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City Board May Favor Down-Zoning

By Laurie Hays

Although the Cambridge Planning Board has not yet submitted a formal recommendation to the City Council favoring the down-zoning of Harvard-owned property on Observatory Hill, it probably will do so in the next week. Arthur C. Parris, chairman of the board, said yesterday.

At its meeting last week, five members of the board expressed their desire to down-zone the land, which would lower the maximum legal height of any building built on that site from 85 to 35 feet.

Alfred Cohn, the sixth member of the board who was absent from the meeting, said yesterday his initial reaction was to oppose the down-zoning. Cohn said he believes the residents who proposed the change were not trying primarily to preserve neighborhood values by their attempts to prevent non-residential building in the area.

Parris said the board will probably not discuss the down-zoning petition at its meeting next week because "we have to move on to other things."

Parris added, however, that the board is "very democratic and if any member wishes to raise a particular issue, it will be discussed."

The down-zoning recommendation is a response to a petition presented to the City Council earlier this month by a group of Observatory Hill residents. The neighbors said they are mostly concerned with Harvard's designation of the area as a possible site for a high-level parking garage

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