April 5, 2013
Cambridge City Council
c/o Office of the City Clerk
Cambridge, MA 02139
Re: MIT Petition to Rezone Kendall Square
Dear Members of the Council:
At the April 1 Council meeting, I spoke to you of the Central Square Business
Association’s support for MIT’s petition to rezone its Kendall Square property. The
following summarizes my remarks and the CSBA’s position:
1. The petition provides for a mix of housing, commercial, office, R&D and retail space
on underutilized parcels mostly within the precinct of MIT’s campus, an approach that
promotes efficient land use and minimizes institutional expansion.
2. The petition closely follows the conclusions of the Kendall Square Advisory
Committee by including significant public benefits in the form of housing, active and
accessible public space, ground floor retail use and improved streetscapes and
connections to the Broad Canal and Charles River.
3. The petitioner proposes significant collateral funding for affordable housing and
community development initiatives of general benefit to the City.
4. The petition, by its increased density in a transit- and pedestrian-oriented area, its infill
of underused parcels and its promise of a high level of energy efficiency, contributes in
an exemplary way to the City’s community-wide sustainability goals through reduced
carbon emissions and energy consumption.
5. Approval of this petition validates our shared commitment to broadly participatory
planning and acknowledges the tireless contributions of so many to envision a vibrant
and livable future for the Kendall Square area.
We understand that change is always controversial. We also understand that the demands
for technology space and housing, as well as the imperatives of smart growth and
sustainable community planning, will continue unabated if we do not meet these challenges
with creative and aggressive new policies to better shape the future of our city. To this
end, we are confident that the resulting building proposals, subject to ongoing public and
technical review, will have positive long term benefits for MIT’s urban campus, the
Kendall Square area, and the City of Cambridge. We strongly urge your support.
Very truly yours,
Central Square Business Association
George R. Metzger, President
The zoning proposal remaking Central Square with taller buildings, more people and a modified mix of public spaces and businesses could be presented “prior to the summer meeting” of the City Council, said Iram Farooq, a planner with the Cambridge Development Department.
That gives the start of a likely zoning battle – given tensions over recent zoning discussions in the square and resulting creations of two citizens groups – a roughly four-month window.
The council meets roughly every Monday through June and picks up its regular schedule on the second Monday in September. What is meant to be its sole summer meeting was held July 30 last year.
Three years in two hours
Farooq gave the estimate Wednesday at a roundtable held by the council’s Ordinance Committee to hear a plan presented by Goody Clancy, the consultant hired in April 2011. The plan was crafted by Goody Clancy with participation by the 21-member Central Square Advisory Committee and the Mayor’s Red Ribbon Commission on the Delights and Concerns of Central Square, which began its work August 2010.
“We’ve started to talk to the Planning Board about the zoning recommendations that have emerged here and will be working with them over the next few months,” Farooq said.
The suggestions that don’t include zoning – programming such as bringing in festivals, encouraging buskers and creating public art and interactive installations – are being worked on already in conversation with the city manager’s office, city arts council, departments of Public Works and Human Services, other departments and business organizations, she said, offering to come back to the council with reports if it was wanted.
Roundtables are intended to give councillors in-depth understanding of complex topics through frank discussion and dialogue with experts. Under council rules, they don’t take public comments or allow votes and are not televised by the city. The roundtable was filmed by The Tech and Cambridge Day and posted on YouTube by The Tech’s John Hawkinson:
It was kept to a tidy two hours, after a Kendall Square roundtable held Friday ran to more than three. Roughly three-quarters of the Wednesday roundtable was spent going through Goody Clancy’s report, “Central Square: Nurturing culture and community in Cambridge’s downtown.”
Among other things, the report urges more mixed-income housing that would be made possible by raising heights in some parts of the square to up to 160 feet from the current 80. Along Massachusetts Avenue, though, facade heights would by limited to up to 60 feet to avoid giving the avenue a canyonlike feel. Some of the new residential units could come by building atop what are now city parking lots, as well as a change to the rule that there must be one parking space for each housing unit built.
David Dixon, principal-in-charge for Goody Clancy’s planning and urban design practice, described a model used in other cities in which the consultants have worked: a half-space per unit so long as they are within walking distance of mass transit.
If a Central Square reimagined with new amenities and more retail is to succeed, there would have to be between 1,000 and 2,000 housing units built within the next five to 10 years, Dixon said, with “probably closer to 2,000 feeling right for many of the things the committee supported.”
