September 20, 2023

Officials Say Jasna Polana Property is Not an Area in Need of Redevelopment

By Anne Levin

The recent listing for sale of Jasna Polana, the 18-hole, 225-acre golf club on Route 206 and Province Line Road, has prompted some speculation that the municipality might be eyeing the property as a site for redevelopment.

Not so, according to a statement last week made by Mayor Mark Freda and Princeton Council President Mia Sacks.

“We are aware that the Jasna Polana golf course property is currently being marketed for sale, and that initial advertisements for a potential sale suggest the possibility of a ‘comprehensive redevelopment of the site consistent with Princeton’s Master Plan update.’ On behalf of the governing body, we wish to make explicitly clear that there are no current plans to investigate or consider designating the Jasna Polana golf course property as an area in need of redevelopment. Although the Master Plan update process is still ongoing, there have been no indications thus far that this property will be recommended as such.”

It continues, “Any implication in the marketing materials for Jasna Polana that a more dense project, or expansion of uses beyond what is allowed under the current zoning will be permitted, is unwarranted. No amendments to the current zoning ordinance for this site are contemplated by Princeton Council at this time.”

In a recent survey related to the reworking of Princeton’s Master Plan, respondents were asked to rank Jasna Polana along with Westminster Choir College, the Butler Tract, and Valley Road School as a site for possible development, “if operations ceased.” The options listed were large apartment buildings, small apartment buildings, townhouses, two-family homes, single-family homes on small lots, assisted or supportive housing, open space/recreation, hotel, supermarket, entertainment venue, and retail.

The former estate of Johnson & Johnson heir J. Seward Johnson and his wife, Barbara Piasecka Johnson, the 46,000-square-foot house at Jasna Polana was designed by Wallace K. Harrison, the architect of New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. It opened as a luxury golf club in 1998.

Club members got a letter last week, assuring them that the “world class service” is not about to change. “In fact, along with other projects around the Club, we are currently undertaking a $200,000 irrigation project aimed at enhancing the golf course, a testament to our dedication to continuous improvement,” it reads. The sale “could be lengthy and is by no means imminent.”