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West Windsor Mayor and Council May 2001

2001 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, May 8, 2001

CANDIDATES FOR WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP MAYOR AND COUNCIL

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provides nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies.

Reproducing of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 2001 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area 

CANDIDATES FOR WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP MAYOR

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following five questions to all candidates for West Windsor Township Mayor:

1. What measures would you recommend to relieve property tax burdens on West Windsor residents? Please address the "ratables chase."

2. Do you support the rezoning of the Baker Farm on Old Trenton Road from residential to commercial? Why or why not?

3. What is your position on the proposed development of the Sarnoff property on Route One? 
4. What steps would you take to foster communication and cooperation among adjoining municipalities and other agencies and organizations, in matters relating to the planning and development of county and state road projects and other developments? 
5. What qualities and qualifications would you seek in a Township Administrator and a Township attorney?

Candidates for Mayor

Vote for OneTerm: 4 years 

Carole A. Carson (incumbent)
Address:

439 Edinburg Road, West Windsor

Occupation:
Administrative Assistant, Lucar Hardware

Educaton:
A.A., Mercer County Community College

Significant Community Activities:
Township Council Member, Administrator
Parking Authority; Board of Recreation Commissioner
Sponsorship Director, Little League

Responses:

1. The vast majority of property taxes are paid to support our school system. Only by reducing the growth of our school population can we reduce the growth of our property taxes. In the past three years West Windsor has purchased almost 1400 acres of undeveloped residential land, bringing our total to 1,500 acres and eliminating the potential for building 523 new homes. Using the School Board's multiplier of 1.5 students per household, this would result in over 785 more students to educate.

Good quality commercial ratables provide tax relief to residential property and bring good paying jobs to our community. Commercial development should occur in areas that comply with the State Plan and be designed in a way that enhances our community. Proposed projects need to be sensitive to adverse affects on neighborhoods, the environment and traffic.

2. I do support the rezoning of the Baker tract to commercial zoning. This parcel is located in an area that is primarily commercial, has easy access to the Turnpike and is large enough to support an attractive plan. I do not believe that the current zoning for residential development is the best use of this property.

3. Sarnoff is one of West Windsor's best corporate neighbors, providing space for meetings, soccer fields for our children and support for the community. Sarnoff is zoned for the type of commercial development that they have proposed, and I feel that we need to work with Sarnoff to ensure that they remain in West Windsor. I do believe that the Planning Board will work with Sarnoff to develop a plan that is sensitive to the neighborhood, the environment and the traffic issues. This may require Sarnoff to reduce the size of the development.

4. I meet frequently with the Mayors of adjoining municipalities to discuss issues that impact our region. We all share the problems of the region, and we should all try to work together to find the best solutions.

5. Beyond the required education and experience, I would look for a Business Administrator that has experience in a community similar to West Windsor and a person who would really care about this community and its residents.

West Windsor is very fortunate to have excellent legal counsel, and I would continue to recommend our current attorney Michael Herbert

Shing-Fu Hsueh
Address:
12 Bridgewater Drive, West Windsor

Occupation:
Administrator, Water Supply Administration, NJDEP
Adjunct Professor  Rutgers University

Education:
Rutgers University - Ph.D., M.Ph., M.S., Engineering
National Taiwan University - B.S., Engineering
Certified Public Manager
Licensed Professional Engineer
Licensed Professional Planner

Significant Community Activities:
8th Year West Windsor Council Member (Since 1993)
4 Terms as Council President, one term as Council Vice President
Member  Friends of West Windsor Open Space
Open Space Preservation Task Force
Instituted Stormwater Management Committee (August 2000)
Board Member - NJ State Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (appointed by Gov. Whitman '97; Re-appointed for a 4-year term in 2000)
Member - Mercer County Economic Development Council (Since 1996)
Steering Group Member - NJ Civic Education Consortium (Since 1998)
Advisor to Humphrey Fellowship Program, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (2001)
Trustee - Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (Since 1998)
West Windsor Volunteer Tai-Chi Instructor (Since 1995)
Former Member - Board of Health & Environmental Commission, West Windsor (1986  1993)

Responses:

1. The ratable chase is rooted in a state tax system that places inordinate burdens on the local property tax to finance local government services, and zoning for houses at unsustainable levels. A balanced approach is needed:

1) Proactive public/private partnerships to attract and retain quality ratables while exploring ways to assure that commercial development works for the community and for businesses.
2) Efficient government operations; and cost savings realized by sharing government services and costs with the school district and other jurisdictions.
3) A sustainable zoned residential population.
4) Reducing reliance on property taxes by supporting state tax system reform;
and active pursuit of grants from federal, state and county sources.

