Borough, Township Reach Accord on Selling Old Firehouse

9 September, 1992 (~estimated)

Borough, Township Reach Accord on Selling Old Firehouse

Princeton’s brand new fire house is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in less than a month — on September 1 — but the firehouse it will replace remains unsold.

The proceeds from the sale of the Chambers Street firehouse — assessed by the municipal tax assessor several years ago at $1.3 million —  are to be used to offset the costs of building the new Witherspoon Street fire station, the first in Princeton Township.

The only way the State will permit the Borough to sell the Chambers Street firehouse is by auction. Township Committee had asked that an independent assessor be hired prior to the auction to determine the value of the circa 1930s brick building. Balking at paying the approximately $8,000 an assessor would have cost, Borough Council said “no” to the idea.

Borough Council and Township Committee met jointly last week to discuss their differences. As a compromise, the two governing bodies agreed to hire an auctioneer who was equipped to provide an assessment.

The towns will have the right to reject any or all bids at the auction.

Township Committee-woman Ellen Soutar complained that the building should have been sold 15 months ago. “It’s costing us $3,000 a month to carry the loan,” she said. The fire station is owned by Princeton Borough.

“What might come out of the auction is the need to con-sider zoning,” suggested Township Administrator James Pascale.

Borough Mayor Marvin Reed, noting that this concern had been brought up previously, said there could be a challenge on spot zoning. “All attorneys involved have advised us we cannot spot zone,” he said.

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