The Board of Aldermen’s legislation committee may decide at their meeting tonight to allow designs for the new School of Management campus to appear before the full board.
Three of the seven members, including committee chair and Ward 9 Alderman Roland Lemar, said Wednesday that they hope to vote on the SOM campus. If the vote passes, the full board may vote on the proposal next month, he added. But some committee members said that the committee may not vote on the matter depending on the feedback it receives at the public hearing tonight at 6 p.m.
“Hopefully we’ll get some reasonable answers tomorrow that will help us make the decision,” committee member and Ward 12 Alderman Gerald Antunes said Wednesday. “It needs to move on.”
At the annual State of the City address Feb. 1, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said that the project should move forward because it would help the University and, consequentially, the city to grow.
“The project has rightly evolved in response to numerous city and resident concerns,” the mayor said in his speech. “The University has redesigned and met these concerns more than halfway.”
Legislation committee member and Ward 20 Alderman Charles Blango emphasized that the construction of the campus will bring more jobs to the city. Still, Ward 5 Alderman and committee member Jorge Perez said the committee may have questions about the design based on the public comment tonight.
“If based on testimony, more questions show up,” he said. “Maybe not.”
And Ward 1 Alderman Mike Jones ’11, vice chair of the committee, said that although he would like to pass the proposal onto the full board as promptly as possible, he is “more than happy to let the process exhaust itself.”
The proposal for the new campus has been controversial from the outset. Before the last public hearing held on Jan. 28, Yale asked Foster + Partners, the firm to originally design the campus, to modify the designs for the 230,000-square-foot SOM structure. The new plans included more landscaping and walking space.
Yale administrators have resisted any delays to the project.
“We trust that the zealous few who seek to kill or delay this project will not succeed, as their success would come at a much greater cost to many more,” Associate Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said last month.
But some residents still vocally oppose the plan.
Anstress Farwell GRD ’78, president of the New Haven Urban Design League, filed a petition to allow her time to present her findings, she said last month. Lemar said his committee will decide on her application before tonight’s hearing. Lemar said that no matter what, Farwell will be able to give testimony at tomorrow’s meeting. Farwell declined to comment Wednesday on the status of her application.
Still, Farwell said Yale officials have not shown aldermen a depiction of the new SOM building in the context of neighboring buildings. She plans to show a sketch of the neighborhood with the new building tonight.
Another resident, New Haven Register columnist Randall Beach, devoted one of his weekly columns to urging Yale to preserve two buildings it plans to raze to start SOM construction, 155 and 175 Whitney Ave.