A battle has broken about among New Jersey’s governing Democrats about how to set the state budget. On one side, the NJ Assembly speaker, Craig Coughlin, has proposed a new plan called “Stay NJ”, which would have the state pay half of the property taxes of all homeowners over age 65. On the other side, Governor Phil Murphy has said that he will veto any such program.
Princeton Public School District is considering a major restructuring of elementary school education. At a meeting of elementary school parents on April 27, district official presented a number of options to address growing student enrollment. One of these options would be to move to a ‘Sister Schools’ model, where students would attend one elementary school for kindergarten through Grade 2, and then switch to a different school for grades 3-5.
Princeton Council has approved $1.1 million in spending on repairs to the Spring Street parking deck. The contract for the work, which will be done by Maarv Waterproofing Inc, was approved through Resolution 23-174 at the Council meeting of May 8.
Princeton Council has approved a plan from the Engineering Department for the next part of the multi-year effort to redesign Witherspoon Street. The so-called ‘Witherspoon St Phase 3’ project will be between Leigh Avenue and Valley Road, which includes the part of the road that runs past Community Park Elementary School. Once again, the new street design will contain no specific facilities for cyclists. Instead, cyclists will have the option to share the road with bus and truck traffic, or to use sidewalks, despite the sidewalks being too narrow to safely accommodate both bikes and people walking.
Earlier this year, a report from the Princeton Zoning Officer noted that Sakrid Coffee was operating a coffee shop at 300 Witherspoon St, the old ‘Princeton Packet’ building (Report: “‘TigerLabs’ Relocating To Witherspoon Street“). At the time, it was not obvious that this was true, but a planning proposal that will be heard by the Princeton Zoning Board indicates that Sakrid Coffee are very serious about opening a new outlet at the Witherspoon Street site! The town is currently considering an application to make it happen.
Princeton is well known as a town that appreciates open space, to the extent that 27% of the town is made up of preserved land. Extraordinarily, however, it seems that the town hall for the old Princeton Township was constructed on preserved open space. The old Princeton Township town hall lives on as the “Princeton Municipal Complex” at 400 Witherspoon St. Also known as “Witherspoon Hall”, the building has been the site for all Council meetings since consolidation of the old Princeton Borough and Princeton Township in 2013. The building opened in 2002, and it seems that nobody noticed that it had been built on preserved land.
The town of Princeton has acquired large amounts of open space in recent years, but until very recently, there was no publicly-accessible map of protected lands. Speaking to the Princeton Environmental Commission on Feb 22, municipal open space manager Cindy Taylor unveiled a new map, showing the locations of every tract in the town that is subject to conservation orders.
Princeton Mayor Mark Freda sparked consternation last week, after reports emerged regarding comments he made at a panel sponsored by the Mercer County Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors. As reported by Barbara Peston for ‘The Montgomery News’ (Link: “Three Mayors Say NJ Affordable Housing Mandate Needs Oversight“), Mayor Freda was invited to get together with the mayors of Mongtomery Twp and West Windsor at the private Cherry Valley Country Club. The Mayor was reportedly sharply critical of the process that has led to construction of hundreds of new affordable homes in Princeton, saying “We have a lot of housing being built right now, and it’s been tough to balance what some judge in some court decides that your town should build…”
TigerLabs, the co-working venue in downtown Princeton, is moving to a new location on Witherspoon Street. For over 10 years, TigerLabs has offered a home to would-be tech titans and start-up entrepreneurs, but with the current lease expiring, a new home at 300 Witherspoon Street beckons. Staff held a “last hurrah” party today to mark the move.
Princeton University presented a full application for its newest undergraduate residential college, ‘Hobson College’, at a meeting of the Princeton Planning Board on January 19, 2023. The application adds further detail to a ‘concept plan’ presented by the University last year (See post: “First Look: Concept Plan For ‘Hobson College’ At Princeton University“).