret Karcher were not present.

Residents of Jefferson Road, Humbert Street, Greenview Avenue, and Hornor Lane had some issues about sidewalk improvement assessments, with some concerned about the final bills that were mailed to them on February 12, according to Borough Engineer Christopher Budzinski.

Hornor Lane resident Arkadiy Prilutskiy was notified in 2005 that the estimate for the sidewalk improvement project would be close to $470. The work was completed in 2007, and he recently received a bill for over two thousand dollars, he said. Mr. Budzinski explained that the project changed to include replacing the entire length of sidewalk as opposed to the previously anticipated few blocks.

Council member David Goldfarb suggested that such a discrepancy between the estimate and the final price was “fundamentally unfair to the property owner at Hornor Lane” and that the Borough could charge him about ten percent more than the estimated cost, which would be equivalent to the increase of neighboring residents’ assessments. Council approved the overall sidewalk assessment report, and agreed to further review of the case at Hornor Lane.

Other residents who brought their concerns to Council were assured by Mr. Budzinski that the Borough’s Public Works Department would take a look at their properties.

In other news, Henry Landau of Landau on Nassau Street proposed that Council reconsider the resolution to purchase a new 2009 Mercedez-Benz Smart Car for the Borough, and suggested cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternatives, like an electric vehicle. The Smart Car was slated for traffic and parking enforcement.

The discussion segued into the Borough’s vehicle replacement schedule, with Council member Barbara Trelstad noting that she “shares Mr. Landau’s concerns,” and requesting that the resolutions approving the purchase of three police vehicles, including a 2009 Dodge Durango and two Crown Victorias, in addition to that of the Smart Car, be tabled until Council’s review of the overall replacement policy on municipal vehicles. Council approved the motion.

Before they approved a resolution authorizing Edgewater Design to recommend phases of design implementation for Harrison Street Park, Council member Roger Martindell voiced some concern, saying “It’s always helpful to have more information...but is it really that complicated that we need to spend $18,000?”

Council member Kevin Wilkes explained that the documents produced by the design firm were necessary for the Borough in order to get bids. Edgewater would “be providing details to the design so we can get accurate bids,” he said. Mr. Budzinski added that the price could be “twice as much in the future” and that in the bid document they could add on or deduct various park amenities. The resolution was passed.

The Borough also decided they needed more time to consider a request by NextG Networks to use the Borough right of way to design, build, and operate a distributed antenna system (DAS) for an undisclosed cellular carrier. Director of Network Real Estate for NextG Peter Broy said the DAS node would be attached to a wooden utility pole on Elm Road and would provide additional wireless coverage in that area.

Under the agreement, Mr. Broy said that the company would pay the Borough five percent of earnings from that site, which totals approximately $300 per year. Borough Council members worried that the terms of the agreement would allow NextG to place DAS nodes on Borough street lamps and flagpoles in addition to utility poles.

As one of the last items on the agenda, Council approved the creation of a joint pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee with the Township.

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