When I first ran for Council, the policy we introduced to West Windsor was growth management. We wanted a long-term vision for our community, including fewer single-family homes, bypass roads to protect our neighborhoods (like New Village Road), retail nubs (like Southfield Shopping Center), more open space, development of parks and athletic facilities, including the community pool, more parking at the train station, and dealing with our Mt. Laurel housing obligation.
Some progress has been made and some blocked, and we are now facing a lot of the same issues: how to build a viable town center in the age of diminishing bricks-and-mortar retail; how to move traffic safely and efficiently; and how to accommodate the increasing population mandated by the affordable housing laws.
We don’t know what the census will reveal about New Jersey’s population. We don’t know what the legislature or the courts will decide in light of the census results. What we do know is that our community’s health requires no new commercial-to-residential zoning changes; not at the side of town, and not in the middle of town.
The ensuing extra school children in our schools, extra traffic on our roads, extra burden on our services would be unacceptable. Growth Management calls for an orderly examination initiated by the Planning Board to look at any changes in zoning.
At the same time, we have to look beyond West Windsor to the effects of our policies on our neighbors, and beyond. We have to do something to control the proliferation of plastics; banning single-use plastic bags would help, recycling plastic wrappers would help, joining with the County, and if necessary the State, to develop more comprehensive recycling would help.
We have to work with the County and state to control the deer, which are not only a health hazard, and a travel hazard, but by destroying vegetation, including new-growth forests, pose a danger to our future ecosystem.
We need people in township government who are familiar with the challenges that our community faces, and has faced, and who can guide us to a better future. Please vote Column E on Nov. 5.
Miller is a candidate for West Windsor Council