The future of rail transit from New Jersey to New York City has been in the news recently, with President Biden appearing in New York last week to celebrate the first steps in the Gateway Project, which will eventually lead to construction of the first new rail tunnesl across the Hudson River in over 100 years. Construction is beginning thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Biden signed in 2021. New tunnels would allow more trains to run into New York Penn Station, but this brings a new problem, because the station can’t take any more trains right now. Fortunately, Amtrak, which owns the station, has a plan…
The Chairman voted “No”, but other members of the Princeton Zoning Board of Adjustment saw enough to like about a revised ‘Lincoln Court’ apartment plan to approve the project. The vote came at the ZBA’s regular meeting on January 25. The developer is RB Homes, the firm founded by Roman Barsky. Barsky is perhaps most known for constructing new-build single-family homes around Princeton, but RB Homes is increasingly active in building multi-family developments, often including below-market-rate affordable units. The ‘Lincoln Court’ project will provide two affordable apartments, and eight that will be rented at regular market rates. A previous version of this project was considered unacceptable by the Zoning Board at their meeting in November, but the applicant very swiftly revised the plan to be ready for the first Zoning Board meeting of 2023.
On January 1, 2023, the town of Princeton, NJ quietly marked its 10th birthday. Ten years have now passed since the consolidation of the former Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. Over the years, the sense of identity of the two former Princetons has gradually merged into one unified community, and in December, the town Council passed an ordinance to further seal the marriage. The zoning maps of the former Borough and Township, which show what kind of buildings can be built in every part of town, were finally merged into one document (see image above, and higher-resolution version at this link). In practice, there has been no change or streamlining of zoning since consolidiation, the new map serves mainly to show zoning for the entire town in just one document.
The question of how to provide housing for all members of the community is an important question for Princeton’s ongoing Master Plan rewrite, which made it very timely for Princeton Public Library to host a forum on housing justice last month. Organized by Kim Dorman, the Library’s Community Engagement Coordinator, in coordination with several local community groups, the session offered two panels with experts who considered the questions of “how did the housing crisis arise?” and “what can we do to fix it?” The panels were each just one hour long, but the quality of the presenations was very high.
It’s the turn of the year, you’ve already read the ‘Review of 2022‘ in ‘Town Topics’, and now you’re probably wondering, “what could be on the cards for 2023?” Seek no further, we have ten bold predictions about what might be scandalizing Princeton in the coming 12 months. Check them out – and don’t forget to look to the bottom for the scorecard on our predictions from last year!!!
The Princeton Public Library will host a panel discussion on Saturday December 10, focusing on housing in Princeton. The program begins at 11 a.m. with a discussion of the causes of the housing crisis. The median value of properties in Princeton is now over $1.1 million, leading to a loss of middle-class families from the town, and massive pressure on low-income residents. At 1 p.m. Princeton University graduate student Matt Mleczko, who is a member of the Princeton Affordable Housing Board, will lead a solutions-oriented discussion with experts in housing justice. At 2 p.m, there will be an opportunity for participants to meet and discuss with housing providers and organizations working on housing-related efforts. In-person registration for the event has closed, but the event can be streamed live via Zoom at this link: Zoom Link for Princeton Library Housing Event.
NJ Transit today released a final report from their study of transit alternatives along the Princeton ‘Dinky’ rail corridor. The study, which began in spring of 2021, was intended to identify what the best options are for providing future transit service between Princeton and Princeton Junction. A branch rail line currently runs from Princeton Station to Princeton Junction Station, connecting with main line rail services (link to map). The rail line mostly runs through Princeton University property north and south of the D&R canal and Carnegie Lake.
A proposal to redevelop a site in downtown Princeton with a mixed-income apartment building appears dead in its current form, after failing to find support from the Princeton Zoning Board of Adjustment. The applicant, RB Homes, had hoped to construct a 3 1/2 story building, with 8 market rate units and two affordable units (“RB Homes Propose 10-Unit Apartment Building at ‘Lincoln Court'”). The Princeton Zoning Board of Adjustment considered the plan at their meeting of November 17, where members of the Board raised many concerns with the project. As it became clear that there was not enough support to get an approval, the applicant’s attorney carried the application to a meeting in January 2023, when a revised proposal may be considered.
The prelimary results of the Princeton Master Plan ‘Visioning Study’ are in, and Princeton residents have identified middle-income housing as one of the key priorities that the town needs to address. Princeton’s Master Plan, which guides all municipal planning efforts, is currently undergoing a full rewrite for the first time since the 1990s. The ‘Visioning Study’ was the key public outreach effort to get feedback about the key themes for the new Master Plan. 896 people responded to the Visioning Study survey, which ran from September 15 – November 7, 2022.
Princeton Police are issuing many fewer traffic tickets, and dramatically fewer speeding tickets, than before the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the finding of a review by ‘Walkable Princeton’, which raises questions about whether the town and police are doing enough to keep vulnerable road users safe.