2. I prefer acquisition of the property as part of our open space preservation program if financially feasible. If not, I would support a capacity-based, context sensitive rezoning for appropriately-scaled development that provides a mix of adult residential, and professional office uses with requirements and incentives for developers to dedicate open space at no cost to taxpayers.

3. Sarnoff has been a good neighbor for more than 60 years. As a high tech firm with potential synergies benefiting the town and the region, I support the concept of renovating and expanding their R&D facilities. I would work closely with them to address issues of scale, traffic and environmental impacts, and context-sensitive design. I would explore traffic management and public/private transit options with them. My experience as an engineer and professional planner will help in this effort.

4. Once elected, I will contact state, county and local officials and regional organizations. West Windsor needs to reestablish a leadership role in promoting a productive dialogue with those active in our region. We need to work together to support the creation of a Central Jersey Planning Organization to replace or supplement the remote Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in reviewing projects affecting us. I promise collaboration in shaping state and county proposed road projects to reconcile WW's concerns with those of the broader region. We will be sensitive to the concerns of others and would expect reciprocity.

5. Professional experience, managerial skill, broad-based perspectives, the reasonable prospect for continuity in office, and ability to work with people in a nonpartisan fashion, are criteria I will use. The process for selecting a Business Administrator is especially important given our recent experience. I will work with Council in a nonpartisan attempt to get its timely input, and to develop consensus on selection of this important position.

 

CANDIDATES FOR WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP COUNCIL 

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following five questions to all candidates for West Windsor Township Council:

1. What measures would you recommend to relieve property tax burdens on West Windsor residents? Please address the "ratables chase." 
2. Do you support the rezoning of the Baker Farm on Old Trenton Road from residential to commercial? Why or why not?
3. What is your position on the proposed development of the Sarnoff property on Route One? 
4. What is the role of the Township Council in dealing with drug and alcohol issues among teenagers? 
5. What solution do you propose to reduce the traffic through Edinburg? Address the environmental and cost concerns involved.

Candidates for Council

Vote for TwoTerm: 4 years

 Jackie Alberts (incumbent)

Address:
24 Westminster Drive

Occupation:
Attorney

Education:
Cornell Law School (J.D. 1984)
Vassar College (A.B. in Geology with full Honors 1981)

Significant Community Activities:
Member, West Windsor Council (June1999 to present), Council liaison to the Zoning and Affordable Housing Boards
Director, Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS)
West Windsor Planning Board (Chair 1997-8; Vice Chair 1993-5); This Board was awarded three consecutive Achievement in Planning Awards from the New Jersey Planning Officials; Recognized by Congressman Rush Holt as one of New Jersey's Environmental Leaders
Co-Author, West Windsor Administrative Code
Founding Member, Community Dispute Resolution Panel
Co-Founder, People Against Uncontrolled Suburban Expansion
Former Counsel, Citizens for Orderly Growth
Awards for community service from three different mayors
Co- Leader, Girl Scouts
Member, UES and Dutch Neck PTAs
Fundraiser, Cherry Tree Club
Volunteer foryouth recreational programs.

Responses:

1. We must lobby for Statewide property tax reform (including senior relief) and increased aid. The key to limiting taxes is controlling growth. I have consistently voted to purchase open space, and voted against Toll and Windsor Ponds to save our residents millions in new school costs. We need an Economic Development Council to choose only ratables that enhance our community. Ratables will not reduce taxes unless we control the budget. I imposed impact fees on developers for growth in our roads and affordable housing and advocate school impact fees. We can reduce costs by joint purchasing and eliminating redundancy. On Council, I lowered taxes the first year and opposed two municipal tax increases.

