The would-be developer of a three-unit townhouse project at 39 Linden Lane has presented a new ‘concept plan’ to the Princeton Planning Board. The new concept comes after an earlier proposal raised several concerns from the Site Plan Review Advisory Board and Historic Preservation Office. The new design is intended to respond to these concerns, and provide improved management of stormwater.
39 Linden Lane (map) was formerly the site of a single-family home, alth’ough the zoning in the area allows for up to three homes per lot. The developer, ‘Simplify Living LLC, submitted a plan in late 2021 to create three new townhouses, split front to back (discussed at this article at ‘Tap Into Princeton’: “Townhomes on Linden Lane? February 3 Hearing Postponed by Noticing Technicality“). From the street, the building would appear like just one house, as the other units are located behind the one at the front. Linden Lane is rated as “very walkable” on walkscore.com, and has nearby public transit on Nassau St. The proposed townhouses would also feature an outstanding range of sustainability features, including all-electric HVAC and water heating, induction cooking, high-performance building envelope, and electric vehicle charging.
The Planning Board has so far deferred consideration of the original plan. Planning staff questioned how many variances were required for the proposal, and the town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board questioned the design of the balconies for each unit, which extended over the side driveway. The balconies are significantly scaled back in the new design, so that they no longer extend over the driveway. The new design also features an enlarged porch area on the unit facing Linden Lane.
Although Linden Lane is not a designated historic district, Princeton’s Historic Preservation Office also sent a ‘courtesy review’ of the original application (link). The ‘courtesy review’ was not exactly courteous to the proposal, stating that the proposed residential building was “not an ideal fit for this residential neighborhood”. The Historic Preservation Office review also discussed many site plan issues that are not obviously related to historical context. The question of snow removal around the balcony supports was raised, for example, although this issue may be resolved by the new design, which has much-reduced balcony areas.
The new design is nonetheless responsive to issues raised by the Historic Preservation Office and other planning staff. The new design appears to feature increased setbacks from neighboring properties, and increased open space. The roof at the front slopes down toward the street, reducing the visual scale of the building, and entrances to the basement level from the driveway appear to have been eliminated. The ‘concept plan’ will be discussed by the Planning Board next week, on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. It is entered as a ‘concept review’, which means that final approval will not be available.
Links to relevant documents (via princetonnj.gov)
- New concept plan for 39 Linden Lane townhouses.
- Site plan application
- Presentation for original plan for 39 Linden Lane (Powerpoint file)