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Public hearing on apartment complex at historic Joseph Horner House canceled

PHOTO BY LEA/KAHN

The Princeton Planning Board’s May 23 special meeting to consider 344 Nassau LLC’s application to build a 15-unit apartment building next to the historic Joseph Horner House has been canceled.

A new date for the public hearing on the developer’s application has not yet been set.

The Princeton Historic Preservation Commission declined to approve the proposed apartment building and also denied the developer’s application to demolish the 1985 addition at the rear of the house, after back-to-back meetings May 13-14.

The applicant sought to demolish the addition to the 1985 house, claiming it was necessary to connect the historic house and the new apartment building. The original exterior walls were incorporated into the 1985 extension and functioned as interior walls to separate the corridors from the office space.

The Historical Preservation Commission’s recommendations were sent to the Planning Board. The commission was tasked with reviewing the application because the home, located at the intersection of Nassau Street and North Harrison Street, is in the historic Jugtown and Kings Highway neighborhoods.

The proposed four-story apartment building would be 44 feet and 9 inches high. The Joseph Horner House is 29 feet tall. Objections at the May 14 meeting noted the height of the apartment building, echoing comments in Historic Preservation Officer Elizabeth Kim’s May 9 report to the Historic Preservation Commission.

Kim wrote that the four-story apartment building “would tower over and dwarf the historic building due to its height, massing and location on the site.”

The Joseph Horner House was built in 1760 by the grandson of early settler John Horner. It was recently included on Preservation New Jersey’s list of “The 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey” for 2024 due to its proposed development.

The proposed 15-unit apartment complex would include three affordable housing units. The second floor of the Joseph Horner House would be converted into two apartments and the ground floor of the historic house would be given a commercial purpose.