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MIT to present new ‘Infinite corridor east’ vision tonight

MIT will appear before the Cambridge Planning Board tonight to present a preview of zoning changes for the campus east of Ames St., which it intends to file with the City later this month. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at 344 Broadway, the City Hall Annex. MIT’s presentation is not expected to start before 8:15 p.m.

MIT could well disappoint the board with the specificity and scope of its presentation.

MIT had previously filed zoning changes in April 2011. Those changes included higher building heights, denser floor area ratios, parking requirements, public open space requirements, etc.

MIT let its petition lapse as the city engaged in substantive discussions about the future of Kendall Square. The City hired Goody Clancy & Associates with a $350,000 contract to look at the future of Kendall and Central Squares (the K2C2 study) — that process is now drawing to a close, and recommendations for Kendall have been presented to the planning board. They will see Central recommendations for the first time at the beginning of tonight’s meeting.

The board said on Nov. 20 that it expected MIT to present a clear preview of its zoning proposal prior to filing, because of limits on how a proposal could be amended once filed. In September, the board had asked MIT to work jointly with it to produce a zoning petition supported by both MIT and the board.

It’s not clear if that will happen tonight. At a private meeting with the city last week, MIT declined to provide specifics of its zoning proposal.

“Tuesday night will be more of an overarching summary of principles and planning concepts” and not of zoning language, said Sarah E. Gallop, MIT’s community liaison, in an email. Gallop said that there would be an overview of the zoning tonight but that detailed discussion of zoning would not happen until after MIT files its petition.

Gallop said MIT intends to “show the evolution of the proposal since we originally filed in April 2011 and the significant areas of alignment among the various stakeholders — planning board, city staff, K2 [K2C2] process, [faculty 2030] task force, etc.”

John A. Hawkinson