By Dave Pavlak
After a long and arduous battle, Westminster Choir College (WCC) students and faculty now have a newly renovated parking lot, helping to lessen the burden of the previous parking woes.
WCC’s SGA President Elizabeth Fildes is appreciative of the help the new lot has brought to the students.
“Before we had the new parking lot, students without morning classes and music education majors in Praxis would not be able to find parking,” Fildes said. “This would result in either getting ticketed by Public Safety for illegal on-campus parking, or getting ticketed by Princeton Township for illegal off-campus parking. The new parking lot now has specific spots reserved for Praxis students and has completely alleviated the parking issue.”
The new parking lot didn’t come easily to WCC, however, as local residents battled tooth and nail in order to prevent the new lot. Despite the local protest, the planning board was able to gain approval for the parking lot in October 2010.
“There were several Princeton residents who protested this parking lot,” Fildes said. “I can understand their frustrations about having construction so close to their homes for an extended period of time. Ultimately, we are very pleased with the new addition and that it has made our students’ lives easier.”
Even after the initial ruling in Rider’s favor, a slew of appeals by the residents followed hoping to prevent the new parking lot. According to an October 2010 issue of The Rider News, areas of concern included flooded basements caused by runoff and light and noise pollution. A decrease in the market value of homes in the area was also a main reason for the many appeals filed. The case had to be heard in front of the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division in which the decision was upheld.
WCC was permitted to build 93 spaces on their lot. The planning also included improved lighting, drainage and a fresh landscape to help buffer out any problems brought forward by the local residents.
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell feels, “the lot is a wonderful addition to WCC” that addresses many concerns students had about parking on campus.
“The student excitement was clearly evident by the big round of applause the students gave Dr. [Mordechai] Rozanski when he announced the opening of the parking lot at Westminster’s Opening Convocation,” he said.
Campbell addressed the parking lot would not be possible without the help of the WCC SGA, Public Safety and Dean Annis and Johnson’s offices for “the planning an advice they gave and to facilities for the work they did to work with the planning boards and for managing the project.”
“The Westminster Community waited a long time for the lot to open and I cannot be happier for them.” Campbell said.
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