2. When the Mayor wanted warehouses at Baker Farm, I joined my Council colleagues to reject the rezoning. Purchasing the Farm for open space should be our primary goal. Any development (e.g., adult residential and doctors' offices) should be conditioned on saving the Farm's Greenbelt at no cost to taxpayers. We must balance our desire for ratables with the need to maintain our quality of life. We must separate massive commercial from residential areas, and ban large trucks from local roads.

3. Sarnoff is a quality ratable and should remain in West Windsor. Sarnoff's build-out should be scaled back from Penn's Neck and not clogWashington Road with thousands of additional cars. As co- author of the Timed Growth Ordinance, I strongly support capacity-based planning that links growth to existing roads and other infrastructure. Working cooperatively, we can adjust this development consistent with our desire to limit Route 571 to three lanes, a two-lane Millstone Bypass and protection of Sarnoff's greenbelt and playing fields.

4. Council should fund activities so our children have something constructive to do instead of drugs. We should have a Youth Council, Arts Council and Community Center. I have designed parks and playing fields, but know we need more than recreation. Therefore, I funded community policing programs, so officers can speak with kids about drug risks. I voted to ban smoking on school property, to support PTAs' efforts to prevent teenage smoking

5. Edinberg's traffic is mostly from outside of West Windsor. Our taxpayers need to see their County tax dollars coming back in ways that reduce rather than increase this County traffic. Adjustments to the stoplight would help temporarily. Any southerly bypass should be delineated for least impact to our environmentally sensitive areas.

 

Mike Lynch
Address:

29 Cranbury Road, Princeton Junction

Occupaton:
Consultant

Education:
BBA St. Johns University, 1960

Significant Community Activities:
Founding Member and Past Secretary, FOWWOS (Friends of West Windsor Open Space)
Former Member and Vice-Chairman, West Windsor Zoning Board of Adjustment, 1982-1993
Past President, West Windsor Lions Club
Citizen Advisory Board, Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf
volunteer for West Windsor Domestic Violence Victim Response Team, Habitat for Humanity-Millstone Basin Affiliate, and Womanspace.

Responses:

1. Continue to refine the municipal operating budget to extract the most cost effective administration of services  exert influence on state elected officials and enact real estate tax limitations on senior citizen property owners.

Ratables provide a significant restraint against the need to increase taxes. But ratables worsen our traffic congestion. We need to assess each proposed ratable carefully to balance the tax benefit with the adverse secondary impact on residents.

2. Yes, because in addition to being an excellent ratable, it would preclude the construction of additional single family homes, thereby reducing the pressure for expansion in the school system.

3. Sarnoff has been an excellent West Windsor neighbor for over 30 years. I'm in favor of their plans for a staged development as long as it addresses the secondary impacts on traffic congestion, adequate screening from adjoining properties and sound environmental planning.

4. Support the West Windsor Police Department in their school initiatives dealing with alcohol and drug education.

5. The residents of the Edinburg section of West Windsor Township have endured increasing traffic congestion, especially over the last 15 years. They deserve a solution. However, I do not support West Windsor paying for the $20 million cost of building a bypass. I do not see that the bypass will be built unless Mercer County provides the funding.

 

Alison Miller
Address:
41 Windsor Drive, West Windsor

Occupation: 
Planner

Education:
B.A. Hunter College
M.C.R.P. (Master of City and Regional Planning) Rutgers University

Significant Community Activities:
West Windsor Township Council (1993-9)
Planning Board (1993-5;1997-9)
Zoning Board (2000-present)
Affordable Housing Committee (1992-99)
Board of Directors of Friends of West Windsor Open Space (1996-present)
West Windsor-Plainsboro School District Strategic Action Team (1992)
Pool Committee (1995)
Open Space Committee (1998-9)
Ron Rogers Arboretum Committee (1999-2000)

Responses:

1. At the local level, zoning to slow the increase in school children and strict scrutiny of municipal spending to encourage efficient government. At the state level, property tax reform, including educational impact fees on development, ratable benefit sharing by abutting neighbors and members of regional school districts, and means-tested relief for seniors.

