Board of Aldermen clears way for thirteenth and fourteenth colleges

Yale officials finally smoothed out some nitty-gritty details of the residential college and Science Hill expansions at Thursday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

At the meeting, the aldermen unanimously passed legislation to clarify the 2006 development agreement that was forged in order to kick-start the plan to build two new residential colleges at the blocks near Sachem and Prospect streets. The clarification involved removing an ambiguity in the language of the 2006 agreement that allowed New Haven to continue to claim ownership of a sliver of land in the residential colleges plot.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a utilities agreement with Yale in order to plant chilled water pipes through city property on Canal Street. The approval checks off another item in the laundry list of necessary actions to be completed before the start of the Yale Biology Building construction — a key investment in the University’s Science Hill expansion.

Although both pieces of legislation were initially met with resistance by several aldermen in their private Democratic majority caucus meeting moments before the start of the official meeting, Sturgis-Pascale eased their concerns over giving away New Haven land by mentioning, among other things, that the city may soon receive $250,000 per year from the University if the plans proceed.

“Overall, this mutual license agreement represents a really good deal for both Yale and for the city,” Sturgis-Pascale said at the meeting. “Yale’s expansion — specifically the science building and the residential colleges — will stand to directly benefit the city financially.”

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Smuts ’01 said in order to make a connection to Science Park, the University will need to run pipes underneath city streets and Scantlebury Park in the Dixwell neighborhood.

Because the University will need to dig up portions of city property, Yale officials have provided $50,000 to a trust fund for the Scantlebury Park, Sturgis-Pascale said. Four years ago, Yale contributed $500,000 to the upkeep of Dixwell’s neighborhood.

If pipe installation takes longer than the time period approved by the city, the University will have to pay $500 for each extra day of maintenance work. And, Sturgis-Pascale noted, the University will pay for repaving roads after placing the pipes and will need aldermanic approval for any future work on the pipes.

The utilities agreement followed vested efforts by Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 in October to persuade the aldermanic city services and environmental policy committee to favor the plan.

The former alderman argued that the pipes’ construction would increase temporary city jobs and help to bring adequate resources to the science facilities on campus.

But it would seem that for the aldermen, the money mattered more.

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