I am disappointed by the action of the Municipality of Princeton, or rather its inaction,
regarding the possible redevelopment of part of Princeton Theological Seminary
to place. I write not as a neighbor, even though I am one, but as a citizen who believes in government
civil servants should exercise the authority conferred on them by all citizens, and not shirk this exercise, nor delegate it to subgroups of individuals.
A letter sent to the various interested parties by the municipality’s lawyer, dated October 22, stated in particular:
“The purpose of this letter is to inform all of you that Princeton has determined that any
the redevelopment of the property must be the result of a collaborative effort between
contract buyer, the coalition [a private group], neighborhood and owner, if applicable.
Princeton has spent probably millions of dollars over time to create a framework of laws
and review procedures for development projects. To do this, lawyers, planners and consultants were engaged, in-depth hearings and public comment were encouraged, and a framework for decision-making was put in place. This framework, itself, includes a central role for public comment on all aspects of proposed projects.
However, as part of the seminar project, the municipality has delegated the decision to the developer and “the neighborhood”, who must come to an agreement. Of course, defining “the neighborhood” is almost impossible, so what the municipality has really done is allow neighbors who feel strong enough to veto their views on what the municipality will approve.
I don’t know what the developer will come up with. I know that project neighbors are generally uncomfortable with change. Others who are not neighbors, who may be concerned about issues like affordable housing, must also be heard. Everything is understood, but no veto on a particular group is what is in the public interest.
It is up to the government, through the exercise of the powers vested in it by law, to regulate this process and to make decisions in the public interest.
Let us ask him to do it.