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Shady Hill Housing Plan Going Ahead

Harvard Will Request Zoning Change in Fall

By William R. Galeota

Harvard is moving ahead with plans to build 300 units of housing for University personnel on a long-controversial tract of land it owns near the Divinity School.

In the early Fall, the University will ask the City of Cambridge to make the zoning changes needed to build the housing on the "Shady Hill" site, University Planning Officer Harold L. Goyette said yesterday. The cost of the housing is estimated at roughly $8-10 million.

Current plans call for the construction of 20 low-rise town house units and two 16-20 story towers with 280 apartments between them. The town houses would contain three bedrooms each, while there would be 70 one-bedroom, 140 two-bed-room, and 70 three-bedroom apartments in the high-rise towers.

"Shady Hill"--also known as the Sachs Estate, after a former owner--is an approximately six-acre tract of land bordered by Irving, Bryant and Beacon Sts. The site is presently vacant.

In 1955, President Pusey personally unveiled plans for a Faculty housing project on the site, but opposition from neighborhood residents, many of them Harvard professors, killed the plans. The residents, led by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. '38, said the housing would take up the last open space in the area, and cause street traffic and sidewalk congestion.

The plans were revived last Fall, when Harvard decided to build about 180 units on the site. Last spring, after the April upheaval made the City's housing crisis a prime concern, the number was upped to 300.

A group of Design school students and faculty were not satisfied; they have been calling for construction of 500 units--half for University personnel, half for low-income community residents on the site.

University officials have opposed the proposal to build low-income housing on Shady Hill. Other sites currently being studied by Harvard are more appropriate for this use, Goyette said, since they have better transportation facilities, and are closer to local shopping areas.

The Shady Hill site, like the neighborhood around it, is now mostly zoned for one-family residential housing: the University will have to get approval from the City's Planning Board. Board of Zoning Appeal and the City Council to build the 300 units there.

Harvard purposely decided not to ask for the zoning change until this Fall, so that neighborhood residents would have a better chance to give their reactions to the plans, Goyette said.

Soundings have already begun to find out whether they will give the current plans a better reception than those of 1955 got. Lost week, several University officials, including Goyette and Edward S. Gruson, assistant to the President for Community Relations, met with residents of the neighborhood.

"I think there's considerable concern [in the neighborhood] about traffic, parking, and so on, and some general concern about land coverage and the number of children and number of people that will be generated by the housing," Goyette said.

'However, I think there is a considerable understanding of the realities and the rationale behind such a proposition," he added

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