Critics link office plan with Route 92
By: Sharlee Joy DiMenichi , Staff Writer
South Brunswick Post, 01/08/2004
Say Forrestal project could pave way for Turnpike spur.
Some residents and
officials opposed to Route 92 are expressing
concerns that a 1.8 million-square-foot office complex proposed for
Route 1 could increase the likelihood that the toll road will be
Opponents of the
highway say the traffic that could be generated by
the complex could be used by supporters of the road as further
justification for the highway.
Supporters of the 6.7-mile,
limited-access roadway say Route 92 is needed to alleviate traffic in
the region and to provide a link between the N.J. Turnpike and the
Route 1 corridor. The highway would run from the Turnpike at Exit 8A to
Route 1 near Ridge Road.
Critics of the road
say it would draw
traffic onto the narrow roads in Kingston, destroying the character of
the village; would attract development to the south eastern corner of
the township, currently slated for low-intensity development and open
space preservation; and would destroy wetlands.
development plan for the 150-acre office park, which is being proposed
by Princeton Forrestal, the development arm of Princeton University,
was approved in November. A portion of the site plan will be reviewed
by the Planning Board on Wednesday. The general development plan is a
mini-master plan for the development.
The office park — which
will run approximately from the Plainsboro border to Ridge Road and is
bordered by Route 1 — required the creation of a new land-use zone, the
office corporate zone, and the rezoning of 78 acres from residential
use to office corporate. The office corporate zone would allow
five-story buildings and a hotel, which are not allowed in the office
park zone. The remaining 72 acres already were zoned for office park
In exchange for the rezoning, Princeton Forrestal
to preserve 214 acres of property — 128 of which would be owned by the
township, with the rest being co-owned by the township Princeton
Forrestal and Middlesex County.
location and the
amount of employees the development is likely to generate have some
critics of Route 92 concerned. A Princeton Forrestal study has pegged
the number of employees at the complex at about 7,200.
Councilman Ted Van
Hessen, who voted against the rezoning in April,
said the proposed office park could increase the chance that Route 92
would be built. He said traffic from the park could create what state
and federal environmental regulators would view as an overarching
community need, giving the Turnpike the right to fill wetlands along
"It adds a traffic
generator right at the terminus of Route 92," Mr. Van Hessen
Robert Von Zumbusch of Kingston said increased
traffic brought by
Route 92 would be a boon for the Princeton Forrestal Center and for the
"There's no question
that some of the
so-called stakeholders in the area, such as Princeton Forrestal, are in
favor of this (Route 92) because it brings the traffic right to them,"
Mr. Von Zumbusch said.
Critics have pointed out in the past that
the proposed Route 92-Perrine Road interchange would take traffic from
the Turnpike directly into Princeton Forrestal Center in Plainsboro.
But South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, a longtime
foe of Route
92, said he did not believe the proposed office complex would create
traffic problems or increase the likelihood that the spur would be
Mayor Gambatese said that not only did the land
deal not invite Route 92 traffic, it would also give the township more
traffic control than they would otherwise have had. The developer's
agreement prohibits direct access to Mapleton Road/Academy Street and
an internal road is planned as part of the general development plan
that would direct traffic onto Route 1 rather than local roads.
Mayor Gambatese also said the open space the township
return for rezoning enabled South Brunswick to control the flow of
"If anything, it blocks the flow of traffic into
Kingston because we own all that land," Mayor Gambatese said.
Mr. Gambatese said that Princeton Forrestal officials
built the office complex on nearby land the company owns in Plainsboro,
which would have left South Brunswick with no say as to what kind of
impact the traffic would have on the township. Plainsboro Mayor Peter
Cantu has long endorsed constructing Route 92.
director of marketing for Princeton Forrestal, said that while
Forrestal officials support Route 92, negotiations on the developers'
agreement began with officials from Princeton Forrestal and the
township taking differences on Route 92 off the table and focusing on
Mr. Knights said there is no causal connection
between constructing the proposed office center and the roadway being
"We believe the need existed for an east-west
connection in this
part of the state long before we existed," Mr. Knights said.