The war isn’t over, but the Princeton Battlefield Society has lost another round in its fight to keep the Institute for Advanced Study from building faculty housing on land the society says was part of a Revolutionary War battlefield.
Attorney Bruce Afran, representing the group, told reporters he would appeal the ruling, which upheld a Princeton Planning Board decision to allow the IAS to build 15 units of housing. Judge Mary C. Jacobson said in her ruling that the IAS had to wait until Friday, November 6, to begin construction, to allow time for an appeal.
The units were first approved in 2012 but have been delayed due to legal challenges from the Battlefield Society as well as the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission. In response to the commission’s objections, the IAS changed plans for the housing so they no longer encroach on a stream corridor.
The Battle of Princeton was part of George Washington’s 10-day campaign in New Jersey that began with the crossing of the Delaware on December 26, 1776. Washington made a daring 18-mile night march to outflank a larger British army, a maneuver that led to a clash of 5,600 American soldiers and 1,500 Redcoat defenders. Initially the British sent American militiamen fleeing, but Washington rallied his troops and drove the British into retreat from New Jersey.
Part of the battlefield is now a 681-acre state park while other patches are privately owned. The Princeton Battlefield Society contends that the 22-acre parcel owned by the IAS off of Olden Lane was the site of the crucial counterattack where Washington drove the British from the field.