Princeton Council waives permit fees for affordable housing units on Bunn Drive

New housing development

Aiming to help the Princeton Community Housing Development Corp., the Princeton Council has agreed to waive the building permit fees associated with the nonprofit group’s plans to build 25 affordable housing units at Princeton Community Village.

The Princeton Council approved the waiver of the building permit fees at its April 12 meeting.

Princeton Community Housing received approval from the Princeton Planning Board in March to build 25 affordable apartments at Princeton Community Village at 480 Bunn Dr., opposite Hilltop Park. The rental apartment complex, which has 239 affordable housing units, opened in 1975.

The additional 25 units grew out of the Municipality of Princeton’s lawsuit settlement with the Fair Share Housing Center last year. Princeton, along with many towns in New Jersey, was sued by the nonprofit group for allegedly failing to provide its fair share of affordable housing.

Princeton Community Village has 71 one-bedroom apartments and 168 two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a clubhouse to serve the needs of the community.

The 25 affordable units approved by the Princeton Planning Board include five one-bedroom apartments, 14 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom apartments.

The one-bedroom apartments will be about 670 square feet, and the two-bedroom apartments will be about 940 square feet. The three-bedroom apartments will vary in size from 1,175 square feet to 1,215 square feet.

Three apartments will meet the standards of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and will be located on the first floor. One of the two-bedroom apartments will be set aside for a person who is visually impaired or who has a hearing impairment.

The new apartments will be built in a three-story building, located near the Holly House apartment building on Sassafras Row. There will be 38 parking spaces, with an additional 35 parking spaces to be “banked” – not built unless they are needed.

Parking is the number one issue with the residents, said Edward Truscelli, executive director of Princeton Community Housing. Car share and buses will not meet the residents’ needs, he said.

Meanwhile, the plan calls for two electric vehicle charging stations. Conduits will be provided for future electric vehicle charging stations. Truscelli said he knows of only one electric vehicle at Princeton Community Village.

At the Planning Board meeting, Planning Board member Zenon Tech-Czarny pushed for more electric vehicle charging stations, noting that he believes there will be demand for electric vehicles.

“(Electric cars) are not just for rich people. We should allow for people to get an electric vehicle,” Tech-Czarny said. Lower income people should have access to electric vehicles, he said.

One resident who lives in the Holly House apartment building agreed and said that while he does not own an electric vehicle now, he might buy one in the future. Providing electric vehicle charging stations could encourage people to buy them, he said.

Additional sustainability measures are included in the new apartment building. The roof will be designed to accommodate solar panels, and kitchen and laundry equipment will meet Energy Star efficiency ratings. Each unit will have laundry equipment.