I want to wish everyone a belated happy St. Patrick’s Day. For the past 10 years my family has made it an annual tradition to celebrate by having Teddy’s Corn Beef and Cabbage. Traditions like this are important to me because it shows no matter how times change, some things can stay the same.

When we first went there it was my wife, sister and parents. The five us had a great dinner and two days later my wife, who was late with our first child, delivered our daughter Grace. My wife and I joke that it was Teddy’s Corn Beef that did the trick. This year it was 10 of us as my family and my sister’s family have also grown with my three-month old nephew being the recent addition at the table.

When asked about what makes Cranbury special, I tell them it is our businesses like Teddy’s that make our town special. Whether shopping at HighBar for Mother’s Day, date night at Molto Bene, Valentine’s Day tradition at the Inn, or seeing our pictures of people we know in the Cranbury Press – our business owners do their best to make Cranbury a comforting place.

In a similar fashion, our school and faculty go above and beyond to enable our children to excel and feel welcome.

On March 15th, I had the pleasure of attending the Cranbury School variety show. The Cranbury students are much more talented than when I attended the school and I sat in awe the entire time.

It used to be parents and grandparents that sought every reason to avoid recitals, ‘I need to organize my sock drawer,’ or ‘I think there may be a rabid skunk in my driveway, so I can’t get to my car.’

This night there were no cringe worthy or clock watching performances. Whether comedy, singing or dancing the students held my attention from start to finish.  All of the students and teachers should be congratulated for their hard work and effort.

I highlight the above as our township committee was equally busy addressing items that affect our character and community.

This month we launched our master plan review. By law, the master plan is required to be updated every 10 years. When we sat down as a committee it was interesting to see that many of our goals from the 2010 master plan were achieved. All of the members agreed that resident input is as important today as it was in 2010 and therefore, we anticipate holding a resident session to open dialogue and share ideas.  The meeting will occur on April 25 at 7 p.m. in the large group room. We also began to address a few infrastructure projects that were discussed during the last master plan review.

We entered into an agreement with Toll Brothers to reconstruct Petty Road and improve drainage along the roadway, saving the town $1.75 million. In return for a $250K contribution, Toll Brothers will reconstruct the road and improve the drainage that was estimated to cost the township $2 million.

At the same meeting, we agreed to a drainage project that would remedy the flooding that occurs on Plainsboro Road. The cost of the project is estimated to be $80K, but will solve the issue of residents’ driveways from flooding during heavy rains.

We held our first subcommittee on dredging Cranbury Lake. The subcommittee consists of Susan Goetz, Glenn Johnson, Denise Marabello and myself along with our township engineering firm Van Cleef.

We discussed the process and heard some positive news. It is possible that the permitting process can be completed this fall. If the permitting process is completed this fall then we will be able to commence with the actual dredging project in the Spring of 2020.

There are a few things to get in order in the near term and as such we will hold a resident information session at the May 13 township committee meeting.

As seems to be usual when positive things happen something negative also comes along.  Cranbury was no different in this case.

Our state legislator and governor are preparing to introduce legislation that would legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in the state of New Jersey.

In 2018, Cranbury passed an ordinance prohibiting recreational sales. When we reviewed the crime statistics from states where it is legal, we found increases in impaired drivers and property crime. We also saw data that had negative impacts on children and property values in similar towns to Cranbury. We did not feel it was appropriate to risk the negative impact in Cranbury and thus passed the prohibition ordinance.  In speaking with our legal counsel, it is likely the state law if passed will require Cranbury to reintroduce and adopt the ordinance.

We are monitoring the legislation and if passed we will have the prohibition ordinance on the agenda to be reintroduced at the earliest possible moment.

Lastly, I want to recognize the efforts of the Cranbury Lions Club this month. The Lions Club is a global organization dedicated to volunteerism and the community. I cannot think of Christmas without the pancake breakfast or the summer without the annual Memorial Day parade that they sponsor and run.

It is my pleasure to donate the Mayor’s salary this month to this wonderful organization. I know the Lions are looking for volunteers and anyone interested in giving back to the community would find this organization worth joining.

For those interested, the monthly “Coffee with the Mayor and Police Chief” will occur this Saturday between 8-10 a.m. at Teddy’s.

James Taylor

                                                                                            Mayor of Cranbury Township

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