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Vol. LXV, No. 49
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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Support for the Institute for Advanced Study From Princeton President Emeritus, Others

Harold T. Shapiro; President Emeritus, Princeton University
Susan Anable, Jack McCarthy; Mercer Street
Immanuel Kohn;Puritan Court
John C. Wellemeyer
Louise Wellemeyer; Rosedale Road

The IAS Relinquished Development Rights For 276 housing units to Preserve 589 Acres

Florence Kahn
Wendover Drive

Princeton Community Democratic Organization Is Inviting New Candidates for Local Office

Dan Preston, President


Heather Howard, Vice President, Princeton Borough


Margaret Griffin, Vice President, Princeton Township


Support for the Institute for Advanced Study From Princeton President Emeritus, Others

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the Institute for Advanced Study’s plans to build housing for its faculty on a six-acre parcel of its private land. The Institute is not only fulfilling its longstanding intention to build this housing — originally expressed in an agreement with the State in the 1970s — but it is also addressing a critical need to maintain its residential community of scholars. The Institute’s most recent Decadal Review, in which I took part, made this point abundantly clear and spoke to the ongoing importance of having an adequate and affordable stock of faculty housing. As a long-time resident of Princeton, I value the Institute’s role for more than 80 years as a center for the fundamental pursuit of knowledge, and its ability to bring the world’s leading thinkers to Princeton. I also value the abundant natural resources of the Institute Woods and surrounding preserved lands, including the Princeton Battlefield State Park, which the Institute helped to create and expand. The Institute’s plans for housing address its need to continue to attract the best scholars while respecting the park, providing a 2DD-foot buffer zone and the permanent conservation of more than 13 acres of land surrounding the housing site. I believe that the Institute has developed a very sensitive and diligently thought-out plan that will benefit it and the community alike. I encourage the Princeton Regional Planning Board to approve the Institute’s housing plans on December 1.

Harold T. Shapiro
President Emeritus, Princeton University

To the Editor:

The Princeton Regional Planning Board meets on December 1 to review the request of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) to build a cluster of 8 townhouses and 7 low-profile single family homes on 7 acres of the Institute’s campus. As Princeton residents since the 1950s we support the Institute’s request for this much needed faculty housing.

The IAS has always been an outstanding citizen and neighbor. In the early years it was a quiet and unobtrusive presence — a peaceful and welcoming place to walk dogs and visit the “swinging bridge.” In recent years the Institute has reached out more to the community and encouraged Princeton residents to attend public lectures and become members. It has always been concerned with preserving open space and making that space available to the community. Seventy-five percent of the Institute’s lands which include the Institute woods and farmland are conserved in perpetuity. The proposed housing plan calls for a 200-foot buffer zone which will be additional preserved open space. Thirty-eighty percent of the Battlefield is land which the Institute sold to the State of New Jersey in 1973 for preservation, increasing its size by 60 percent. The IAS donated the Mercer Manor portico commemorating the common grave of American and British soldiers killed in 1777 at the Battle of Princeton.

In return for this land the State agreed that the field east of the Battlefield Park (the land now under consideration) could be used for faculty housing. All serious historians agree that the major portions of the Battle of Princeton were fought on the Battlefield Park. Those opposing the construction now claim that the Battle of Princeton was fought where the Institute wants to build housing.

It is well known that there actually was troop movement across most of the land from the Battlefield Park to Nassau Hall. The Institute has hired a reputable historical research firm that concluded that although there was troop movement across the area in question, major activity on that site was very limited, and any major engagements were outside the project area.

The planned construction site has been surveyed for archeological artifacts and those found have been placed with the New Jersey State Museum.

The Institute is an internationally respected educational institution, and its residential character is basic to its function. Its plan for faculty housing was refined, based on the commitment to use the land set aside for this particular purpose. It has worked with the community to ensure that its plans are within all required guidelines, and we strongly recommend that the IAS be allowed to build this much needed housing.

Susan Anable, Jack McCarthy
Mercer Street

To the Editor:

My wife and I — Princeton residents since 1968 — would like to express our support of the Institute for Advanced Study’s permanent faculty housing plan, which was unanimously recommended by the Site Plan Review Advisory Board on October 12 and by the Township Historic Planning Commission on October 17 for approval by the Princeton Township Regional Planning Board.

The Institute is, in our opinion, a true jewel for Princeton, and we believe it is so regarded by the Princeton community, including the more than 200 Friends who provide generous annual financial support to the Institute. An important element in the Institute’s ability to attract and retain preeminent faculty and to preserve its role as a community of leading scholars is its ability to provide appropriate housing within walking distance of the Institute. The available houses in the vicinity of the Institute have become scarcer and, more significant, the prices have increased to a point where they are no longer affordable by most academics.

