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West Windsor Township Council November 2001

2001 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 6, 2001

CANDIDATES FOR WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP 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.

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

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

1. How should zoning regulations be applied to the remaining undeveloped parcels of land, including the Sarnoff and former Cyanamid properties?

2. What is your vision for a town/village center in West Windsor?

3. What measures might you suggest to improve the traffic situation in West Windsor?

4. How do you propose solving the problem of the Alexander Road Bridge?

5. What measures would you recommend to relieve property tax burdens on West Windsor residents?

CANDIDATES FOR WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP COUNCIL

Vote for OneTerm: 2 years (to complete unexpired term)

Rae Roeder

Address:
194 Washington Road, Princeton, NJ 08540

Occupation: 
President of CWA (Communications Workers of America) Local 1033, 321 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey Representing 6000 New Jersey State Workers in Trenton

Education:
Master's Degree in History and Education from East Tennessee State University, 1969 Johnson City, Tennessee
Bachelor's Degree in History and Education from Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ, 1962
NJ Teacher's Certification in Social Studies

Significant Community Activities:
Served on West Windsor Council, 2 terms (1993-1997 and1997-2001, President of Council (1999), Vice President of Council (1993 and 2000);
Organizer of the annual Veteran's Day ceremony and Township Memorial Day Parade;
Worked successfully to obtain National Historic status for the Penns Neck Baptist Church and the Red Lion Inn, the only two sites in West Windsor on the National Historic Register

Responses:

1. In recent times we have seen proposed zoning changes, recommended by planners and other "professionals," that have met with stiff opposition because residents were never consulted. Zoning regulations must begin and end with community input and be neighborhood-friendly, which means keeping two-lane roadways and protecting air quality and open space. Current proposals that would triple the traffic, contain 7-story garages, and devastate a neighborhood, such as proposed by Sarnoff, are unacceptable and will effect all the residents of West Windsor. Reductions in density and building height, and maintaining the greenbelt are important prior to any approvals that may be given to Sarnoff.

2. My vision for a town/village center in West Windsor revolves around the current businesses along Route 571 in Princeton Junction. First of all, the current shopping center in which the Acme is located should be upgraded with a design that would create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere with benches, better signage and improved lighting more in keeping with a neighborhood center. Additionally, the shopping center should be connected to other businesses, such as the Ellsworth center, by both bike paths and pedestrian walkways.

3. Traffic in West Windsor should be directed toward a peripheral road concept that includes bypasses of the historic neighborhoods of both Penns Neck and Edinburg. These bypasses would draw traffic around West Windsor instead of through our neighborhood roads, and would help us keep two-lane roadways in our neighborhoods. While these proposals have not yet been realized, we as a municipality must continue to fight for their construction. If we do not construct these bypasses our neighborhoods will be devastated and traffic will become even more unbearable.

4. The volume of traffic is entirely too great for the existing Alexander Road Bridge and therefore the State is proposing that a new bridge be constructed. Now the questions are: Where will that bridge be built? How will it be built to better disperse traffic? How will it affect neighborhoods? How will it preserve two-lane roadways? And how will it give the Princeton Junction Fire Company access to neighborhoods on both sides of the tracks? These issues are currently under discussion by a task force created by the West Windsor Planning Board. I support that process.

5. West Windsor Township currently collects about $89 million in taxes; 11% for municipal taxes; 65% for school taxes; 22% for Mercer County taxes; and 2% for open space, created by public referendum. The only portion of taxes over which the West Windsor Council has control is the 11% municipal portion. I will work to keep municipal costs down, as I always have, and work to strike a better ratio of commercial ratables.

Furthermore, the Council must continue to lobby the State Legislature to revise its reliance on property taxes to fund education and for impact fees to be charged to developers. This will prevent existing property owners from being overburdened by the financial impact of new developments on existing infrastructure.

 

John Sabino

Address:
35 Zaitz Farm Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550

Occupation:
First Vice President, Merrill Lynch, West Windsor, NJ

Education:
B.S., Montclair State College, Computer Science

Significant Community Activities:
Director, Friends of West Windsor Open Space
Planning board advisor
Planning board representative to the School Board

Responses:

1.Sarnoff has been a good corporate citizen for West Windsor and we need a solution that can balance the needs of the local residents with our desire to keep them and their tax revenues. Decisions we make should not adversely impact the neighbors and they should be part of the planning process. At the reduced buildout that has been proposed, it has been estimated that we can generate over $10 million in new tax revenue from this development. I believe we can balance the need for tax revenues with our desire to save soccer fields, protect environmentally sensitive areas and not overwhelm the local neighborhood. We should change the zoning on both sites so that it provides incentives to maximize open space and cluster development. The former Cyanamid site is the farmland just north of Quakerbridge Road and with 622 acres is the largest undeveloped parcel in the Township. The current owner has announced their intention to sell the land, so it will be developed over the coming years. Now is the time to set the zoning appropriately so that we can both generate tax revenue and acquire more open space. I would like to see the development clustered along Route 1, with the farmland along Clarksville saved for open space.

2. I fully support the efforts that the planning board is undertaking to analyze whether we should have a town or village center in Princeton Junction. Involving all the local neighborhoods to build a consensus for the future is the right approach.

3. I believe that most residents are not willing to expand the roads in our township to accommodate more traffic. In general, expanding roads does not solve the problem, it simply makes it easier for people to drive through our community on their way somewhere else. I do not want four lane roads crisscrossing West Windsor. I do, however, support a properly aligned Millstone bypass.

4. The current proposals put forward in the draft master plan are unacceptable. Under these scenarios it is proposed that various roadways including Clarksville, North Post and Alexander be expanded to four lanes. This would destroy the character of our existing neighborhoods and in some instances people would have to be displaced from their homes. In addition, expanding Clarksville road to four lanes is undesirable since there are two schools on the roadway. I believe that we need additional alternatives than those already presented. For example, routing a roadway through the train station parking lot or building a roadway behind the Police Station are both options that should be explored further. We need some new ideas and to insure that the local residents, who would be most impacted, have a strong say in the outcome and remain involved in the process.

5. I have worked in the financial services industry for 17 years and have extensive experience in budgeting that I can apply to our budget to control growth. I am a strong advocate of continued acquisition of open space since this allows us to manage the growth in our school district, which is the single biggest factor in our taxes. I also support the formation of an economic development council to help us attract and retain desirable businesses for the township. I support new and innovative programs such as the proposed legislation that would allow towns such as West Windsor to impose a tax on hotels located within their town. Lastly, the revenue generated by the Sarnoff and Cyanamid sites will be significant in helping us ease our tax burden. If you would like more detail on my positions on these issues you can visit my website at www.sabino2001.com.