Landlord to Fight Coop At City Hearing Today
A businessman who hopes to prevent the Harvard Cooperation Society from building a four-story annex on Palmer St. will carry his fight to the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal today.
Sheldon Dietz '41, part owner of a building near the Coop, will urge the board to deny a zoning variance that the store must obtain before beginning construction. Dietz said yesterday that he would appeal to the Middlesex County Superior Court if the variance is granted.
He opposes the new building--which the Coop expects to use for an expanded book department and additional offices--on the grounds that it will destroy "the unique village quality" of the Square.
In a letter sent last month to all the officers, directors, and stockholders of the Coop, he complained that their plans provide for "no set-back, no variety, no courtyard, no trees," "Mistakes built into concrete and brick are irrevocably fixed for generations," he observed.
At today's hearing, Dietz will argue that the Board should not waive an ordinance requiring off-street leading facilities for buildings to which goods are delivered. Exceptions to the City's zoning code are allowed "only for reasons of practical difficulty and demonstrable and substantial hardship." Such hardship does not exist in this case, he claims.
The Coop scored a minor victory on a different yesterday when the Massachusetts House of Representatives allowed a bill introduced in its behalf to be revived. The bill's purpose is to permit the construction of a three-story bridge over Palmer St. between the Coop's present building and its proposed one.
The bill was automatically referred last month to the legislature's next annual session. Yesterday, however the House gave unanimous consent to a motion to send it back to committee.