The 566 municipalities already share the traffic impacts of their neighbors' ratables; if they could share some tax benefits as well it could slow the chase after ratables by turning rivals into partners, and make regional planning possible.

2. It depends. I will not support any rezoning unless a) it requires preservation of at least as much open space as the present zoning with the cluster option, including all of the greenbelt, b) it blends as well with its residential neighbors (no intrusive lighting) and c) it does not result in an increase in truck traffic. I would consider a change to age-restricted residential zoning or to professional offices if the above conditions were met.

3. Such a development by Sarnoff would cause insurmountable traffic, and therefore safety, problems on the supporting road system, besides being intrusive onto the neighboring residences and causing or exacerbating flooding problems. Among the agencies Sarnoff reported endorsing their proposal were the Office of State Planning and the Regional Planning Partnership. I want to know if these experts propose to handle the traffic by road construction and if they expect West Windsor taxpayers to bear the cost, turning Sarnoff into an anti-ratable. All these problems are solvable with a partnership of state, local and private interests.

4. Legislative solutions to social problems should be considered only as a last resort; Council should assess proposals after they come from the School Board, social services or the police.

5. Any adjustment of the present Old Trenton Road in Edinburg would result in more traffic; the awkwardness of the currrent intersection keeps traffic away from central West Windsor as well as Edinburg Village. The proposed bypass road would spare the village but draw more traffic into town, while destroying an expanse of valuable wetlands at an estimated cost of, at minimum, 18.5 million dollars. 
The traffic that clogs Edinburg comes from outside the township. We must work with the county and state on a solution which protects existing residences and businesses.

 

Harley Pickens
Address:

7 Steele Drive, West Windsor

Occupation:
Retired

Education:
B.S. in I.E. Lehigh University 1950

Significant Community Activities:
Founding Member of FOWWOS
Member, West Windsor Parking Authority
Mayor's Task Force on Senior Housing
Shade Tree Committee
Past President Lions Club
Retired Major General
Chair Arboretum Commission

Respomses:

1. Work cooperatively with School Board and neighboring towns to foster economies in purchases and services;
Encourage School Board restraint in budgets;
Continue open space acquisition to eliminate new home construction;
Support enactment of tax breaks for seniors to encourage their staying; and
Encourage high quality ratables for tax relief and good jobs.

The "ratables chase" poses a Catch-22. Ratables provide an important cushion against imposing higher tax burdens. But ratables bring more traffic and exacerbate congestion problems. Each proposed ratable needs to be examined closely to minimize adverse effects on the environment, traffic, and the neighbors.

2. Yes because:
We need to preclude homes from being built on the property;
It is an ideal location for commercial activities given the proximity to the Hightstown Bypass, Route 571 and the NJ Turnpike;
It is one of the gateways to West Windsor; and
West Windsor taxpayers need quality ratables to help restrain the growth in their real estate taxes.

3. Sarnoff is a valued member of the West Windsor community, but their concept plan is unacceptable in scope and content. I support Sarnoff's expansion of its offices for its future growth, but only if it addresses:
Traffic congestion,
Adequate buffering for the neighbors,
Environmental impact, and
Improved mass transportation (i.e., light rail, bus).

I intend to balance Sarnoff's objectives with the needs of West Windsor residents. The concerns of residents must be addressed in any final plan.

4. Council may enact ordinances and can approve funds to deal with these issues;
Council may work with the Board of Education to combat problems;
Council can evaluate concepts for youth centers and their implementation; and
Council encourages and funds police efforts to deal with these problems.

5. I support the construction of a bypass that relieves the congestion in Edinburg. I do not support West Windsor bearing the $20 million plus burden of construction on this county road. Without the support of Mercer County -- support that is sadly missing at the present time -- I do not see that the bypass is likely to be built. The bypass would traverse wetlands that require approvals and legislation, and could cause environmental problems. The unsatisfactory but best answer for addressing the traffic congestion in Edinburg is to widen Old Trenton Road and rebuild the intersection with Edinburg Road.