City Denies Three Permits To Developers

The Cambridge Rent Board turned down three requests for removal permits in the last two weeks, signalling a shift to a "more literal" interpretation of the recently-passed city ordinance designed to limit condominium conversions.

Under the law, developers must obtain a permit before taking a rental housing unit off the market for renovation, demolition, or conversion to some other use.

The city's Rent Control Board granted the first four permits requested by developers, but the crackdown of the last two weeks means the board "has reached more of a consensus of interpretation," board member Victoria Judson said yesterday. "The board is taking seriously the intent of the legislation," Judson added.

"We would like to think the first four cases were the exceptions," Lynn Weissberg, a member of the Alliance of Cambridge Tenants, said yesterday, adding "the early decisions were largely a results of peculiar circumstances."

All three denials may be appealed, Judson said, adding that is is unclear where and under what grounds the appeals will be made.

The three cases dealt with a vacant apartment on Highland Avenue, 23 units on Ellery St., and one unit on Gorham St.