With respect to the preservation of the Princeton Battlefield (much of the land of which was initially acquired from the Institute), the Institute has done everything asked of it by members of the unanimously recommending Township committees, including the preservation and screening of a 200 foot buffer zone between the site and the Battlefield.

We therefore support the Institute’s plan to construct permanent faculty housing.

Immanuel Kohn
Puritan Court

To the Editor:

This letter supports the application of the Institute For Advanced Study to build faculty housing on its campus in Princeton. The Institute needs this housing so its faculty can live on Institute grounds. By living close to existing Institute facilities, the faculty will be better able to meet with each other on an informal as well as a formal basis. Homes in the immediate vicinity of the Institute are unaffordable for its faculty. The solution is for the Institute to build housing on its land. Its plan to build eight townhouses and seven single-family dwellings will not adversely impact the Institute’s woods, farmland, campus or the Princeton Battlefield State Park.

The Institute is a long-standing supporter of the Battlefield Park, which it helped create and expand. In fact 38 percent of the Park today is comprised of land which the Institute sold to the State of New Jersey for the purpose of Battlefield preservation. The Institute’s plan provides for an additional 200 foot buffer zone along the Battlefield Park which along with other areas of the site comprise 13 acres of land that will be permanently preserved. The Institute believes it is important to enhance the interpretative materials provided for visitors to the Battlefield Park and is ready to be a partner in doing so.

The Institute needs the housing for its faculty and wants to enhance the Battlefield Park. Therefore its application to build housing on its property should be approved by the Princeton Regional Planning Board.

John C. Wellemeyer

Louise Wellemeyer
Rosedale Road

The IAS Relinquished Development Rights For 276 housing units to Preserve 589 Acres

To the Editor,

It has been almost 14 years since a permanent conservation easement was placed on the 589 acres of land owned by the Institute for Advanced Study. The Institute relinquished its development rights for 276 housing units to preserve these lands. The “Institute Lands” are noted for their historical, environmental, ornithological, and agricultural significance in this highly developed area of central New Jersey.

The incredible outpouring of support from the community, public institutions, and the cooperation of the Institute for Advanced Study led to the success of preserving these lands for passive recreational use. This effort was a true public/private partnership and we owe an enormous debt to all those who participated in this endeavor. Now the Institute is prepared to permanently conserve more than 13 additional acres as part of its plan to build 15 Faculty housing units on six acres of its own private land.

As I walk through the Institute woods as well as driving on Quaker Road, no matter what the season, I am forever amazed by the beauty of these lands. As the big box stores approach as I leave Quaker Road and Princeton, I feel so very fortunate to have the Institute as my neighbor and to live in a community that values both academic excellence and the commitment to the preservation of open space. I fully support the Institute’s right to build this much-needed Faculty housing.

Florence Kahn
Wendover Drive

Princeton Community Democratic Organization Is Inviting New Candidates for Local Office

To the Editor:

As the President and Vice Presidents of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO), we invite all local Democrats to join our organization. Membership runs for one year beginning on January 1 of each year. Our annual membership meeting and leadership election will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2012. New members are especially welcome.

The PCDO, which presently includes over 400 members, votes to endorse candidates at all levels of government. For the upcoming year our endorsement process will be especially important as we will elect an entirely new local government. 2012 will, of course, have the added excitement of the presidential campaign as well as Senate and House elections. We hope all Democrats will join us in this process. 

We are always interested in inviting new candidates for local office. By facilitating communication with Princeton’s most active and interested Democratic voters through email, the PCDO website (www.princetondems.org), our postal mailing list and at meetings, the PCDO gives candidates meaningful support that allows them to compete without a large initial expenditure or campaign organization.

All Princeton Democrats are welcome to join the PCDO as voting members, and if you are interested in running, it’s never too early to start planning. Our endorsement meeting will take place on March 25, 2012, about two weeks prior to the April deadline for filing a petition to run in the June primary election. 

Please visit our website www.princetondems.org for more information and to download a membership form. Membership is open to all registered Democrats residing in Princeton for a suggested yearly due of $15 with a reduced rate of $5 available. 

We look forward to hearing from new members and
candidates and again, we warmly invite all Democrats to join us.

Dan Preston, President


Heather Howard, Vice President, Princeton Borough


Margaret Griffin, Vice President, Princeton Township

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

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