TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, made the following statement after the NJ State Supreme Court ruled that Princeton University’s Cottage Club should be tax exempt under the state’s old historic preservation statutes.
“The Court’s ruling today is unfortunate as it allowed the members of the Cottage Club to game the system and shirk their financial responsibilities to the broader Princeton community.
“Today’s ruling means that those students who live, eat and party in this exclusive club will benefit from all the services provided by Princeton Borough while dumping the cost on the hardworking taxpayers. Fairness lost out to a legal technicality today.
“Fortunately, the rest of the ‘eating clubs’ will be hard-pressed to follow the Cottage Club’s foot steps since we changed the law and made sure that historic site status is used by organizations looking to preserve a building for the public to enjoy and not by private clubs looking to avoid their tax obligations.”
Senator Turner was the Senate sponsor of the measure that amended the law to make the requirements to qualify as a historic site more stringent. Among those requirements are that the building be open to the general public and freely available to all people without discrimination as to race, creed, color or religion, for a minimum of 96 days a year.