Distraught Cantabrigians Crowd Council Meeting

Tempers flared at Monday night's City Council meeting as more than 30 Cantabrigians spoke against proposed Central Square zoning changes in anticipation of last night's Planning Board meeting.

"What I don't want to see is another office building in Central Square," said Julia Gregory, echoing the opinions of many who spoke at the public comment session preceding Monday's meeting.

In particular, residents said they feared that more development--especially high-rise development--in Central Square might destroy the neighborhood's characteristic charm.

Most residents spoke regarding the proposed demolition of the building which houses the Lucy Parsons bookstore, located at 3 Central Square.

Many spoke on behalf of the neighborhood group Save Central Square.


"More than an organization, we are a cry of pain and outrage of what is happening to our neighborhood in Central Square," said Bill Cunningham.

James Williamson, also a member of Save Central Square, said he felt city officials had not been forthright in their dealings with neighbors.

"Stop lying, stop cooking the data, deliver the goods on time," Williamson said.

Williamson said he was particularly upset about the latest proposal for the Mass. Ave. site. The proposal came in at 4:30 p.m., he said--barely 24 hours before last night's Planning Board Meeting was to decide whether to grant a zoning variance to the structure that will be built on the site.

"I worry that the Holmes proposal will put an end to the two things I love most about Central Square--its affordability and diversity," said MIT graduate student Nina Shapley.

The discussion heated up as the evening wore on. Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55 warned some speakers up to four times that they had exceeded their allotted three minutes.

Duehay asked one resident to refrain from making personal comments about Councillors.

"I got a response from you, and that feels great," Smith said. "I'm glad to see that you're all alive," he added, gesturing to the mayor and the Councillors.

Only one resident urged his neighbors to put the dispute in perspective.

"Sometimes a building is just a building," said Robert Winters, a preceptor in Harvard's Math Department, who returned to his seat amid boos and hisses.

Recommended Articles