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IAS Announces Plans For Archeological Survey At Faculty Housing Site

In an email message to Town Topics, IAS spokesperson Christine Ferrara announced that the Institute for Advanced Study is planning an archeological survey at the site where it hopes to build faculty housing.

The announcement came one week after the Princeton Planning Board postponed a public hearing on the Institute’s plans that was to have been held Thursday, June 19.

When Municipal Planning Director Lee O. Solow, who plays a key role in briefing the Board, was unexpectedly absent on medical grounds, the hearing was taken off the agenda.

Ms. Ferrara provided the following statement: “The Institute for Advanced Study’s plans for Faculty housing were unanimously approved by the Princeton Planning Board in March 2012. The Institute agreed to conduct an archeological survey of the project area before construction commenced. The Institute is initiating this work so that the project can proceed once it receives approval on the amended plan, which is currently scheduled to go before the Planning Board on September 18.”

The statement continues: “The Institute has engaged the Ottery Group, a leading cultural resource management and consulting firm, to provide the archeological services. Fieldwork is expected to take place over the summer, after which the data and any artifacts found will be processed and catalogued. Following completion of the archeological work, all artifacts and associated records will be permanently transferred to the New Jersey State Museum, as promised in 2012 by the Institute.”

Meanwhile litigation intended to overturn the Planning Board’s original approval of the Institute’s building plans is pending in the Appellate Court of New Jersey.

After the Planning Board’s 2012 approval of the Institute’s plans to build a group of faculty townhomes and single-family residences on its property adjacent to Princeton Battlefield State Park, the Princeton Battlefield Area Preservation Society, known for short as The Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS), filed suit to overturn the Board’s ruling. When Judge Mary Jacobson threw out their suit last June, attorney Bruce Afran filed an appeal with the Appellate Court of New Jersey in July on behalf of the Society.

At that time, Battlefield Society President Jerry Hurwitz expressed the hope that a very different decision would be reached by the Appellate Court. “We were unlucky with Judge Jacobson,” he said: “With a different judge it may have gone our way. This time we will be able to critique her opinion and show its weaknesses as well as represent our case all over again.”

Mr. Afran has criticized Ms. Jacobson’s opinions and suggested that she made “some mistakes of law and did not address some important issues” such as the impact the Institute’s plans would have on neighboring sites.

The Institute’s long-standing plans for faculty housing are described on its website (www.ias.edu). For more on the Princeton Battlefield Sociey, visit: theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.

 

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