MCAR Municipal Spotlight: May 2018
 
Trenton Mayoral Election Leads to June Run Off
between Perez and Gusciora
On May 8, none of the seven candidates running for the Mayor’s seat in Trenton secured the more than 50 percent of the vote required to win the top spot. This means there will be a run-off election between the top two vote getters— candidates Paul Perez and Reed Gusciora—on June 12.

Paul Perez, who owns a city business and runs a nonprofit in Trenton, received approximately 28 percent of the vote, while long-time State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora received roughly 21% percent. Deputy County Clerk Walker Worthy finished third, coming within less than 200 votes behind Assemblyman Gusciora. None of the four ward council candidates reached the 50% mark, pushing those races into June as well.

Prior to the May 8 election, MCAR’s Legislative Committee invited all seven candidates to meet for an informal discussion related to real estate and development in the Capital City. Paul Perez, Reed Gusciora, Duncan Harrison, and Annette Lartigue were able to participate where they shared their views on issues such as inspections, redevelopment and property taxes. To view the election results, visit

MCAR’s Legislative Committee Sits Down with
New West Windsor Mayor Marathe
Just two months after taking office, West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe sat down with MCAR’s Legislative Committee to discuss real estate and property-related issues in the Township. Much of the conversation centered on the Township’s Master Plan, which is currently under revision. The Master Plan serves as the Township’s roadmap for the next decade in terms of planning and zoning.

One of the main factors driving the major revisions to the Master Plan is a number of development proposals, the largest being the 653-acre Howard Hughes site, and
the March 8 decision by state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson that the town must build 1,500 units of affordable housing by 2025. Mayor Marathe explained how the Township is planning to address the possible development of the Howard Hughes site and the Sarnoff property, as well as Princeton University’s planned expansion in West Windsor all of which could significantly impact public schools, the local economy and traffic patterns.

The Mayor also discussed implementation of the Princeton Junction redevelopment plan, which was adopted in 2009. The latest addition to the redevelopment plan is Freedom Village, a 100 percent affordable housing complex off Bear Brook Road. The municipally-sponsored project will include 72 units for residents with disabilities. Across the street on Alexander Road, an assisted living facility for up to 64 seniors with conditions related to impaired memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease, recently opened. Also approved for development early last year was Princeton Ascend, a mixed-use project with retail space and 23 residences (18 market-rate and five affordable units), on the lot adjacent to Rite Aid on Princeton-Hightstown Road.

The redevelopment of the Ellsworth Center, approved in 2014 but yet to get started, was also briefly discussed. Plans show the expansion of the strip mall’s commercial space from 22,000 square feet to 55,000 square feet, along with 18 new one-bedroom apartments to supplement the center’s two existing apartments. Of the 20 residential units total, four would be designated as affordable housing. For latest information about West Windsor’s Master Plan, visit http://www.westwindsornj.org/notices/3305.08-DRAFT-Reexamination-Report-Draft-04-23-18.pdf
 
NJDOT Announces Projects to Improve Route One
in Mercer and Middlesex Counties
The New Jersey Department of Transportation recently announced two projects to improve Route One. The first will resurface the roadway in Lawrence, West Windsor, Plainsboro and South Brunswick and the second project will widen Route One southbound in West Windsor and Lawrence.

Route One Resurfacing: Route One will be resurfaced in both the northbound and southbound directions between Route 533/Quakerbridge Road in Lawrence and Ridge Road in South Brunswick this summer with completion expected in spring of 2019. Project improvements include pavement repair, signal work, and curb and concrete work. Throughout the duration of the project, shoulder closures will occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., with temporary overnight single and double lane closures between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. nightly.

Route One Widening: Crews have already begun lane shifts and tree clearing in preparation for widening Route One southbound between Nassau Park Boulevard in West Windsor and the Quakerbridge Overpass in Lawrence. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

The southbound roadway includes two express lanes and one local lane providing access to businesses along Route One. The project calls for widening Route One to include a third express lane. It will add an auxiliary lane from Nassau Park Boulevard to the Quakerbridge Mall loop ramp in the local lanes providing motorists with improved traffic flow and more effective access.
 
Princeton Breaks Ground on New Park
Last month, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert and other members of Council officially broke ground on the new Mary Moss Playground at the corner of John and Lytle Streets. This playground will feature new and exciting playground equipment, a pavilion with picnic tables, a stone boulder scramble embankment with new slides, benches, bike racks, etc.
 
Princeton Public Schools Consider October Referendum to Address District Growth
The Princeton School District Board of Education is considering a nearly $130 million bond referendum to pay for the construction of a new school to address overcrowding, the purchase of property and improvements to other schools and athletic facilities. The Board must vote by July on whether it will put the plan to voters on October 2.

To alleviate overcrowding, the District is proposing that fifth-graders leave the four elementary schools and sixth-graders leave the John Witherspoon Middle School to attend a proposed 87,000-square-foot school that would be built on the site of the old Valley Road School, which currently houses district-wide administrators. The new school would have room for some 660 students and open in time for fall 2020. The referendum would pay for buying property on Herrontown Road, the building of the school, the maintenance and transportation offices, as well as, bus parking. District administration would move to the middle school in an addition to that building.

At the high school, internal renovations would increase the capacity to about 2,000 students, up from the current 1,423. Administrators plan to take three courtyards and build additional classroom and learning space. Athletic improvements include installing artificial turf on the lacrosse field at the high school and on a field next to the proposed new school. For more information about the referendum, visit http://princeton.ss16.sharpschool.com/news/what_s_new/referendum_information

Rider Announces Sale of Westminster Choir College
in Princeton Delayed
Rider University recently announced that it will continue operating Westminster Choir College in the next academic year, even though a deal to transfer ownership to Beijing Kaiwen Educational Technology Co. Ltd. appeared to be on target for completion by the end of June. According to the University, the delay is the result of the complex accreditation and licensure process Kaiwen must undergo to take over the school. Westminster has been a part of Rider since 1992. A coalition of Westminster students, alumni, professors and staff are staunchly opposed to Rider selling the music college and are pursing legal action to stop it.
 
Princeton Provides FAQs about Affordable Housing Obligation
Princeton officials created a helpful FAQ document that provides clarification about the Court’s recent decision regarding the municipality’s affordable housing obligation of 753 new units by 2025: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L-2lCMXXm48RuNYOlTgo2wUqIsB5kAn6/view

Robbinsville Affordable Housing Plan Update
Late March, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson approved a conditional judgement of compliance and repose of affordable housing litigation between Robbinsville Township and Fair Share Housing Center. A final judgement is expected by the end of May.
Included in the Robbinsville plan for 638 moderate and low income units is the planned acquisition of the Mercer Mobile Home Park, along with the newest Project Freedom complex proposed on approximately eight acres within Town Center South. For more information, visit http://www.robbinsville-twp.org/Planning-Zoning/ROBBINSVILLE_FSHPLAN_MARCH-2018.pdf

New Quick-Check to Be Built in Robbinsville
A new QuickChek convenience store with eight fuel pumps is scheduled to open up along Route 526 near the Turnpike overpass in Robbinsville late this summer.