Citywide Zoning Overhaul

Mayor Curtatone has just proposed a comprehensive citywide zoning overhaul. It will change the look and feel of many neighborhoods for decades to come. Property owner or renter, the zoning changes will effect us all.  The Board of Alderman will vote on these changes soon, I am going to consider these changes carefully and I want your feedback.

As your Alderman, I want to make sure that your questions are answered, concerns are recognized, and that you have a voice in this process. 

For details on the plan click here or browse the new Somerville zoning website

In the comment section below add questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have about the plan.

 

There are a few very important meetings relating to this that you should try to attend.

Information Session

Tuesday, January 20, 6:30 p.m. – Somerville Armory

There will be a presentation, discussion with city staff, and a great opportunity to go over the details of the ordinance

Public Hearing

Tuesday, February 10, 6:00 p.m. – Aldermanic Chambers, City Hall

All public feedback will be considered and will help revise the ordinance before we vote.

 

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End of July News

McGrath Highway Updates

Last week I attended the Mass DOT meeting on the McGrath Highway/McCarthy Boulevard Project to review short and long-term changes.  Why is this project is important to Ward 2?  McGrath has long been a barrier dividing our city and communities.  Short-term improvements will immediately address a myriad of issues related to pedestrian and bicycle travel, much needed changes that were previously impossible.  These changes will also better connect Union Square to the Green Line extension stations.  Speaking of which, a portion of Medford St. will be closed at various times this month and then again in September and October to prepare the Medford St. Bridge for Green Line traffic.

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What's New in Ward 2

The Somerville Redevelopment Authority chose US2 as the Union Square Master Developer

US2 reached out to Somerville and Union square business and resident communities more than any other candidate. They also brought some interesting ideas to the table and important points of emphasis such as:

  • Providing an early activation “idea center” in a pop up building. This will be a visible and inclusive forum for information gathering, idea sharing, and will allow consistent dialogue with residents and businesses
  • “Promote the Independents” by providing business assistance support and flexible lease structures current and new local businesses will be able to thrive throughout the development process
  • Aim past LEED to LEED Platinum certification in neighborhood development putting a greater emphasis on things like net zero carbon energy supply and net zero waste
  • Pursue work force development as a key economic growth strategy using links to Mass Challenge, promoting Union Square as a regional employment hub, and creating a local task force to maximize resident employment and workforce training.

 

As the Development Agreement is formed, I’ll make sure that we don’t lose sight of other important things like incorporating affordable housing in the Master Plan and looking for was to keep the Square grounded and unique.

$190 Million 2015 Fiscal Year Budget approved

After an insane month of almost nightly meetings, hearings, and review sessions that lasted up to 5 hours, we approved the City’s budget for the next fiscal year.  This is a smaller budget than last year but still satisfies all of Somerville’s needs.

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Updates on some big projects

Union Square Master Developer:

A Citizens Advisory Committee made up of volunteer residents has been meeting over the last few months to select a Master Developer for Union Square. The advisory committee has recommended four finalists to the Somerville Redevelopment Authority.  The final selection rests with the SRA and not the Board of Aldermen but we in Ward 2 know how important this is to our lives, our neighborhood, and our quality of life.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.  Even though the Board of Alderman doesn't get to pick the Master Developer, I believe that we should engage with whatever team is chosen in a very proactive way.  That way we can make decisions that incorporate what we think is important and what needs to be protected and preserved so that the unique and diverse aspects of our Square are not lost. 

Parsons Brinckerhoff's Union Square Traffic Study:

You can’t talk about Union Square without talking about traffic. It impacts our everyday lives and will impact future development. Parsons Brinckerhoff is a consulting group studying Union Square traffic and so far, there have been a couple of community meetings to engage community members in their findings.

There is an opportunity coming up to experience how some of the changes to Union Square traffic may unfold. A tactical event is planned for May 31st in Union Square where 2 teams will test and evaluate in a real world setting the changes proposed in the study.

To learn more about or participate in this very interesting exercise contact Hayes Morrison, Director of Transportation Planning hmorrison@somervillema.gov.

Lincoln Park Redesign:

This project is back on the docket and scheduled for a new series of meetings in the late summer. We all love and appreciate this grand open space and this gives us plenty of time to collect our voice so that Ward 2 residents are heard throughout the design process.

This park has always been so important to the fabric of Ward 2 so make sure you are part of the decision making process.  I’ll send out the dates and times of these meetings as soon as they are confirmed.

I want to know what you want to like about Lincoln Park and what you want to see improved.  Post your suggestions for the Lincoln Park Redesign project here.

Beacon Street Reconstruction Project:

The design for this project is 75% completed and will result in a vastly improved road surface, new lighting, better traffic and pedestrian signaling and crossing, over 200 new trees and much more.  A meeting to discuss the project and updates will take place on June 3rd at the John F. Kennedy school starting at 6:30pm.  All opinions and concerns voiced by community members at the meeting will be reviewed and considered so make sure you are there to have your voice heard.  You can follow this project on the city website.

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Greetings Everybody!

It’s been a long cold winter but we are finally feeling a little bit of spring.  With so much brewing in Ward 2 and throughout the city, I get the feeling it’s going to be a productive summer.  Many large projects are in the works in our neighborhood: planning Union Square’s future, redesigning Lincoln Park, the Green Line Extension, and Beacon Street reconstruction.  Ward 2 is central to Somerville's future.  It’s so important that you know about the issues affecting the future of this city and have a say in what that future looks like.  So stay active, participate, and let me know how I can best represent your interests.

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