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PRINCETON: Institute for Advanced Study, Battlefield Society reach agreement to delay work on housing project until court ruling

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The Institute for Advanced Study backed down from starting construction on its disputed 15-unit faculty housing project until a judge rules next month on an injunction request by the Princeton Battlefield Society.

The Institute had construction equipment on site, including bulldozers, and said as recently as last week that work was going “to begin” on the 15-unit project that will go on part of the Revolutionary War battlefield.

But through its lawyer, the Society said earlier this week that it would seek a judge’s order to prevent anything from happening until the lawsuits seeking to stop the project have been resolved.

On Wednesday, the day of a scheduled 2 p.m. press conference at the Institute, the Institute instead issued a brief statement saying the conference was off until July and that no work would take place except for putting up a security fence. Judge Mary Jacobson, sitting in Trenton, will hear oral arguments regarding the injunction on July 14.

“The Institute and the Battlefield Society have reached an agreement under which the Institute will limit its work at the site to construction of a security fence pending resolution by the court in July of the Society’s request for an injunction,” the statement read. “The parties agree that there will be no public statements about the agreement and the schedule of construction activities until that time.”

The Institute took no questions. Society attorney Bruce I. Afran had no comment Wednesday.

This comes amid court challenges the Battlefield Society is waging to block the Institute from building 15 units of faculty housing. The opponents say the project would destroy a section of the battlefield, during a conflict where American forces defeated the British.

The Institute has Princeton Planning Board approval for the project, although that approval is the subject of one of the lawsuits the Society filed.

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