Utility Service Element

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Detective Sgt. Ben Gering
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The purpose of the Utility Service Element is to ensure the existence of an adequate infrastructure for the present and projected population of Princeton, without adversely affecting the environment or the community’s quality of life. There are eight major areas of concern: Water Supply, Sewer Service, Solid Waste Disposal, Energy, Electric Power and Utilities, Storm-Water Detention Facilities, Transmission of Energy and Emerging Technologies.

Utility services play a critical role in shaping future growth. The availability of sewer and water lines, in particular, is essential for balanced development. They permit growth in appropriate locations where installation of on-site sewage disposal systems and/or private wells is impractical due to environmental constraints. By the same token, inappropriate expansion of these services can result in development inconsistent with the Master Plan, such as in areas that are environmentally sensitive, of historic significance, or designated for open space preservation.1996 POLICY STATEMENT The policy of the Utility Element is to provide adequate infrastructure to serve the needs of the Princeton community without adversely affecting the environment or quality of life in Princeton. Utility expansion should be based upon changing demands and environmental considerations. The location of new utilities or expanded facilities should guide growth to appropriate areas of the community.

1996 - 2001 GOALSIn past Master Plans the Regional Planning Board of Princeton identified three goals which were used as general guides in determining the future provision of utility services. The Board has now identified one additional goal which recognizes Princeton's responsibility to the region. Listed below are the goals for the 1996 - 2001 Utilities Element:

I.Provide an adequate level of utility service, at a reasonable cost, to serve the present and projected future population of the Princeton Community.

II.Facilitate the implementation of other elements of the Master Plan through proper utility service planning.

III.Ensure that utility service does not have a negative impact upon the environment or quality of life within the Princeton Community.

IV.Provide for the Princeton community's fair share of regional utilities but recognize that other communities should bear their fair share as well.

V.Develop a regional master plan for drainage to address flooding in built-up areas as well as to ensure that Lake Carnegie is protected from polluted storm water run-off.

1989 - 1996 CHANGES As a result of the 1989 Master Plan recommendations, Elizabethtown Water Company, the principal supplier of potable water in Princeton, improved the water distribution system. New transmission, storage and pumping facilities have recently been completed. Specifically, Elizabethtown Water Company has added a water tank to the existing tank located north of Drakes Corner Road providing a total of approximately 2.5 million gallons. Two new tanks located on Route 206 (approximately 13.75 million gallons total) came on line in early 1995.

Elizabethtown Water has also constructed a new 48" water main from its water treatment plant in Bound Brook through Hillsborough. This will greatly enhance the water supply necessary for adequate service to Princeton and several adjacent municipalities. The Rocky Hill Pump Station and Water Treatment Plant on Harrison Street have also been upgraded to better serve the Princeton region. While many of these upgrades are located in Princeton they will serve the region and represent Princeton's fair share of regional utility services.

The Mercer County 208 Sewer Service Plan has been amended as recommended in the 1989 Master Plan to include areas recommended for affordable housing and other areas not already served by sewers. In addition, environmentally sensitive areas and those with other developmental constraints have been removed from the 208 Sewer Plan area. Amendments to the 208 Sewer Plan for the Institute for Advanced Studies properties, conversion of the Pretty Brook treatment plant to a pump station and the diversion of flow from Montgomery-Rocky Hill treatment plant to SBRSA have recently been approved.

In 1989, recycling of metal goods and composting of organic materials was informally handled by the Township at the municipal landfill. Bottles, cans, and newspapers were recycled at the Township's facility in the Princeton Shopping Center. A County-wide recycling program is currently in place which provides bi-weekly curbside pick-up of all recyclable material. The Township still maintains its recycling facility at the Princeton Shopping Center as an additional convenience to its residents.

The recent amendments to the Federal Clean Air Act and the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act require that we seek ways to reduce car trips as a way to clean the air and reduce congestion. The Princeton community supports this legislation and continues to promote energy conservation.

