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Princeton Council hires consultant for Franklin Avenue properties

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The Princeton Council has awarded a $30,000 contract to a planning consultant to help determine whether the Princeton Housing Authority's Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments should be declared as an area in need of redevelopment.LEA KAHN/STAFF
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The Princeton Council has awarded a $30,000 contract to a planning consultant to help determine whether the Princeton Housing Authority's Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments should be declared as an area in need of redevelopment.LEA KAHN/STAFF
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The Princeton Council has awarded a $30,000 contract to a planning consultant to help determine whether the Princeton Housing Authority's Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments should be declared as an area in need of redevelopment.LEA KAHN/STAFF
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The Princeton Council has awarded a $30,000 contract to a planning consultant to help determine whether the Princeton Housing Authority's Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments should be declared as an area in need of redevelopment.LEA KAHN/STAFF

The Princeton Council has awarded a $30,000 contract to a planning consultant to help determine whether the Princeton Housing Authority’s Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments should be declared as an area in need of redevelopment.

The council awarded the contract at its Jan. 19 meeting to Heyer, Gruel & Associates to conduct a preliminary investigation of the properties. They are located on the corner of Witherspoon Street and Franklin Avenue, opposite the AvalonPrinceton rental apartment complex.

The consultant will visit the site and document the existing conditions, as well as review municipal records related to the site. The consultant also will review records of environmental permits and other data available through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The two Princeton Housing Authority developments on Franklin Avenue include a combined 20 units of one- and two-bedroom rental units. Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace were built in the 1930s and 1940s.

The potential redevelopment of the Franklin Avenue site grew out of the town’s settlement with the Fair Share Housing Center, which sued Princeton – and many other New Jersey towns – for failing to provide its fair share of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.

Last year, the Princeton Council adopted two ordinances that would pave the way for the creation of as many as 80 affordable units and 80 market-rate units on the site of the Princeton Housing Authority’s Franklin Terrace and Maple Terrace developments.

The Princeton Council approved the AH-6 Affordable Housing zone, which is the underlying zone, and the AH-6 Affordable Housing Overlay zone. The overlay zone is an optional zone.

The AH-6 Affordable Housing zone would permit 80 units of affordable housing. It would allow for the construction of one building of up to 45 feet tall, or three-and-a-half stories. It would contain 80 rental units, all earmarked for low- and moderate-income households.

The AH-6 Affordable Housing Overlay zone would allow for a new building that could be five stories tall, with commercial space on the ground floor. It would contain up to 160 rental apartments – 55% set aside for low- and moderate-income households, and 45% earmarked as market rate units.

There would be at least one storefront on the ground floor, facing Witherspoon Street. There could be additional commercial spaces for a total of 10,000 square feet.

Princeton Housing Authority officials said that if the land is redeveloped, it would provide the housing authority with additional housing for low- and very-low income households, in addition to moderate-income households.

The Princeton Housing Authority is committed to its constituency, which is primarily Black, officials said. Many of those constituents have lived in Princeton Housing Authority properties for several generations, officials said.

 

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