Princeton Zoning Board Approves ADU Construction

In a recent Princeton Zoning Board meeting, members voted to approve an application for the construction of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and a new principal dwelling at a property on Valley Road, amid concerns over the number of variances sought and the project’s fit within local zoning regulations. The application, presented by James Mogg and his architect Marina, included plans for a multigenerational living arrangement and emphasized sustainability, although this prompted a discussion over the necessity of a full three-story structure and the proposed layout’s compliance with setback requirements.

The proposed construction plan for a property on Valley Road faced particular scrutiny due to its corner lot orientation, resulting in non-compliant lot area and lot depth, which necessitated multiple variances from the board. Despite the challenges, the applicant’s vision for a single-family dwelling paired with an ADU and a detached garage was ultimately supported by the board. The proposed ADU would provide living space for Nicole’s mother, thus enabling the family to live in close proximity while maintaining separate living quarters.

Throughout the discussion, some board members expressed their support for the project, citing the benefits of multigenerational living and the need for innovative housing solutions in the community. However, the design’s compliance with zoning regulations was a point of contention. One member, whose name is not confirmed, raised concerns that the full three stories might not be necessary and that the sustainability goals could have been achieved through other means. The logistical placement of the ADU and the garage in relation to the main house also came under scrutiny.

The debate over the project’s variances extended into another part of the meeting where there was discussion about a proposed ADU on a different property, which would be located in the front yard of the existing house. This unconventional placement prompted discussions regarding the potential for switching the locations of the ADU and the primary residence to minimize the number of variances required. The applicant argued that retaining the existing house while building the new ADU provided financial flexibility, but board members suggested that reversing the positions of the buildings could eliminate some variances. Additional information and clarification were requested, with a focus on potentially reducing the size of the buildings to lessen the need for variances.

Public comments on the developments on Jefferson Road presented a mixed reaction from the community. Resident Mr. Su raised concerns about the representation of the applicants, Andrew and Francisa Lifer, suggesting they seek legal counsel, while Mr. Pasich, a neighbor, offered strong support for the Lifers’ environmentally-conscious renovation plans, including the rotation of their roof to accommodate solar panels, aligning with community sustainability goals. The Lifers’ presentation on their attic expansion and first-floor addition, aiming for increased energy efficiency and conservation, was met with no questions from the board.

The board also addressed administrative matters, such as the approval of minutes from previous meetings and resolutions related to specific zoning cases, but these procedural aspects took a backseat to the more topics of construction and development proposals.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Mark Freda
Zoning Board Officials:
Bernice Chen, Steven Cohen, Eve Coulson, James Davidge, Michael Floyd, Stephen Schreiber, Harlan Tenenbaum, George Stein, Donna D’Anna, Claudia Ceballos (Administrative Coordinator)

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