The primary concern of this element regarding electric power and communication utilities is related to underground versus aboveground installations. The Board now requires that all new utilities be placed underground. Deregulation of electrical utilities and construction of cogeneration facilities may result in a loss of revenue for the municipalities. The gross receipts and franchise tax has just been repealed by the legislature.

Eight regional detention basins were originally proposed in the Killiam report and three have been constructed. The Township's Flood Control Committee has recommended the deletion of one basin in the Princeton Ridge area due to wetland concerns.

1996 - 2001 STRATEGIES


Water SupplyAn adequate water supply has always been a major concern of this element. To ensure that the problems of the early 1990's that were from drought conditions and accelerated residential development do not reoccur, the following strategies are proposed.

  • Continue to work with Elizabethtown Water Company to ensure an adequate supply of potable water.
  • Coordinate the replacement of substandard distribution mains with road reconstruction.
  • Ensure adequate water pressure and volume for fire fighting purposes.
  • Encourage the replacement of outdated fire hydrants with national standard threads.
  • Ensure water quality for private wells through testing and mapping.


Sewer ServiceThe maintenance and operation of the sewer collection system is the responsibility of the Joint Sewer Operating Committee (SOC), which is comprised of representatives from the Borough and Township. Treatment of sewage is the responsibility of the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority (SBRSA) which treats sewerage from Princeton and several adjoining communities.

The rated capacity of the SBRSA treatment plant is approximately 11.7 million gallons per day. The most recent average flow to the treatment plant, for the 12 months period ending April 1995, was 8.929 million gallons. Sewage flow from the Princeton community was 3.878 million gallons per day during this period (approximately 43 percent of the total flow).

Capacity at the SBRSA is adequate for near term needs, however additional improvements may be necessary to meet long term growth. The SBRSA forecasts that flow from Princeton will be approximately 4.1 million gallons a day by the year 2000 and 4.4 million gallons per day by the year 2010. The SBRSA future plans include upgrading the treatment plant capacity to 13.7 million gallons per day. The SBRSA's long term expansion plans include increasing capacity to approximately 20 million gallons per day.Existing septic systems located within the 208 Sewer Plan area are permitted to continue unless they malfunction at which point the owners will be required to connect to the sewer system.

  • Continue the Sewer Operating Committee's inflow and infiltration maintenance program.
  • Replace sewers, as part of roadway reconstruction projects.
  • Analyze build-out and sewer flow needs for the Princeton community.
  • Ensure that the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority treatment plant will have sufficient capacity to handle projected sewage flows from the Princeton Community.
  • Pursue ways to permit, if appropriate, Princeton to control expansion projects at the SBRSA.
  • Encourage the SBRSA not to accept additional wastewater from new service areas.
  • Continue a program for inspection and repair of stormwater collector lines
  • Sewer service extensions should be consistent with the Mercer County 208 Sewer Plan and with the present and projected capacity of the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority Treatment Plant.
  • Continue the policy of balancing any proposed 208 Sewer Plan expansion with an equal reduction in land area.


Solid Waste DisposalThe Princeton community currently recycles slightly more than 50 percent of its solid waste. Most of the nonrecyclable solid waste is trucked to the Grows Landfill in Falls Township, Pennsylvania, in accordance with the Mercer County Waste Management Plan. Trash collection in the Borough is provided by the municipality via a private hauler. The Township does not coordinate trash pick-up and individual homeowners must contract with private haulers.

Mercer County has recently decided not to construct a Regional Resource Recovery Facility. Questions regarding the financing, size, long term cost to tax payers, and environmental concerns were cogent enough to derail the project.

  • Encourage recycling of glass, metals, and paper through source separation.
  • Encourage the composting of yard waste.
  • Investigate new ways to recycle kitchen waste.
  • Assist downtown commercial properties to recycle by encouraging shared storage areas.
  • Oppose solid waste burning processes that would be environmentally and financially damaging.


EnergyThe Planning Board supports policies designed to conserve energy in residential, commercial and transportation areas. The Board encourages the use of new technology to further energy conservation, cleaning the air and reducing traffic congestion.

