Princeton Council introduces ordinance to regulate parking at leased lot

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The Princeton Council has introduced an ordinance that sets the regulations for permit parking for business employees in a parking lot at the former Westminster Choir College campus.

The ordinance, which was introduced at the council’s Jan. 10 meeting, grew out of discussions between the town and Rider University. The university owns the former Westminster Choir College property on Walnut Lane.

Princeton officials and Rider University reached an agreement last month that allows the town to lease the parking lot from the university. There are 193 parking spaces in the lot, whose entrance is off Franklin Avenue.

The lease agreement expires Aug. 31, but may be renewed. Princeton will pay $2,000 per month to Rider University for the use of the parking lot.

The permits will be issued to businesses or schools in Princeton. They will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Business owners may buy up to 10 permits for their employees. The permit fee is $30 per month, and must be purchased for three months at a time. The fee will be waived for Princeton Public Schools employees. Princeton High School and Princeton Middle School are across the street from the choir college campus.

Permit holders may park in the lot between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. No parking is allowed between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Leasing the parking lot from Rider University is one of the recommendations made by the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force, which is seeking to find a balance between employee, visitor and resident parking.

Various proposals have been suggested to accommodate parking and spread it out in town, including in the western section on streets such as Hodge Road, Library Place, Boudinot Street and Morven Place.

The latest set of recommendations, released last month and the focus of a special Princeton Council meeting Jan. 11, dropped permit parkin in the Western Section, in the face of stiff opposition.

The recommendation included on-street permit parking in the Witherspoon-Jackson and “tree streets” neighborhoods (off Nassau Street, on the north and south sides) for residents whose homes lack off-street parking or that have single-car driveways.

The recommendations also included allowing a limited number of parking permits for on-street parking spaces to be allocated to business employees, after factoring in the number of residential on-street parking permits that had been issued.

In addition to leasing the parking lot from Rider University, it was recommended that the municipally-owned parking lot off Maclean Street and underutilized metered parking could be used by the employees.