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Comparing the Master Plan to the FAQ statement. Are they really saying the same thing?

This forces most workers to live somewhere more affordable and commute to work, generally by car, thus increasing traffic and demand for parking. In New Jersey, a home is generally considered to be affordable to a buyer if housing costs, including principal and interest payments, property taxes, and property insurance, consume 28% or less of an individual’s gross annual wages. (The lower percentage than rent is to account for additional home maintenance costs that renters do not incur.) Based on these statistics, there is no employment sector in Princeton in which an individual worker earns enough at the average salary to afford to purchase a home at the 2020 median home value in Princeton of $872,400. (It should be noted that the 2021 median home price in Princeton rose to $893,600.) In all but one of the 14 primary employment sectors, two such salaries are insufficient to afford a home at the median home value.

The plan recommends that Princeton allow – not require, but allow – existing homes that are located relatively near to downtown and transit to be converted or retrofitted, to create multiple smaller units. These could be used as rentals to offset costs to “empty nesters” or could be used to house relatives in a way that promotes multigenerational living, which carries positive impacts. The point is to add options for housing diversity – if and only if homeowners want to utilize those options, or if they sell to a new owner that wishes to do so. Specifically, the recommendation (p. 45) reads “Study permitting the conversion of large single-family homes into attached dwelling residential buildings, particularly in neighborhoods near transit stops or with existing off-street parking.” “Study” means just that: proceeding with care, detailed analysis, and input from those who would be most affected.

What the Master Plan says:

What the Master Plan says:

What does “missing middle” housing really mean? Is it a price point, or a type of housing? Ideally, it is both. In planning parlance, however, it is more a type of housing than a price point. Nothing in a municipal master plan can control real estate market pricing. Princeton is a highly desirable location, for many excellent reasons. The town’s housing stock comprises mostly large, detached, single family homes that are very expensive. Many people who rent apartments in town would like to own a home but cannot afford to buy in Princeton. Adding more housing choices of a smaller scale would begin to address housing needs in Princeton and is one tool to stabilize prices. Locating those new homes in proximity to jobs, shopping, parks, leisure and transit enables a more affordable, sustainable and, to many people, a very appealing lifestyle.

What the Master Plan says:

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