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‘Cease and Desist’: Cambridge Orders Harvard Final Club to Leave Residential Zone

The Fox Club's temporary location is at 6 Francis Ave. The Harvard final club is embroiled in a legal dispute with its neighbors just months after temporarily moving to a residential Cambridge area.
The Fox Club's temporary location is at 6 Francis Ave. The Harvard final club is embroiled in a legal dispute with its neighbors just months after temporarily moving to a residential Cambridge area. By Emily L. Ding
By Sally E. Edwards and Asher J. Montgomery, Crimson Staff Writers

The Fox, a Harvard final club, is embroiled in a legal dispute with its neighbors just months after temporarily moving to a residential Cambridge area while its clubhouse at 44 John F. Kennedy St. undergoes renovations.

The dispute led the Fox to seek a harassment prevention order against one of its neighbors and prompted the City of Cambridge to issue a cease and desist order to the owner of the property being rented by the club, demanding that the Fox leave the neighborhood “immediately.”

The Fox moved into the rented home at 6 Francis Ave. two months ago, where it has hosted regular parties during the day and at night. According to a Feb. 18 police report obtained by The Crimson, neighbors placed at least eight calls complaining about “loud music” from the Fox.

City Building Commissioner Peter McLaughlin demanded in a cease and desist order to the owner of the property that the Fox’s activities must halt immediately or else “further steps may be taken.”

McLaughlin cited zoning codes, writing that the building is located in a Residence A-2 zoning district and “fraternal sororal meeting facility is not allowed outside of Institutional Use Overlay Districts.”

Members of the Fox, including its president and two men who answered the door at 6 Francis Ave., declined to comment on the cease and desist order. Emma C. Wolbach, a Florida resident who owns the property, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The legal action comes after one neighbor, Sara Hunter, circulated an open letter among local residents alleging that the Fox caused noise disturbances until 1:30 a.m. and served alcohol to minors at the residence.

Cambridge City Councilor Patricia M. “Patty” Nolan ’80 said she worked with multiple residents who had concerns about the Fox’s recent move to the neighborhood who complained of improper property care and “noise and nuisance.”

“Their quiet enjoyment of their own properties was impossible because of the amount of noise and activity that was going on far into the night,” Nolan said.

“There’s other parts of town where you are allowed to do this, and that’s where this type of use should be happening — not in this area,” she added.

Prior to the cease and desist order, Fox Club steward Kevin J. Wallace ’73 filed a harassment prevention order on Feb. 16 against Thomas Wolf, who resides next door to the club’s temporary residence. Wolf declined to comment on the order.

In the harassment prevention order affidavit, Wallace wrote that Wolf made multiple “false claims about noise” and the Fox’s placement of trash cans to the police over the course of a month and alleged that the tent in the backyard of the club is illegal.

The order against Wolf was terminated on March 4, after Wallace failed to appear at the Cambridge District Court for a hearing on whether to continue the order. Wallace, the club’s alumni steward, did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

According to a report following a Cambridge Police Department response to a loud party at the Fox’s residence on Feb. 18, Wallace reportedly told CPD Sergeant Paul J. Gallagher that Fox members “will party when they want and take any resident to court if they have a problem with them.”

“Fox Club staff stated they had ‘no interest in working with the neighborhood residents and they had every right to host parties whenever they wanted,’” the police report noted.

Despite the cease and desist order, the Fox has continued to host events at 6 Francis Ave. — including a St. Patrick’s Day party on Sunday morning. Some neighbors reported that the activity has been quieter since the order was filed.

It is unclear how long the renovations will take or how long the Fox plans to remain in its current temporary location, which has a golden knocker in the shape of a fox head on its door and several taxidermied foxes hanging on the hallway walls.

While Nolan said that she cannot enforce the City’s cease and desist order, she has brought the complaints against the club to the attention of the relevant authorities who are responsible for enforcing the zoning ordinances.

“I fully expect and hope that the city is enforcing our laws,” Nolan said.

—Staff writer Sally E. Edwards can be reached at sally.edwards@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @sallyedwards04 or on Threads @sally_edwards06.

—Staff writer Asher J. Montgomery can be reached at asher.montgomery@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @asherjmont or on Threads @asher_montgomery.

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