PRINCETON: Institute for Advanced Study, Battlefield Society await next court ruling

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The Institute for Advanced Study is waiting on a Superior Court judge’s ruling on whether it can build 15 units of faculty housing on land that the Princeton Battlefield Society says is historic ground that should be preserved.
Lawyers for the Institute, the Battlefield Society and the Princeton Planning Board spent around three hours on Sept. 3 during oral arguments before Judge Mary C. Jacobson, sitting in Trenton. The Society wants the judge to throw out the approval the Planning Board gave the project in November.
There was no timetable for when she will issue her decision.
“We’re just waiting,” said Society lawyer Bruce I. Afran by phone Tuesday.
Institute spokeswoman Christine Ferrara on Tuesday had no comment.
This is but the latest but likely not the last court battle the two sides have waged about the Institute wanting to build eight town houses and seven single family units on about seven acres of its land.
Last year, the Institute sought permission from the board to adjust the lot lines of the single-family housing units so that the overall project would not encroach in a stream corridor controlled by the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, a state agency.
The commission had voted in January 2014 to reject the project, a move that required the Institute to, literally, go back to the drawing board.
According to the Battlefield Society, the proposed housing development will destroy a part of the Revolutionary War battlefield where forces fought on Jan.3, 1777 during the battle of Princeton. The organization contends the housing construction would desecrate a site tied to the founding of the nation.
The Battlefield Society is fighting on different fronts. The organization is challenging in court the first Planning Board approval the Institute got in January 2012.