New Haven zone change paves way for Yale dorm expansion
(1/4/2011) (From New Haven Register)
By Abbe Smith, Register Staff
NEW HAVEN — The Board of Aldermen on Monday night approved a zone change that paves the way for two new residential colleges at Yale University.
If all goes as planned, the project will allow Yale to accept another 800 undergraduate students, the first major enrollment increase in decades.
Alderman Jorge Perez, D-5, chairman of the Legislation Committee, said the project would be good for Yale, and by extension, good for the city.
“It’s going to give Yale the opportunity to have more students,” Perez said after the meeting. He said that more students means more jobs and more business for local establishments such as restaurants and shops.
“Yale has become our largest employer and no properties here will be taken off the tax rolls,” Perez said.
Yale last proposed new residential colleges in the 1980s. The plan was rejected by the city because it would have taken property off the tax rolls. This time, that is not the case as Yale owns all the land except for a part of the Farmington Canal that is owned by the city, but for which Yale has an easement.
The project is expected to generate about $9.7 million in permit fees, according to a city estimate. It is projected to create 100 construction jobs.
Aldermen unanimously approved the designation of a planned development district of 6.6 acres owned by Yale at Sachem and Prospect streets. The City Plan Commission approved the planned development district zone change in October.
Under the new zone designation, Yale is allowed more dense building coverage, more floor space and a smaller front yard. With the aldermanic approval, Yale has three years to submit a final site plan that must be approved by City Plan Commission.
The two new residential colleges would house 850 students and allow Yale to increase its enrollment by 800 students. The development would include a 250-seat theater, student residential suites, two master’s houses, deans’ apartments, academic and administrative space and two towers. There would be landscaped courtyards and public walkways to the Farmington Canal.
“The design complements and ties together the Dixwell/Newhallville elements of the neighborhood and Yale’s existing gothic colleges,” Perez said before the vote. The buildings were designed by A.M. Stern, dean of Yale’s School of Architecture.
He said the plan includes the use of sustainable building materials and “green” technology so the project can achieve LEED gold certification for environmental design. There will be bicycle paths and racks and the project’s traffic and parking plan will be consistent with the city’s Complete Streets policies.
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