North-South Ennui##M:[more]##

I just finished reading the November 5 edition of the WW-P News. As a student at High School North, I was glad to see events of North publicized. However, I was disappointed regarding High School South.

You mentioned that “maybe South will have to get even on the football field” now that North is ahead academically. That was uncalled for. It’s not like South is 59th and North is first. South is second and North is first. Anyway, the North-South rivalry in academics and athletics is like the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry in baseball — it’s always going to be there.

The other thing that got on my nerves was the article about the mini-Shakespeare festival at the high schools. It wasn’t about the mini-Shakespeare festival at the high schools. It was about “Much Ado About Nothing” at North. Only a couple of paragraphs even mentioned “Romeo and Juliet.” Then there was a picture of a teacher at South who is playing a role in “Romeo and Juliet.”

It seemed strange that the article didn’t even mention who played the main roles in South’s play. My point is not to stop printing good articles such as these. My point is to call them what they are — if they are about North, they’re not about both schools. And perhaps bragging is a lot of fun, but there’s only so many times North being better than South will be exciting and interesting news.

Emily Brooks

Sophomore, High School North

Editor’s note: South’s information on “Romeo and Juliet” arrived too late for the last issue. See the story on page 24 of this issue.

For Field Lights At WWP North

At its regular meeting on November 16, the WW-P School Board agreed to form an ad hoc committee to study a proposal presented by the Northern Knights Booster Club to allow the installation of field lights at High School North. The proposal is to have the Booster Club raise private funds of approximately $100,"000 to donate the field lights (including installation). This proposal, if approved, will provide the school and the community with significant benefits.

There is a reason why other school districts in our area have field lights and play football games on Friday nights, and why our district now stages a few games per year under temporary (and very inadequate) lights. I grew up in a community where a Friday night in the fall was a social event for the entire town. A football game is a controlled, safe, and heavily chaperoned event for our teens. It would bring residents of West Windsor and Plainsboro, who share the school district, together in a fun and informal atmosphere.

Saturday afternoon games are just not the same. Families with multiple children more often than not have conflicts on Saturday afternoon that prevent the family from attending games together. A 2 p.m. game doesn’t draw high school students out the way that a Friday night does, and the larger crowds we’ve seen for night games bears that out. Larger crowds also will bring revenue in the form of ticket sales, increased concession sales, and increased merchandise sales. (Lights may also allow the school and the district to host other evening events such as marching band and cheerleading competitions, in which our students now participate, but always at “away” venues.) And, of course, the district would save the $2,"000 per game that it now spends renting temporary lights for the few scheduled Friday night games.

Some people in the community, including some members of the School Board, are skeptical. Some Board members have raised issues of safety during night games, potentially an increased need for security personnel at the games, and the potential need to expand the bleachers to accommodate larger crowds. These are valid concerns, but they can all be addressed, and do not begin to outweigh the advantages of Friday night games.

There is also an issue of “equity” since High School South would not have lights for its field, at least for now. While entirely identical facilities at each school would be nice, the buildings, grounds, classrooms, and other facilities are not identical now, and never will be. The School Board should not stand in the way of the benefits of field lights for North simply because it cannot do the same for South, particularly when the district is not paying for the capital improvement.

Residents of West Windsor and Plainsboro need to let the administration, Principal Zapicchi, and the members of the Board know that you recognize the benefits of having field lights and Friday night football at High School North, particularly when it’s not going to cost you any tax dollars, nor draw off any money from the school district budget. You should make it a point to tell the decision makers that you think lights are a good idea, and that you support the Booster Club’s proposal.

Kevin Chapman

North Boosters Club

Editor’s note: Please see related story, page 14.

Hotel Liquor Licenses

With all due respect to Mayor Hsueh, he gets the facts wrong in his letter in your November 5 edition. Mayor Hsueh states that the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control “has concluded that any new application for a hotel/motel liquor license should be publicly bid.” That simply is not true. The ABC has ruled that new applications for a hotel/motel liquor license “may” be bid. It did not rule that they “should” be bid.

Mayor Hsueh also states that requiring all hotels, not just new hotels, to bid for their liquor licenses is “anti-business and would be subject to legal challenge.” The inference is that his proposal requiring new hotels to bid for their liquor licenses is pro-business and would not be subject to legal challenge. Mr. Hsueh is mistaken.

It is hard to understand how requiring new hotels to bid for liquor licenses is pro-business. We suspect that new hotels will not see a bidding requirement that will cost them as much as $600,"000 as being “pro” business.

Mayor Hsueh states that “as the mayor of West Windsor, I have the responsibility of making certain that all segments of our community are treated fairly and equitably, and measures adopted by our township are consistent with state law.” By that standard, with which we wholeheartedly agree, the Mayor should not promote a $600,"000 expense that discriminates against new members of our community and he should not be doing so when applicable “state law” is far from settled.

