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Mayor’s Column

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On behalf of the residents in Cranbury, I’d like to thank the Cranbury LionsClub for yet another wonderful Memorial Day Parade.

The parade is an institution in town and the ceremonial laying of the wreath after in honor of our fallen soldiers is incredibly important. At times of peace it is easy to forget those who sacrificed to protect our freedoms and country.  It is also easy to forget that our soldiers are still sacrificing themselves over in the middle east as the news outlets have moved on to other topics.

Peace is not easily won and maintained and as such their contributions must never be forgotten.

I was told once, “Doing the right thing does not always result in the preferred outcome or the one that makes you happy, but you do what is right because it is the right thing to do.”

I don’t recall who told me this, but I tell it to my kids all the time and was reminded of this quote after the primary election, which Glenn Johnson lost in his bid for a third term.

Over the past nine years, Mr. Johnson has always sought to do the right thing even if the outcome was unpopular. For this I consider myself thankful as I would prefer to work with an individual who always seeks to do right versus doing things to be popular.

I congratulate those who won their primaries and are running for the two available seats in November- Republicans Walter Wright and Evelyn Spann and Democrats- Eman El-Badawi and Barbara Rogers. All of the candidates are dedicated individuals and I look forward to learning more about them.

I would urge all voters to understand the candidates and their positions this year and vote in November. In 2020, our township committee will have four of the five members with two years’ experience or less so making an informed choice will be critical to our future.

Several individuals have expressed that our planning board and zoning board agendas are not user friendly. The language within the agenda is governed by NJ’s municipal land use law so we cannot be more descriptive. However, we can be more informative about the location where an action is planned. To that extent, I have asked that the agendas be modified.  Going forward in addition to listing a properties lot and block number there will also be a street address listed. This should make it easier to understand where development is planned. We are also looking at how we improve communication at meetings.

Last year due to large attendance, the township committee adopted a three-minute limit for all public comment. The timer only runs when a person speaks and is paused when the TC responds. If an individual has well laid out thoughts, then three minutes is ample time.

However, I understand that people can be flustered. Therefore, we are listening and making the following change. Prior to public comment we will ask for a show of hands as to who would like to speak. If many hands go up, then the three minutes will be enforced, but a person who did not complete their comment can return to the microphone a second time after others have spoken.

If there are not many hands raised, then we will allow a second turn immediately following the initial three-minute period thus giving a resident six minutes to speak.

Last month, I raised my concern over the inappropriateness of Monroe interjecting themselves in Cranbury’s Master Plan process. As such, you can imagine my displeasure when I saw and heard of Monroe residents coming into Cranbury to campaign for some individuals running for our Township Committee. I am deeply disturbed by the fact that residents of another town would try to influence our elections. We just spent the past three years hearing about the concerns on outside influence in elections in every newspaper or cable news channel. Now, our local offices are being influenced by residents of other towns who do not have Cranbury interests at heart.

I have no idea whether the candidates that the Monroe residents supported were aware of the campaigning, but I would ask all TC candidates to publicly oppose such actions. You are being elected to represent Cranbury residents, to put our residents first and do what is in the interest of our community. If we follow the desires of other communities, we risk losing our town forever.

Perhaps it will help stop these actions if I make it clear as to the position between maintaining this area as a zone for warehouses or changing it to housing.

I fully support land preservation and do not like the idea of more truck traffic. However, as the landowner made it clear they will not sell or preserve the land it must therefore remain zoned for warehouses. In no uncertain terms, it would be a complete fiduciary failure and the utmost sign of negligence on the part of the township committee and planning board to change the zoning in this area to appease special interests.

The impact to our school system, tax structure and home values would be dire if we tried to appease the individuals who chose to live in homes bordering an existing warehouse district. Our obligation is to all township residents and to ensuring our children continue to benefit from attending a Blue-Ribbon K-8 elementary school, attending top rated Princeton High School, and that that we have a community where we are able to preserve farmland and keep our taxes affordable for all residents, not just the affluent.

Sincerely,

James Taylor

Mayor

Cranbury Township

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