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Public hearing again postponed for Lanwin’s proposed housing on Princeton Ridge

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The Princeton Planning Board’s on-again, off-again public hearing on Lanwin Development Corp.’s proposed subdivision on the Princeton Ridge – slated for the board’s May 20 meeting – is off again.

The public hearing has been postponed until the Planning Board’s July 1 meeting, because the environmental consultant hired by objectors to the application was not available to testify at the May 20 meeting.

The proposed single-family home development is planned for a 90.6-acre parcel, bounded by Herrontown Road, Herrontown Lane and Mount Lucas Road in Princeton, and by the Montgomery Walk townhouse development in Montgomery Township.

Lanwin Development Corp. is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval for the proposed subdivision to create 30 building lots. Each lot would be about a half-acre in size, using the cluster option. They would be built on 18.5 acres of land that had been cleared for farming many years ago.

The developer also will set aside a three-acre lot on Mount Lucas Road that would be dedicated for the development of affordable housing.

The remainder of the tract, which would be about 68 acres, would remain as open space.

Environmental consultant Blaine Rothauser was traveling and could not attend the May 20 meeting, said attorney Bruce Afran, who represents the objectors.

Rothauser had started his presentation at the Princeton Planning Board’s March 5, 2020, meeting, but did not complete it. The March 2020 meeting was the ninth meeting in a series of public hearings on the application that started in 2018.

At the March 5, 2020, public hearing, Rothauser testified that the Princeton Ridge is a critical habitat and that it is the type of place that does not evolve overnight. The proposed housing development would mean losing 30 acres in an environmentally sensitive area, he said.

Rothauser said that over a period of 12 days, he observed conditions in the area proposed for the development. He counted many species of birds and reptiles, some of which need vernal pools for breeding.

Vernal pools form at certain times of the year from rainwater. The vernal pools, which double as breeding grounds for certain species of animals, also are part of the food nexus because predators know where those pools are located, he said.

According to Princeton’s Environmental Resource Inventory, the Princeton Ridge holds some of the oldest and most completely forested areas in the town, Rothauser testified at the March 5, 2020, meeting. The proposed development would mean cutting down as many as 3,000 trees.

The trees are interconnected with the birds, insects and mammals that live on the Princeton Ridge, he said. The wildlife need the trees, such as the birds that make their nests in the trees.

The wetland areas on the Lanwin Development Corp. property are considered “exceptional value wetlands” by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Rothauser said.



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