This Sunday (November 6, 2022) marks an important deadline in the effort to rewrite Princeton’s community Master Plan. That date will be the last chance for Princeton residents to provide input for the ‘Community Visioning Survey’, which will be the most important step in getting the public’s opinions on what the overall goals should be for planning and development in Princeton. The survey is available at the municipal website at:
The survey is anonymous and open to Princeton residents, but also to people who work in town, visit town, or grew up in Princeton. The questions aim to identify broad goals for planning, transportation, and environmental / recreation needs. It takes about 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and each respondent can only take the survey once.
At the last meeting of the Master Plan ‘Steering Committee’ (video available here), there was some discussion about how the survey results would be used to influence future planning decisions. The ‘Community Visioning Survey’ is the second online survey organized by the consultants who are running the Master Plan rewrite. The first survey, which happened during the summer, focused on the town’s economic development needs. The current survey has the broader goal of setting themes and priorities for the new Master Plan. The town has not done a full rewrite of its Master Plan since 1996, so the current effort is extremely significant.
‘Walkable Princeton’ contributor Sam Bunting asked how the questions in the survey, which are quite general in nature, would shape decisions about specific development decisions? In particular, he asked the consultants to consider the question of what should happen with the Westminster Choir College site, which has become vacant since Rider University ended Choir activities there in 2020. The consultants replied that the current “Visioning Survey” will set broad goals for the Master Plan rewrite, but there will be further outreach later this year and in 2023, which will help determine more specific details.
The first of these outreach efforts will happen after the Visioning Survey closes, at an ‘Open House’ at Princeton Public Library, on November 30, 2022. At the ‘Open House’, the public will be invited to consider the results of the survey, and offer further comment. The consultants are also engaging in private meetings with specific ‘stakeholders’, which will influence the Master Plan. Based on the survey results and community comments, the consultants will begin to write a new Master Plan, at which point specific sites for new housing, schools, or recreation facilities might be identified. As the new Master Plan takes shape, there will be further public outreach efforts – and probably more surveys as well – at some point in 2023. Residents can sign up for all updates at https://engage.princetonmasterplan.org.
If the community were to indicate that the town needs more schools, or more athletics fields, or more housing, or more parking for residents, then the Westminster Choir College site might be considered as a potential location for those activities. Alternatively, the town might prefer to historic preserve the entire Westminster Choir College site, or maintain existing zoning so that only another higher education institute could re-use the site. The Master Plan rewrite affects the entire town, of course, so similar questions are in play everywhere. Should the town zone for more housing? What kind of housing? Where should it go? What should the town’s priorities be for transportation? What sites might be subject to historic preservation orders? All of these decision will be affected by the current survey, available at the following link. Don’t forget: the deadline to fill it out is this Sunday, November 6!