The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission today rejected the Institute for Advanced Study’s controversial plan for faculty housing.
The commission denied the plan by a 4-3 vote at its monthly meeting in Stockton today. The commission, established in 1974 by Governor Brendan Byrne, reviews development in the D&R Canal State Park, and administers a land use regulatory program with the goal of protecting the park from the harmful impacts of new development in central New Jersey.
“The Institute project is an intrusion into a protected stream corridor. Such an intrusion can only be done if the project will create a better ecological benefit,” said Bruce Afran, the lawyer for the Princeton Battlefield Area Preservation Society, which opposes the housing project. “The rules says you can’t get a waiver for a project unless you can show that non-compliance yields a better ecological outcome than compliance.”
“The project is dead in the water,” Afran said. “We showed that the ecological outcome from intruding into the stream is worse than leaving the site as it is, and the commission did not approve a waiver.”
Afran said the commission’s approval was a condition of the Princeton Regional Planning Board’s approval of the project.
But the Institute for Advanced Study is still considering all its options after the decision, and is not taking the position that the fight is over.
“We are considering all of our options, and are confident that the DRCC’s decision on a technical issue will not be an obstacle to completing our faculty housing project,” said Institute Spokeswoman Christine Ferrara.
The Regional Planning Board of Princeton unanimously approved the faculty housing project in March 2012. The Institute for Advanced Study was given approvals to build eight townhouses and seven single family homes on land where George Washington led a pivotal counterattack against the British during the Revolutionary War.