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City Council Complains Of Strict Regulations in Harvard-Owned Senior Living Facility

By Brendan R. Linn, Crimson Staff Writer

Two weeks before municipal elections, the Cambridge City Council last night complained of “draconian rules and regulations” in senior living facilities across the city—including one owned by the University—and asked the city manager to investigate.

The repressive restrictions senior citizens face, according to councillors Kenneth E. Reeves ’72 and E. Denise Simmons, include not being allowed to decorate their doors and public spaces, and losing access to previously common living areas.

“It’s the same as if you had a Harvard dorm [where] you couldn’t personalize anything,” said Reeves, a former resident of Mather House.

“If Harvard students knew the strictures seniors face, they wouldn’t stand for it,” Reeves said.

The senior living facility owned by Harvard is an 11-story, 200-unit building at 2 Mount Auburn St., three blocks east of Quincy House.

Reeves, who attended a meeting of about 40 of the building’s tenants last week, said the residents complained of having to remove plants from a penthouse common area.

Reeves attributed the Harvard facility’s policy constriction to changes in building management, but he also speculated that the University might wish to eventually turn it into another dormitory.

Echoing Reeves’ concerns, Simmons asked: “Is 2 Mount Auburn [St.]...going to be there permanently [as a senior facility]?”

Other buildings targeted by councillors for having repressive policies included an 8-story, 80-unit at 55 Essex St., near Central Square, owned by the Cambridge Housing Authority, which allegedly has prevented residents from accessing common areas by locking them.

Both Reeves and Simmons—along with the seven other incumbents of the City Council, including Mayor Michael A. Sullivan—are running for reelection next Tuesday, Nov. 8. If all are returned to office, membership on the Council will not have changed since 2001.

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