City | 12:00 pm | December 15, 2009 | By Taylor Lasley and Esther Zuckerman

Residents voice opposition to SOM plans

A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus.
A visualization of Lord Norman Foster’s ARC ’62 sleek plans for the new School of Management campus. Photo by Taylor Lasley.

One day before the City Plan Commission will hear the proposal for the new School of Management campus, the building’s future neighbors are voicing their opposition to the plan.

Twenty residents of the neighborhood surrounding the site, located on Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street, have signed a petition requesting that the commission hear their concerns about the proposed building.

While one of the petition’s signers, Joe Tagliarini ’83, argued Yale is trying to circumvent current zoning by proposing a “planned development district,” Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, the University’s associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, said in an e-mail that the plan will allow for a building that better fits the area. The City Plan Commission will hear the proposal at a meeting Wednesday night.

Though Morand said the SOM community will be a “good neighbor” to the surrounding community, Andrew Drabkin ’01, who helped to write the petition, said neighbors are worried the SOM building will come too close to nearby houses. Drabkin said residents are also concerned about the building’s proposed steel and glass structure, designed by Lord Norman Foster ARC ’62.

“It’s not that they are expecting some kind of colonial revival building,” Drabkin said. “They want something that’s a little more sympathetic.”

Tagliarini wrote in an e-mail that he is concerned the SOM campus will devalue his home, which abuts the new campus. The University has taken steps to mitigate the impact the building will have on his house by adding landscaping, Tagliarini said in a separate interview. But he added that “the reality is that they are just oversized.”

“Aside from the potential of staring up at a wall of glass, I’m concerned about converting my lovely and peaceful backyard into an environment of what I call the ‘fishbowl effect’ — that of SOM’ers staring down at me,” he wrote.

Read the text of the petition below.

We, the undersigned ‘Lincoln-Bradley’ neighborhood residents, strongly object to the zoning changes required for the new School of Management building proposed by Yale University at 155 and 175 Whitney Avenue. Our historic, beautiful neighborhood will be severely impacted by the proposed building. We believe it is out of keeping with its surroundings and will adversely impact us.

The current RO and RM 2 zoning at 155 and 175 Whitney protects us, in our RS 2 zone, from the very type of building that is proposed. We ask you and the Planning Commission to revisit this project and listen to our concerns. We request another hearing on this matter.

We ask you to submit this letter, and the attached pages with our signatures, for the public record on our behalf.

Comments
  • ACPD

    And what about all the trees on that property? There are several very old and elegant trees on the property where this very modern building is being proposed. Yale continues to cut down large, healthy trees which is robbing the City of its charm and environmental support. Yale is turning New Haven into a concrete mall for its own narrow purposes….If Yale continues as it has in recent years, pretty soon there won’t be a green thing in downtown New Haven. The ivy went under false pretenses (it does not damage mortar in buildings), and many, many large, old trees are going also….Where’s Yale’s School of Forestry when we need them!

  • Tanner

    I have to agree with the nieghborhood. This design looks more like a corporate park. If they had the room to build a corporate campus then it looks fine. But placing it on Whitney Ave does not fit.

  • architect

    It’s great to get Norman Foster but couldn’t they get a Norman Foster design instead of the generic office building shown in the rendering? I would hate to have that visible through the trees in my historic backyard too. And I would want those windows to be frosted for my own privacy.

  • es11

    welcome to the windswept fishbowl.

    plus, it would be nice if the university put in more pedestrian and biking infrastructure, connecting the canal trail to east rock for example, instead of continuing to expand parking lots.

  • Oh please

    Every time Yale attempts to do anything, there is an outcry by people who pretend that their own presence and interest in the city is somehow divorced from Yale – as though it is an archetypal evil force out of a Disney movie threatening a small village in a South American rainforest.

    Yale has been a part of New Haven for most of New Haven’s existence and so has its expansion. The only reason you care about New Haven is because Yale grew enough to create programs and institutions that brought you to New Haven in the first place.

    Now, for your own selfish, nitpicky reasons, you wish to control every inch of the university’s growth.

    How about you just find a new town without any “encroaching” university to threaten your dull suburban existence.

  • What’s New?

    FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT said of Yale’s Harkness Tower: “I would rather live IN it, so I wouldn’t have to look AT it.”

    Paul Keane
    http://theantiyale.blogspot.com

  • Tanner

    I am not against Yale’s expansion and like “oh Please” I often roll my eyes at some of New Haven’s constant protests against anything Yale wants to build. Gee I don’t think Winchester Repeating Arm’s is comming back anytime soon. I also have a question. What exactly define’s a “Historic Street” in New Haven? I believe it is where large single family houses are that have not been taxed so much that they had to be turned into proffesional buildings. Or perhaps a neighborhood that managed to escape one of Mr. Lee’s bulldozers and cement projects. My main complaint was in the design but I would have to see the full model and where it would be situated.

  • juli

    “The only reason you care about New Haven is because Yale grew enough to create programs and institutions that brought you to New Haven in the first place.”

    wow. new haven is the hooker and yale is the pimp, eh?

  • Tanqueroy

    Many people who live along that street are Yale faculty so this isn’t a New Haven vs Yale fight. This is about living a peaceful life alongside your neighbors. Lincoln and Bradley Streets are also major pedestrian and cycling routes for Yale people living in East Rock because they are quiet, peaceful streets without the traffic of Orange and Whitney.

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