December 21, 2022

Princeton Environmental Commission Shares Recent Accomplishments of Statutory Body

To the Editor:

The Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC) would like to highlight some of our accomplishments from this year and recent years past:

PEC supported data collection for the environmental resource inventory by establishing the Open Space Community Science Day event, which was held seasonally at Rogers Refuge and in partnership with the Refuge and the Princeton Public Library. The event was made possible by a generous donation from a previous commissioner in the name of his grandson, Cole Morano. Also related to open space, PEC supported the preservation of 153 acres —one of only two old growth forests remaining in Princeton.

In the last three years, PEC reviewed and provided recommendations for 32 development plans — including recommendations for the new Master Plan. PEC also provided 19 resolutions, letters, and memos related to state, county, and local issues.

Despite the pandemic and its lingering effects, PEC secured adoptions of the Backyard Chicken Ordinance, the Green Building and Environmental Sustainability Element, and several Sustainable Landscaping ordinance amendments.

In relation to state regulations, PEC supported the presentations on the new plastic bag restrictions delivered to Princeton’s businesses through the Princeton Merchants Association (PMA). Presentations provided local business owners and merchants with the understanding of the new state law.

PEC served on two state groups, the New Jersey Forest Task Force and the Advocates for Transforming Landscaping in New Jersey. These opportunities provided forums for Princeton voices to be heard more broadly and invited inspiring discussions as well as offering methods to attain and sustain healthy environments.

PEC supported three community initiatives including serving as an assembly for public concerns, which related to development at Hilltop Park. Together with the community, PEC was successful in reexamining the installation of synthetic turf fields. In addition, PEC has held discussions about the Redding Circle Detention Basin Retrofit project, which will take a more detailed form in partnership with Princeton Housing Authority in the new year.

In the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Park at the dogwood tree and plaque, the commission held a dedication in memory of Deb Mercantini, longtime PEC secretary. Commissioners still remain struck by the unexpected loss of Deb and ending a year without her physical presence.

PEC is a statutory body that makes recommendations and provides advice concerning open space preservation, water resources and stormwater management, air pollution control, sustainable building design and practices, alternative transportation, waste management, noise control, soil and landscape protection, environmental appearance, aquatic resources, and protection of flora and fauna.

Additionally, PEC is steadfast in including the red thread of environmental justice be sewn through all actions and decisions considered by the commission.

We invite the community to join us for our 2023 meetings and wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Tammy L. Sands
Chair, Princeton Environmental Commission
and PEC Commissioners