March 6, 2013

Princeton Council Should Stand Firm Against Further Proposal by AvalonBay

To the Editor:

I hope the Princeton Council will stand firm in opposition to any further proposal by AvalonBay (AB),

1) which advertises its efforts to avoid paying taxes.

2) which is intransigent in negotiations, as shown by the refusal to consider suggestions of citizens and repeated efforts to shut down citizen communication with the Council.

3) whose design is outmoded, un-green, and cookie cutter, not designed to complement the surrounding neighborhood or the Master Plan so carefully worked out between the hospital and the town well before the hospital moved to Plainsboro or met with AvalonBay.

4) which shades the truth re need for a pool, when the town has just rebuilt its handsome pool right across the street (“AvalonBay always has one”), ability to “do retail” (but they have done it elsewhere), location of possible cesspools (they say that if it smells they will deal with it, rather than look for the cesspool that is thought to be buried under the garage.)

Regardless of AvalonBay’s protestations, this project, if completed, will strain municipal services (The 280 units insisted on will accommodate how many children? Use how much water? Produce how much” waste, how much traffic and at what hours?)

We can all go on and on discussing these and other items that have surfaced during the year of public comment, but worst of all, AvalonBay’s approach in every possible way defies and contradicts the community that surrounds it.

1) A concentration of affordable housing such as AB offers to counter all objections is no substitute for town wide planning; it is a plug set to backfire.

2) It will not integrate itself into the community; like the towering condos now going vacant on Palmer Square, it will look down on — yes, condescend to — its neighbors.

3) Whatever is built there will increase tax pressure on the existing affordable housing in John Street, which is already driving a slow exodus of blacks who have historically served the community in so many ways. Therefore,

4) Anything proposed must offer the benefits of upgraded retail complementing the town’s effort to upgrade the Witherspoon Street corridor.

5) And it must integrate the John Street neighborhood that it faces on into the rest of the community by creating permeability and a real park.

I beg the Council to find alternatives; not just settle.

Mary Clurman

Harris Road