February 3, 2021

Noting That Plan for Turf Fields Would Be Costly to Surrounding Environment

To the Editor:

I urge Princeton residents to log onto the Planning Board meeting this Thursday, February 4 to oppose the turf fields Princeton Academy of Sacred Heart would like to build on their campus. This project is cheating the taxpayers, cheating the environment, and cheating the local community. 

The school isn’t building the fields, Princeton Soccer Academy (which isn’t even based in Princeton) is. Princeton Soccer Academy will own them. Not PASH. PASH will only own the land below them.

The school is zoned as a nonprofit. It can only partner with nonprofit. Princeton Soccer Academy is a for-profit entity. That is, until we mentioned this at a previous meeting. Since then, they have applied for NJ nonprofit status, which is just paperwork, not an official nonprofit according to the IRS. This is completely unethical to try to skirt the rules and get out of paying taxes and to trick the Planning Board and public.

Besides cheating the public, this is costly to the surrounding environment. They plan on cutting down 46 mature trees, replacing grass with a plastic turf carpet, and ruining the ridge’s natural habitat for many plants and animals, including the endangered red-shouldered hawk.

The proposed increase of 50 percent impervious coverage is detrimental. This will cause flooding issues. This build will also cause light, noise, and air pollution with 11 diesel light towers (still in the plan, no matter what they “say”). It will cause noise pollution to the surrounding areas with crowds, whistles, announcers. Daily practices and tournaments will bring an inordinate amount of traffic to already crowded and cut-through streets.

This is not the school simply renting out a field as is done elsewhere. The school is letting another entity build and own turf fields on their campus with a 15-year lease with 15-year option to extend. Thirty years! They also have in the plans the option to put a bubble on top of the field. This is not done at other schools. Also, should the school go under and have to sell, the Soccer Academy gets to put in a bid and match any high bid. This simply is not right!

These fields are not for the students of PASH. They will be used from 4 to 9:30 p.m. daily and for tournaments held on weekends.

The proposal of these turf fields is ridiculous. They will cause light pollution, noise pollution, traffic issues, flooding issues, environmental issues. They are not for the school, they are for a for-profit entity based in Wall, N.J., that is disguising itself as a nonprofit to steal our tax money.

Log on and fight this build on Thursday, February 4.

Jennifer Buono
Heather Lane