Town Gown Reports, PILOT Agreements and Institutional Planning

In 1991 the Mayor's Committee on University-Community Relationships issued a report addressing the relationship between the Cambridge community and the educational institutions that play an important role in the City's landscape and economy. The four primary post-secondary educational institutions then located in Cambridge -- Cambridge College, Harvard University, Lesley University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- all participated in deliberations that lead to the drafting of the Committee's report.

Each school that is a signatory to the report submits an annual Town Gown Annual Report to the Community Development Department.  The reports are followed by presentations to the Planning Board, usually in early February of the following year. Since 1991 Cambridge College has relocated to Charlestown while the Hult International School of Business has built a thriving campus in the North Point neighborhood and voluntarily joined the Town Gown reporting process.

2020 Town Gown Reports

Harvard and MIT PILOT Agreements

Due the extent of their land holdings and large numbers of students and workers, both Harvard and MIT have entered into Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements with the City of Cambridge.  these agreements to support municipal services.  These agreements offset the effect of the nontaxable status of institutional property holdings. 

Institutional Growth Management Plan

By two special acts of the legislature, Cambridge has been granted the authority to regulate certain educational and religious uses in its residential neighborhoods that the state zoning act otherwise denies to other communities in the Commonwealth.

The Cambridge Institutional Growth Management Plan, published in 1981, is the planning document that serves as the policy underpinning for the regulation of institutional uses in the City as set out in Section 4.50 of the Zoning Ordinance. The Plan assesses the relative impact on residential neighborhoods of a wide range of institutional uses and serves as a guide to the Board of Zoning Appeal when it is considering the issuance of a special permit under the provisions of the Institutional Use Regulations contained in Section 4.50.

For More Information

For more information about institutions, zoning, and the Planning Board contact Jeff Roberts, Zoning and Development Director, at 617/349-4639 or jroberts@cambridgema.gov.

For more information about the Annual Town Gown Reports contact Cliff Cook, Senior Planning Information Manager, at 617/349-4656 or ccook@cambridgema.gov.