#b#Make Colleges Adhere to Zoning#/b#

The mayors and governing bodies of the Borough and Township of Princeton are opposed to legislation that would exempt private colleges and universities from municipal zoning.

S-1534 was approved by the State Senate at the end of June. And now the Assembly companion, A-2586, is projected to be put forth by the Higher Education Committee for consideration for a vote by the full Assembly this fall. This legislation passed in the Senate despite the efforts of the League of Municipalities, most of the mayors and elected officials of the impacted municipalities, and the American Planning Association, all of whom strongly oppose the legislation.

If this legislation were to become law, all private colleges and universities would be exempt from municipal zoning. Proponents of the legislation argue that colleges and universities serve a unique public interest and should not be subject to the additional expense of meeting the requirements of the local zoning and planning boards.

On the contrary, there is no justifiable reason why private colleges and universities should be treated differently than other non-profits, such as hospitals, care centers, and prep schools. There is no justifiable reason to exempt private colleges and universities from the same requirements for businesses and our own residents.

A bigger concern with this legislation is that the public, in particular, the residents impacted by the expansion of private colleges and universities, will not have the opportunity to comment on or object to the increased demand for parking, traffic, police protection, fire protection, and the like. As a result of such expansion, the demand on municipal services would increase, perhaps dramatically with little or no input from taxpayers, all of whom will bear the expense of such demands.

Furthermore, the new legislation extends to any property that the private college or university owns or acquires, even if that property is not on its main campus. That situation has an enormous adverse impact on our downtown residential neighborhoods and central business districts. That situation, without proper planning and consideration of infrastructure impacts, allows for the degradation of the fabric of our diverse community and a reduction of the tax base of the municipality, as these institutions are exempt from property taxation.

This misguided legislation is very troublesome. We encourage citizens to contact (via the NJ Legislature switchboard, 609-847-3905) Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, our State Assembly representatives from the 16th District, as well as our former District 15 representatives, Reed Gusciora and Bonnie Watson-Coleman, to ask them to oppose A-2586. Sign the petition that generates a letter to the Governor and Assemblywoman Riley, chair of the Higher Education Committee, by visiting the www.princetonboro.org mayor’s page.

Yina Moore, Chad Goerner


Princeton Borough and Township

#b#Bitter Pills For Institute#/b#

In what must be bitter pills for the Institute for Advanced Study, the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, September 10. This bipartisan bill, which was produced by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), will offer competitive matching grants to preserve battlefields from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, according to a press release issued by Holt’s office. Holt first introduced this legislation nearly one year ago.

I am told Holt is a physicist by trade and friendly to the Institute. He has instead, clearly spoken for the people. What about David Hacket-Fischer, absent during the recent Planning Board hearings between the IAS and the Princeton Battlefield Society? The IAS claimed he supported its position on the battlefield. Instead, it would seem, he was on Capital Hill stumping for Holt’s bill.

You don’t have to be Einstein to know that I am delighted. I welcome this act’s passage as a member of the Battlefield Society. The interest in preserving this battlefield is growing nationally. The Battlefield Society will celebrate the passage at the already planned events on Saturday, September 29, at the Battlefield Park. General Washington and his rag-tag Army must be smiling right now.

J. Carney

Princeton Battlefield Society

The Battlefield Society will sponsor “Colonial Days Revisited” on Saturday, September 29, beginning at 10 a.m. at the park on Mercer Road. A colonial music program will begin at 4 p.m.

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