Zoning Harvard Out


Residents of a small community north of the law school successfully pushed for a down-zoning of their neighborhood in November that may restrict University expansion in the area.

The city council, acting against Harvard's opposition to the plan, approved a rezoning of the Agassiz neighborhood to limit construction to a height of 35 feet and a density of 36 units an acre.

The land, which is 58-per-cent Harvard owned, had been marked as a possible site for construction of new dorms for married or graduate students.

To obtain the rezoning, Agassiz residents gained 1000 signatures on a petition and argued their case before both the local planning board and the city council, where they needed six of the nine votes.

Donald C. Moulton, assistant vice president for community affairs, drew hisses from the city council gallery when he announced Harvard's opposition to the down-zoning.

He said Harvard would prefer a "design review process" by community experts over the "inflexible" zoning restrictions. The community, however, wouldn't compromise and pushed for the zoning change to guarantee limits on land development.

Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci, who held the key sixth vote for the measure, at first wavered, but then supported the measure after the angry Agassiz residents jeered him.

Aside from Harvard property, the down-zoned land also included two plots that were slated for high-rise apartment development. Robert A. Jones, one of the developers, was bitter about the decision.

"They voted for it because we're developers and they think we're rich people," he said. It's as though they expect us to wear black hats and capes."