The Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) has fired a new salvo in its battle to keep the Institute For Advanced Study from developing a parcel adjacent to the historic site.
The society filed an appeal on July 20 of the Princeton Regional Planning Board’s March approval to allow the institute to build a 15-unit housing development on the property. According to PBS attorney Bruce Afran, the appeal claims that the board’s approval violates zoning limitations outlined in a 1992 agreement between Princeton Township and the institute that prohibits cluster housing.
The appeal also argues that the planning board failed to make findings of fact as to unrefuted evidence of the presence of wetlands on the site, and that its conclusion that the proposed development will not impact wetlands is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, says Afran.
Opponents and some historians argue that the debated 21-acre parcel — an undeveloped property contiguous to the state park called Maxwell’s Field — was the center of General George Washington’s counterattack on the British during the Battle of Princeton.
In June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation joined with opponents of the project by naming the field to its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The placement of the battlefield on the list was the latest attempt to stop the Institute from developing the property. In April PBS filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the project. The Princeton-based nonprofit group has opposed the project since it was originally presented to the planning board in 2003.
The project 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 provides for the permanent preservation of 10 acres next to the battlefield, and a 200-foot buffer zone with the park.
The PBS suit, filed on April 5 with the state Superior Court in Trenton, makes arguments similar to those in its appeal of the planning board decision.
Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton 08540; 609-734-8000; fax, 609-924-8399. Robbert Dijkgraaf, director. www.ias.edu.