The Princeton Battlefield Society has filed a lawsuit to stop the Institute For Advanced Study from building faculty housing on a parcel adjacent to the Princeton Battlefield.

The project, approved by the Princeton Regional Planning Board on March 1, calls for the construction of eight townhomes and seven single-family homes on a seven-acre portion of the tract, which is also adjacent to the Institute’s campus. The approval also provides for the permanent preservation of 10 acres next to the battlefield, and a 200-foot buffer zone with the park.

The opponents of the project claim that the property is historically significant, believing it is site of General George Washington’s counterattack and first victory against the British during the Battle of Princeton in 1777.

The suit, filed on April 5 with the state Superior Court Chancery Division in Trenton, alleges that the project violates a 1992 settlement the Institute made with Princeton Township intended to preserve the site from future residential development.

The suit also claims that the agreement prohibits the Institute from building cluster housing on the site since cluster housing was not in the E-2 zoning code at the time of the settlement. The Battlefield Society argues that the 1992 agreement limited the Institute’s building rights to zoning rules that were in effect in 1992.

The Battlefield Society has also said it plans to appeal the Planning Board’s decision. It also intends to pursue action with the state Department of Environmental Protection, claiming that the Institute did not report wetlands on the site when it filed for permission from DEP for its project.

Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton 08540; 609-734-8000; fax, 609-924-8399. Peter Goddard, director.

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