The City of Somerville is at a critical crossroad. Our community has become incredibly attractive to real estate developers because of the demand for residential housing. This creates both opportunity and danger. The opportunity is that it can transform substandard property, vacant land, or abandoned industrial uses to developments that can improve the neighborhood and provide quality and affordable housing. The risk is that through gentrification, our residential neighborhoods are transformed and we lose our diversity and many people who want to live here for the long term and who want to be part of community. Next year, the Board of Aldermen will receive a new city-wide zoning proposal from the Administration. We will also be moving forward with proposals to create more affordable units. Our City’s experience in the past few years is that the new affordable units do not even come close to replacing the units that are lost. That is why I opposed the affordable housing waiver request for Assembly Square sought by the developer.
During my service on the Board, I have constantly fought to protect our residential neighborhoods from poor development proposals that adversely effect the people who live nearby. I have been pushing for large scale commercial development in appropriate areas such as Assembly Square and the Inner Belt, promoting office buildings and research and development projects that will bring good jobs to the community and help reduce the tax burden on Somerville home owners. I have also supported the increases in our percentage of affordable units that must be built by developers and the linkage fee that developers pay. These are the development issues that I feel are very important and I would be very interested in feed back from residents.