Cambridge City Councillor Alfred E. Vollucci last night called the University's offer of $1 million in excess of the fair market value for the MTA Bennett Street Yards "unfair to other developers, and to the people of Cambridge."
Speaking at a Kirkland House Forum, Vellucci said, "If the University is willing to pay a million dollar bonus for the MTA yards, then they should give it, as a gift, to the City of Cambridge."
G. d'Andelot Belin, another Council member, noted that the city is eager to have the thirteen acres developed so that the land will be taxable. "The city needs revenue. The City fathers see all those tax dollars going up the smokestack if Harvard gets the land."
Vellucci said that since the people of Cambridge have "withstood tax losses" on the Yards for so many years, they "deserve to be compensated" with a new development which will bring the city revenue. (The MTA has never paid tax on the Yards).
He went on to accuse the University of negotiating in secret for the Yards. Arthur D. Trottenberg, Dean of the Faculty for Business Affairs, said he "didn't see how you can negotiate secretly in something as hot as the Bennett Street Yards."
"Our bidding procedure," he said, "is quite frank and open. The MTA has an obligation to get the highest possible bid price for its land."
Vellucci criticized the University "for failing to meet the parking problems it has created." It has not provided adequate supervision of its driving students, nor sufficient parking lots for their cars, he said. In regard to an earlier University offer to join with the city in building parking facilities in the Square, he noted that MIT had built a parking square without the city's assistance. "Cambridge has enough problems of its own, without going 50-50 with the University's problems."
Harold L. Goyette, Planning Officer, observed that the MIT facilities had been set up only for MIT students and faculty, while the proposed Harvard garage would serve the entire Cambridge community.