Committee to review SOM plans

Ward 1 Alderman Mike Jones ’11 will sit opposite Yale administrators tonight when they present their proposal for the new School of Management campus before the Board of Aldermen’s legislation committee.

That is because Jones got his wish Wednesday evening: Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield appointed him vice-chair of the legislation committee.

In an interview earlier this month, Jones, who represents most Yale undergraduates, said he hoped to have a spot on either the legislation or finance committee. The legislation committee, among other duties, holds hearings on the city’s zoning and general laws. He has said he wants to pass legislation that ensures developers provide housing for low-income families.

“[Jones has] indicated that he wants to get a lot accomplished, so I wanted to give him a position where he could prove himself,” said Goldfield, who chose the committee members.

As vice-chair, Jones is responsible for stepping in for Legislation Committee Chair and Ward 9 Alderman Roland Lemar if he cannot be present at meetings. Jones said Wednesday that it is now more likely he will need to assume Lemar’s role because Lemar is running for New Haven and Hamden State Rep. Cameron Staples’ seat. Lemar could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Jones will get his first taste of his new position at tonight’s meeting, when the committee will hear Yale’s most recent proposal for the new SOM campus, due to be completed in 2013. The campus is a controversial subject among residents who live near the proposed 230,000 square-foot structure, which is to be located on Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street .

Last Thursday Yale officials revealed a revised design for the new campus to local residents and city officials. Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, the University’s associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, said Yale asked Foster + Partners, the firm that created the original design, a few weeks ago to modify current plans to address neighbors’ concerns.

The most recent plans, which include more landscaping and walking space, are a “step in the right direction,” Jones said. Earlier this month, before Yale announced its most recent plans, Jones said the campus was “a little out of scale” with the buildings currently on the site and that he would reduce the scale and reuse the preexisting buildings.

Jones’ perspective as a Yale College student will be “valuable,” Jones said, but he emphasized that he has no personal connections to the plans or SOM. Still, Joe Tagliarini ’83, who lives on Bradley Street on the south side of the new campus, said all members of the committee should announce if they have even potential conflicts of interest with projects the committee discusses.

Ward 14 Alderwoman Stephanie Bauer, another newly appointed member of the legislation committee, said Jones’s evaluating his own school’s proposal should be “fun and challenging” for Jones.

Jones is interested in hearing what the new campus’s neighbors have to say at the public hearing, he said. Before the meeting this evening, Jones is scheduled to discuss plans for the new campus with Morand.

Many of the neighbors who have voiced concerns with the new campus’s design belong to the Lincoln-Bradley Association, a group of residents who live along Lincoln Street to the east of Whitney Avenue or Bradley Street to the south, but the association itself has taken no official position, said Jane Jervis, the association’s president.

Today’s hearing will include a presentation by the Yale officials and a time for the public to comment. Though it is possible the committee will vote on Yale’s proposal tonight, Jones said it is possible there will be a second public hearing in late February at which there will be more time for public comment.

Goldfield has not announced the members of the other 10 aldermanic committees. The legislation committee will meet tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Sam Greenberg contributed reporting.

Correction: Jan. 28, 2010

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the size of the proposed new SOM campus. It is 230,000 square feet, not 246,000.

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