I did it again this year—I “walked” from the West Windsor’s west boundary where Quaker Road crosses the Delaware and Raritan Canal to the east boundary at the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton, from the north boundary at Lower Harris Street to the last southbound house on Line Road. What’s new with West Windsor in 2019?
Residents concern about residential overdevelopment. Many residents, probably most, that I’ve spoken to are concerned about this issue and want to act on it. But, it is a complicated issue that most residents need more information about to untangle the intricate connections between our affordable housing obligation, West Windsor’s remaining buildable land spaces and the overall process of residential housing development. I will move our Council to create an education process, an “awareness drive,” to provide our residents with the information needed to understand, get involved and unite our voices in fighting residential overdevelopment.
One more open space parcel preserved. This October, we acquired the 8.8-Acre Applegate Parcel for open space for $275,000. This followed years of back and forth negotiation. The land is located at 163 Clarksville Rd by the narrow Clarksville Road Bridge. When the aging bridge is replaced and widened, this land can be used for the installation of a safe pedestrian/bicycle connector, linking several unconnected regions in town.
The hottest developer topic. It is the use variance application submitted by WWM Properties West to build 420 all affordable garden apartments on a 21.50-acre parcel of land across Route 571 from the Southfield Shopping Center. West Windsor does not support an affordable/normal-sized family unit ratio above a healthy 25%. Our Zoning Board will discuss the application again on Nov. 9. I stand firm against this development proposal.
Time for a township-wide pavement preservation program. It is great that we started pavement preservation this past June (after my two years of advocating) by microsurfacing Marian Drive and Dinsmore Lane. After that, there has been no new road preservation effort. It is time to preserve the remaining 122 miles of West Windsor roads, and only by doing so can each West Windsor family begin to save $500 per year in taxes, vehicle repair costs, and gas consumption and West Windsor’s air pollution decrease by 2%.
More interest in switching to the sewer system. More residents and neighborhoods are interested in converting from a septic system to a sewer system: Princeton Oaks, Cubberley Street, the area behind McCaffrey’s Food Market all the way up to Rabbit Hill Road, Windsor-Edinburg Road and South Post Road.
Princeton Oaks residents are looking into another attempt to gain a majority vote in supporting the switch, the Cubberley Street neighborhood is getting an appraisal from the township, and residents behind McCaffrey’s may soon get to the appraisal stage. The South Post Road neighborhood (across from the Mercer County Park) and the Windsor-Edinburg Road neighborhood perhaps have too few residents to sponsor a sewer line despite the need for both sewer and water lines. I will help during the switching process.
Troublesome traffic spots and township-wide speeding. These issues should be addressed with a township-wide roadway safety plan rather than the current case-by-case method, as I have learned in a traffic management course taken at Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.
Mixed-use shops are not renting. One year ago, residents began to move in at Parc on Bear Brook Road. Currently, no first-floor store space is occupied despite the marketing. While the mixed-use model has been popular—where the first floor is for businesses and the second floor is for residential housing use, its suitability for West Windsor at this time should be re-examined.
We are acting to protect our environment. We use more reusable containers—bags, water bottles, reusable take out containers, and reusable coffee pods, etc. Regardless of whether one supports the plastic bag ban, he/she supports reducing plastic waste with various actions practiced at his/her own comfort level. The general trend is towards how the Princeton Farmers Market has become—one feels strange not bringing his/her own reusable bags. More residents inquired about a township wide composting program; the Wang Miller Lin team used 100% recyclable campaign signs.
Township-resident communication remains fragmented. Social media savvy residents do not receive/read the information published in the township newspaper (which has gone monthly from biweekly this October), and vise versa for residents that read. Township events, policies and messages can be disseminated more effectively to more residents.
Our seniors seek meaningful community integration. Our seniors are full of energy and ideas; they need cohesive revenues to give back to our community. And yet, for one example, our schools no longer have the seniors-read-to-children program and our township has not replaced it with a sufficient amount of other diverse and well-structured give-back programs.
Our first Little Free Food Pantry. It is coming on Nov. 9. It will be located by the West Windsor Arts Center, taking non-perishable food items. Take what you need, leave what you can.
Our first recycled bench. The recycled bench from plastic film and wraps will be placed in Ronald R. Rogers Arboretum this Fall. Enjoy.
Yan Mei Wang
Yang is a candidate for West Windsor Council