One recent example of energy conservation is Princeton University's proposal to construct a cogeneration facility to meet the needs of the University in a more efficient manner. Other examples include the Board's continued focus on improving traffic flow in Princeton by providing alternatives to the automobile as well as providing alternative routes.

  • Encourage the incorporation of energy-efficient design features in new development, particularly low and moderate income housing.
  • Encourage conservation measures in municipal and school buildings, including the rehabilitation of old heating plants.
  • Promote the development of expanded public transportation, park and ride facilities, vanpooling, and other alternatives to single occupancy vehicle trips.
  • Develop innovative zoning techniques which will reduce single occupancy vehicle trips.


Electric Power and Communications (Telephone and Cable TV) UtilitiesThe Board remains committed to the underground installations of utility lines whenever possible and encourages the placement underground of existing above ground utilities whenever major road reconstruction occurs. The Board has also identified the need for greater emphasis on the screening, location, and size of above ground utility cabinets.

  • Promote the installation of underground utilities in new residential development and in historic districts. 
  • Encourage the relocation of existing above ground utilities underground whenever road reconstruction occurs. 
  • Ensure that any above ground utility cabinet is adequately screened and blends in with existing development. Installation of transformers for new developments should be located on site away form occupied structures.


Storm-Water Detention FacilitiesThe Board supports the construction of regional detention basins where appropriate. Recent site development has emphasized the need for safe and environmentally sensitive design of detention basins. The regional detention feasibility study prepared by Elson T. Killiam Associates, Inc. continues to be used as a guide for planning the installation of regional detention basins as it effects new development.

Hydraulic studies are necessary to determine what improvements can be made to correct flooding in already built-up areas. These studies should examine ways to coordinate the various existing detention facilities outflow, locations for additional detention basins, and recommend areas to desnag including dredging, rechannel streams and replacing culverts. A number of streams empty into Harry’s Brook and this drainage area should be a priority area for study. Specific flooding problems have been identified in the Meadowbrook area, Witherspoon/Spring Street/Cemetery area, Mercer Road between Springdale and Edgehill, Humbert and Greenview, and the blue stone storm sewer in Vandeventer Avenue. A special study to determine the impact of storm water run-off from Princeton University properties should be undertaken.

.The Board's policy regarding stormwater control is as follows.

  • Promote an integrated approach to regional storm-water management which addresses both water quantity and quality in the Township. 
  • Design detention basins to fit into the natural terrain and preserve or reforest vegetation where appropriate in the Township. 
  • Detention basins should be designed utilizing techniques which minimize disturbance and the size of the basin such as diversion of flow, compensation, and alternative quality measures. 
  • Control both storm water quantity and quality in the Borough where feasible.


Energy Transmission IssuesGas transmission companies are urged to carefully monitor their lines. When repair or replacement is necessary, it should be done in a coordinated way minimizing inconvenience to the public. A recent gas line explosion in the Edison area has heightened our awareness of pipeline safety. Pipelines should be carefully monitored and those developments in close proximity to these lines should have two means of egress.

Recent research has raised concern regarding the long term effect of electro-magnetic fields (EMF) on people, especially children, in close proximity to high levels of EMFs. The Board has responded to this concern by promoting a prudent avoidance strategy regarding EMFs.

  • Determine the adequacy of the inspection of national gas transmission lines to ensure public safety. 
  • Utilize prudent avoidance in reducing electro-magnetic fields. 
  • Obtain notification regarding modifications to electrical service from both utility companies and large users. 
  • Oppose upgrades to electrical service beyond 26 kilovolts. 
  • Develop standards which would permit an assessment of the impact of energy use on the community by large users of energy.


Emerging TechnologiesEmerging technologies is a new area of concern for the Planning Board. The way businesses and residents in Princeton will communicate, transfer data, and collect and receive information is rapidly changing. The Board's policy is to ensure that beneficial new technology is available to Princeton residents and businesses.