Limiting the liquor license bidding requirement to new hotels is discriminatory. It is offensive to any sense of fair play. It is not democratic. The requirement should be imposed on all hotels or none at all.

Charles Morgan, Alison Miller

Members, West Windsor Council

Gambatese Explains Planning Statement

Following are excerpts from a letter posted on West Windsor Council President Franc Gambatese’s website, www.francgambatese.com.

On October 20th I attended the planning board meeting and spoke out against the proposed senior housing project on Bear Brook Road. The project calls for 128 condominiums squeezed into seven or eight acres.

There would be two five-story buildings 350 feet long, 45 feet apart from each other. This project, as it stands, does not fit into any of our current ordinances and is under review by the planning board in an attempt to change the zoning to make the ordinances conform to the project.

If this project does come to fruition I feel it will forever change the complexion of our community. Concerned about the precedent this would set, I decided to make my thoughts known publicly. At last Monday’s council meeting (November 8), Council Member Charlie Morgan asked me if he could have some time during the council comments portion of the meeting to discuss an issue. Naturally, I obliged my colleague. When the moment arrived, Mr. Morgan used the opportunity to publicly chastise me for speaking out against the proposed Bear Brook Road senior housing project during a recent planning board meeting.

Mr. Morgan was angered by what he considers to be an abuse of power on my part in the role of council president. Not surprisingly, Council Members Alison Miller and Jackie Alberts threw their comments in. Council Member Kristin Appleget decided to take a higher road and remained above the fray . . .

What is getting lost in this latest political distraction is that this project as it is presently designed is wrong for the location, and wrong for West Windsor. The project does not conform to any of the existing ordinances with regards to height and density. The current height requirement in this zone is three stories and 35 feet. These buildings would be five stories and 65 to 70+ feet high. At 16+ units per acre, this project will attempt to squeeze 128 units onto seven or eight environmentally sensitive acres with a direct impact on our wetlands. That’s more than twice the density allowed by the current ordinance . . .

This project is also a 180-degree turn from the direction this town has taken in the last 20+ years. We have litigated several cases for reasons less obvious than this. We are currently litigating projects encompassing less density and if this were to get through, others we are currently settling actions with could gain an upper hand in increasing the density and scope of their projects. How prudent is this?

My colleagues took me to task for what they considered was impeding the planning board process. Yet, I was drawn into this by concerned members of the planning board, the land owners who contacted me, and at least one member of council who was looking to expedite this project.

By the October 20th meeting I had serious concerns for the way this proposal was being handled, much without the knowledge of the residents. You bet I’m going to speak my mind about it. It was not a rash decision on my part, but rather months of observations.

I could have waited for the process to see itself through the planning board, and then sent it back if it did not conform to our current ordinances. To me that would have been underhanded. I would rather be on public record for my position so that all parties concerned would understand that all current ordinances should be observed. There was a previous attempt to circumvent the planning board and bring it to council, but it was quickly turned back to the planning board.

Then the facts started coming fast and furious. I spoke with several of our township professionals, none of whom thought this was a viable or responsible project for West Windsor. I spoke with the township attorney and asked if I had the right to speak publicly on the matter and was advised that it was a matter of legislation, so in fact I did.

I also notified the mayor of my intent beforehand, along with two members of the planning board. I don’t think I am a one man show.

The rest is for the residents to decide . . . When the dust settles, we need to remember what the real issue is; the wrong project, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Franc Gambatese

President, West Windsor Council

Driving Courtesy

Today as I drove my 16-month-old son to day care, I stopped at the traffic light at Village Road and Lawrence Square Boulevard in West Windsor. (I proceed down Village Road to Quakerbridge Road, and cross Quakerbridge Road onto Lawrence Square Village Boulevard).

As I was waiting at the red light, the vehicle behind me honked furiously because I was not turning right onto Quakerbridge Road. This is not an isolated incident. Several times I have had people honking at me for not turning.

I find it sad and disturbing that my lack of directional signal has ceased to mean that I am not turning and am going straight.

This side of the intersection was designed with two lanes — one for left turns and another for those going straight or turning right. To proceed to my destination I go straight. I cannot help the fact that this blocks other cars for the minute or two that it takes the light to turn.

What I find truly disgusting is the honking and gesturing my son and I are subjected to. I find it sad that a 16-month-old child is subjected to the rage of these drivers. Truthfully, it scared me this morning. Thus, I ask that those proceeding through this intersection be reminded that not everyone is turning at the light.

Please be respectful of other drivers — we are all just trying to get where we need to go. Please use your directionals so that we can all get there safely. Our lives and those of our children depend on it.

Sheryl Brown

Plainsboro

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