Princeton Township engine-idling ordinance sputters

Committee members seek stricter rules than set forth in an initial draft.

By: Jennifer Potash
   A proposed ban on engine idling temporarily stalled out at the Princeton Township Committee on Monday.
   Committee members said they hope to enact regulations that are even tougher than proposed in a draft ordinance under consideration.
   Under the proposed ordinance, vehicles stopped on public streets may not idle the engines for more than three consecutive minutes. The draft ordinance contains numerous exemptions including vehicles stopped in traffic, emergency vehicles, buses picking up or dropping off passengers and vehicles requiring power to refrigerate cargo.
   Those are common-sense exemptions, said committee member Casey Hegener, but the ordinance should go further and include residential and business parking lots. Parking lots are a particular problem and should not be exempted, she said.
   Princeton Township Attorney Edwin Schmierer said the draft ordinance codifies existing state regulations. He said he would research the legislative history of the state statute to determine if the municipality may enact more stringent provisions and report back at the next meeting.
   The impetus behind the township ordinance is complaints from residents at Griggs Farm about vehicles idling in the parking lot.
   Ms. Hegener, the former Township Committee liaison to the Princeton Regional Health Commission, said the commission is very supportive of the township enacting the ordinance.
   The Princeton Borough Council, at the Health Commission’s suggestion, adopted an engine-idling ordinance in 1998 in response to complaints about idling trucks on Nassau and Witherspoon streets despoiling the air quality.