Harvard Lied to Mission Hill

MAIL

To the Editors of The Crimson:

It was most interesting to read the comments of Harvard officials in your article on April 4th on the sale of the ledge site at Brigham Circle.

Interesting because some of what they said was not true and some of what they told your reporter was quite different from what our community has been hearing from the Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Service.

You report that "[Director of Medical Area News Office Lillian F.] Blacker said that since the Longwood Ave. site is already University property, no rezoning is necessary." Rezoning is not the issue at the proposed 200 Longwood Ave. site, and Blacker assuredly knows full well it is not.

The issue is zoning variances and Harvard's $50 million project on that site has been delayed by the Mission Hill "quasi-governmental body that advises the city on zoning decisions." Harvard's original request for building permits was rejected by the building department of the city on July 12, 1989.

Harvard's appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals was continued (postponed) by Harvard on December 12, 1989, and on January 16, February 20, and March 27, 1990, when it was dismissed without prejudice because too many continuances had been requested.

These delays are costing Harvard a great deal of time and money, and Blacker and Director of Community Affairs Kevin A. McClusky are both painfully aware of the difficult position in which Harvard finds itself. Blacker would have your readers believe that Harvard does not have a zoning problem, which is absolutely not the case.

Harvard officials have certainly told The Crimson a different story than that being told the Mission Hill community, in regard to what it proposes to see built on the ledge site. This community has been told that no one has any plans to build low-income housing on that site, and we find Harvard officials presumption that that is what is to be built shocking.

Mission Hill already has one of the largest concentration of low-income housing in the Commonwealth, partly because of Harvard's own huge housing project at Mission Park. Any more low-income housing in a community that has between 60 percent and 70 percent low-income housing already would be a violation of federal law and all guidelines for sound urban planning. Kathryn J. Brookins