Newton Aldermen Approve Permit for Higgins Project

(11-19-97) -- The Newton Board of Aldermen unanimously granted the University a special permit for the renovation and expansion of Higgins Hall at its Nov. 17 meeting.

The University briefed local residents and aldermen on the project, which entails expansion and upgrading of the Physics and Biology facilities, and it encountered little opposition. Pending final approval from the Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, construction is slated to begin in the spring.

Associate Vice President for State and Community Affairs Paul White said the process was "flawless. It was accepted without any controversy." The aldermanic Land Use Committee unanimously approved the project and the full board followed with a 24-0 vote.

Following a statutory appeal period of 30 days, the permit will be issued, said Associate General Counsel Joseph Herlihy, who added that no appeals are anticipated.

"In my mind, this worked the way the process should work," said Herlihy. "It was given serious and thoughtful consideration by the board in a timely manner."

White added that the University explained the project to local residents and was able to gain their support for the academic project, which does not border on the neighborhood.

"I'm hopeful and optimistic that this is the kind of relationship we can have with our neighbors on projects of this nature," said White.

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