Harvard yesterday asked the City of Cambridge for a zoning change to permit construction of 300 units of Faculty housing on a long-controversial tract of land near the Divinity School.
If the City Council approves Harvard's request to rezone the five-and-a-half acre Shady Hill site, construction of housing on the currently-vacant site could begin by late April or early May, Harold L. Goyette, director of the University Planning Office, said yesterday.
Like the areas adjacent to it, the Shady Hill site-also known as the Sashes estate, after a former owner-is presently zoned for one-family residential dwellings. The City Council yesterday referred the University's request for a higher zoning to the Planning Board. The date of the public hearing, which is required by law, has not yet been set.
The area around Shady Hill contains the homes of many senior Faculty members, who helped kill a 1955 attempt by the University to build 120 units of Faculty housing on Shady Hill. The neighborhood residents-led by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. 38, then professor of History-feared that the new housing would bringtraffic and congestion to the area.
Similar neighborhood opposition sprang up during the past year. when the University revived plans for housing on the site. Harvard officials met periodically this Fall with the residents-organized as the Norton Woods Neighborhood Association-in an attempt to iron out the difficulties.
Though Harvard maintained its plans to build 300 units-about 100 units more than some residents wanted-on the site. the University did agree to residents' requests to provide more parking for the housing project. A planned 300-car garage has now been expanded to 400-car capacity.
The Norton Woods Association has not yet decided whether to oppose the rezoning request when it comes before the Planning Board and City Council. a legal advisor for the group said last night.
As planned the 300 units of housing would be constructed in a combination of high-rise and low-rise units. Though the units will be available to all University personnel. they are primarily intended for Junior Faculty members.