  • Encourage communication companies to provide fiber optic service to the Princeton Community. 
  • Develop standards to ensure proper placement and screening of satellite dishes. 
  • Encourage the development of public access to computers at schools, libraries, and municipal buildings. 
  • Monitor technological developments that impact infrastructure or residents' quality of life. 
  • Encourage the utilization of cable television as a tool for providing greater public access to municipal meetings and community events.

Witherspoon-Jackson Historic District



Mercer County Affordable Housing Veterans Residence provides rental units for low-income veterans. The rental property is located at 2280 Hamilton Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08619. For more information, visit:

For eligibility and requirements, download the PDF handbook at:

To view the application, download a PDF copy at:

For more information, contact the Mercer County Affordable Housing Program at:

640 South Broad Street, Trenton, NJ 08611

Phone: (609) 989-6858, Fax (609) 989-0306



3.4.2      Municipality-Specific Housing Programs

In Alphabetical Order by Municipality

Ewing: The Township of Ewing coordinates its affordable housing program in collaboration with

Piazza & Associates. They provide both home sales and rental units for low and moderate-income households.

Princeton Forrestal Village

216 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 786-1100, Fax: (609) 786-1105




Hamilton: Hamilton Townshipcoordinates its affordable housing program in collaboration with Piazza & Associates. They provide both home sales and rental units for low and moderate-income households.

Princeton Forrestal Village

216 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 786-1100, Fax: (609) 786-1105




Hamilton: Hamilton Township Housing and Urban Development Office provides information regarding Community Development Block Grant Program (i.e. housing rehabilitation), rental assistance (Housing Choice Voucher Program), and affordable housing.

2090 Greenwood Avenue, P.O. Box 00150 Hamilton, NJ 08650

Phone: (609) 890-3675, Fax: (609) 890-3525




Hopewell Township: TheTownship of Hopewell affordable housing program provides both for sale homes and rental units. Hopewell’s Affordable Sales are managed by Princeton Community Housing Development Corporation.

One Monument Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 924-3822, ext. 5




Hopewell Borough: Hopewell Borough provides affordable housing in accordance with COAH. Contact the affordable housing liaison for more information.

88 East Broad Street, Hopewell, NJ 08525

Phone: (609) 466-2636, Fax: (609) 466-8511




Hightstown Housing Authority serves low income residents of the Borough of Hightstown and the surrounding areas.

131 Rogers Avenue, Hightstown, NJ 08520

Phone: (609) 448-2268, Fax: (609) 426-9440




Lawrence Township: Lawrence Township provides affordable housing for both purchasers and renters.

2207 Lawrence Road, P.O. Box 6006, Lawrence Township, NJ 08648

Phone: (609) 844-7087, Fax: (609) 896-0412




Pennington Borough has limited affordable housing properties, which are advertised through the New Jersey Housing Resource Center at

For more information, contact the Affordable Housing Liaison:

30 North Main Street, Pennington, NJ 08534-0095

Phone: (609) 737-0276

Email: (Eileen Heinzel, current affordable housing liaison)

Web: or


Princeton Housing Authority (PHA) is a government corporation that provides housing for low income families in Princeton while promoting self-sufficiency. PHA owns and manages 236 apartments for families, seniors, and disabled residents in addition to five developments in Princeton. Units may have income requirements.

1 Redding Circle, Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 924-3448



Robbinsville Township: Robbinsville Township provides affordable housing for both sale and rent. For more information, contact the Municipal Housing Liaison/Administrative Agent, Gail Pfister.

2298 Route 33, Robbinsville, NJ 08691

Phone: (609) 259-3600 ext. 110




Trenton Housing Authority (THA) provides affordable housing for Trenton residents. For a listing of affordable rental properties in the City of Trenton, visit documents/rental_housing_list.doc (Word document). For Trenton Housing Authority eligibility requirements, visit

875 New Willow Street, Trenton, NJ 08638

Phone: (609) 278-5000



West Windsor: TheTownship of West Windsor affordable housing programs are coordinated in collaboration with Piazza & Associates. Sales and rentals are available for low and moderate income households.

Princeton Forrestal Village

216 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: (609) 786-1100, Fax: (609) 786-1105



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