Students living at Lincoln's Inn, a Law School social club, may have to find another place of residence if the club does not obtain a permit that it lacks, the Cambridge License Commission informed the group yesterday.
The Inn is required by law to have a Certificate of Use and Occupancy in order to hold social events attended by 50 or more people, according to Adam S. Weiss, a law student who is the Inn's neighborhood relations chair.
The Cambridge License Commission discovered the Inn did not have the certificate after investigating a neighbor's complaints of an allegedly illegal party on December 12. The Inn is located at 44 Follen St.
The commission determined that the party was not illegal at a hearing on January 21. But it voted unanimously to suspend the Inn's lodging license on April 30 if the Inn does not obtain the certificate of occupancy.
The certificate of occupancy is a condition of the commission's granting the Inn its lodging license last spring.
"We are doing everything we can to come into compliance with the law," said Weiss. The Inn is in the process of applying for the certificate, he said.
Although Weiss said the Inn has not received complaints from neighbors about disturbing the peace for over a year, neighbor Marc A. Rodwin said the social organization, which has been in its present location since 1947, has been a "30-year problem."
Problems Since 1950
Neighbors have been signing petitions, complaining of noise and drunken behavior to the Inn and sending letters to the police and to Law School deans since 1950, said Rodwin, a professor of law at Brandeis University.
He added that the noise has been so loud that some residents have purchased pistol-range ear plugs to block the disturbances out.
"Because they are law students, they are getting away with more than any other students in the University," Rodwin said.
The seven residents of the Inn say that they have filed numerous applications for the certificate but that city officials have lost them, Rodwin said.
The social club's run-ins with its neighbors have gained national attention in the past few years. In response to residents' complaints Club members in 1990 drafted a "management plan" to control noise and improve neighborhood relations.
But residents and city officials said at the time that despite the agreement, the Inn failed to bring the noise to an acceptably low level.