Despite persistent complaints from aggravated neighbors, members of the Baker’s Dozen a cappella group will likely remain at their current house on 235 Dwight St. The city also ended its investigation of a house on 229 Dwight St. that houses six students.
The New Haven zoning board has decided not to pursue its demands that Off Broadway — the company that owns the property — go to the zoning board for special-use permits for the houses.
Irritated neighbors had opposed Off Broadway’s efforts to appeal and hoped to see the Baker’s Dozen evicted altogether. The Baker’s Dozen was using a house zoned for two families as a rooming house for six students, Andrew Rizzo, head of the New Haven Office of Building Inspection and Enforcement, told the Yale Daily News in October.
The house did not have enough exits to be zoned as a rooming house, Rizzo said.
Baker’s Dozen housing manager Robby Schrum ’05 said the house received a letter from the zoning board stating the board had made an error and no zoning regulations had ever been violated. Schrum said he did not understand why the city investigated the house in the first place.
Bill Label, 62, who lives at 226 Dwight St., said he was dissatisfied with Off Broadway and the zoning board’s response to the neighbors’ concerns. Label said he cannot understand why Off Broadway continues to rent to a group of students that he thinks has not promoted good neighborhood relations.
“This is a strange case of events,” Label said. “After waiting all this time for the zoning board to take action, everything has miraculously changed.”
The Baker’s Dozen has had strained relations with its neighbors for most of the five years that members of the group have lived at their current location on Dwight Street. New Haven Police have been called to the house 28 times since 1999. Label criticized the a cappella group.
“They do nothing for the [University] at all,” Label said. “[Off Broadway] could rent to graduate students and have a lot less trouble.”
The singing group understands that the New Haven Police need to investigate large parties, Schrum said.
Kathleen Rooney, who lives at 239 Dwight St., said she does not oppose a group of Yale students living in her neighborhood, as long as they are sensitive to their neighbors’ concerns.
“It’s just unfortunate that we can’t coexist,” Rooney said. “I would not be upset if they just followed simple sound ordinances. With different kids moving into the house every year, I don’t think they ever will.”
John Moore Crossey, 71, a retired employee of Sterling Memorial Library who lives two doors down from the Baker’s Dozen house at 245 Dwight St., said he does not believe the group should be allowed to live in the middle of a neighborhood full of working families. Crossey said the group’s party after a cappella tap night this year was especially loud. But he said the group has not been a major disturbance since earlier in the semester.
Group members said they are positive about their future on Dwight Street.
“I don’t think we’ve been having any problems at all,” said Schrum. “It’s an ongoing issue year by year, but whenever we see the neighbors, we wave and usually they are friendly.”
Paul McLaughlin ’06, a Baker’s Dozen member who does not live in house but frequents it to visit the group members who do, said the Baker’s Dozen has enjoyed living on Dwight Street. They have never has felt that the neighbors’ anger has been reason enough for the group to find another house, he said.
“We really have no problem with the neighbors,” McLaughin said. “It’s just nice not to get evicted.”
Ming Thompson ’04, a resident of 229 Dwight St., said she is optimistic about students’ future relations with their neighbors. Thompson said she feels students who make an effort to communicate with their neighbors will have less trouble living off campus.
“For years, [students] just haven’t interacted with people on Dwight Street,” Thompson said. “The neighbors usually react positively when students take a chance to speak with them as neighbors.”
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