“From Red Ribbon to C2 have come the real new idea [of] middle-class housing you can have today. Post-rent control, I didn’t think we could ever have it,” said councillor Ken Reeves, who launched and led the so-called K2C2 process for rebooting Kendall and Central squares. “But we have to spend a lot more time on the idea” and bring in the right experts and academics to make it happen.
Dixon confirmed that the new units would be ideally within a five-minute walk of Central Square. In Kendall Square, city planners looked to areas within a 15-minute walk for supporting new retail and amenities there, and a current Massachusetts Institute of Technology plan – the only proposal on the table there – includes only 300 units. “Five-minute walk, less [with] a 10-minute walk, very little beyond that is where you can really make a difference with housing,” Dixon said.
New housing could also be possible through “in-fill” of spaces along Massachusetts Avenue, Farooq said. In turn, Dixon said, the city’s parking lots could become public open spaces. He talked at some length about improving and expanding the look, feel and programming of the square’s open spaces, including Carl Barron Plaza, University Park Plaza and Jill Brown-Rhone Park.
Retail and services, meanwhile, could be expected to become smaller and begin creeping down side streets away from the avenue as a way to enliven them and serve as a link to nearby residential neighborhoods. A cap on fast food could be lifted and “market stalls” created to encourage more small eateries and merchants, while zoning against “formula retail” would discourage chain stores from coming to the area.
Written By Matthew Boyes-Watson
Central Squared officially launched last night with an amazing event hosted by Yoki on Mass. Ave. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout! We had over 70 people — all residents of Central Square — join us to eat some great food, meet cool people and talk about Central and their questions about our neighborhood. Central Squared was created by a group of people who love Central Square and want to get new voices involved in the conversation about its future.A big thanks to Danger!Awesome and Aerva for sponsoring the event. We want to give a special thanks to Justin Tong, owner of Yoki, who was so generous in providing the venue as well as an incredible complimentary spread of food.For more information about Central Squared, visit www.centralsquared.com or email us email@example.com.
Central Square Florist is super excited to announce that they have just partnered with MIT and their TechCASH program! If you aren’t familiar with TechCASH, it’s a program that allows MIT students, faculty, and staff to purchase items and services at not only MIT, but also around the Cambridge area!
Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday 12 noon, March 21, 2013
Location: CARU Associates
- 1. Welcome and introductions
- 2. Presentation for Lafayette Sq. T stop (Nabil)
- 3. C2 Vision/Development update
PB and Council review/action on C2 report
Forest City zoning/project status (Jay)
Expected development initiatives
- 4. Strategic Planning update (Patrick R.)
- 5. Executive Director report (Robin)
- 6. February meeting notes and VOTE
- 7. February financial report and VOTE
- • Next Bd. Mtg. Thursday, April 19, 8:30 AM, location TBD
- • May 18th – CS World’s Fair, Together Festival, and Open Studios Event
- • June 13th – Taste of Cambridge in University Park,
Present: Christina Abele, Patrick Barrett, Anya Bear, Josh XX, Hope Coolidge for Cathy Carr Kelly, Chris Durkin, Jay Kiely, Robin Lapidus, Kara XX for Jeff Lockwood, George Metzger, Mark Orent, Nabil Sater, Bill Scott, Gail Seidman, Absent: Carl Barron, Daniel Goldstein, David Levine, Norm McIver, Elaina Romano, Patrick Rowe, Ping Wong
Guests: Terry Smith, Chris Basler, Kevin Hoskins Kathy Watkins, DPW: Desiree XX, MBTA; Nancy XX and Emily Kou, Kleinfelder Location: CCTV
George called the meeting to order at 8:45 AM.
1. MBTA Presentation: Kathy and Desiree provided update on plans for upgrading the elevator headhouses. CS inbound headhouse is in first package of access upgrades resulting from agreement between T and Boston Center for Independent Living for 140 upgrades across the system. The CS inbound access is a higher priority than outbound. Project expected to start construction in late winter of 2014 and conclude in fall of 2015. New structures will be more transparent and secure than existing and provides for “straight through” that eliminates need to turn around in cab. Flat exterior wall design eliminates problematic sitting ledge of the existing structure. In put on signage to better identify Central Square is welcome as part of T’s current contract for general wayfinding improvements on the T. T is starting conversion to LED lighting for the lollypop T signs which will assure dependable and efficient lighting. Design is generally similar to completed elevator entrance at Brattle Square and Arlington St. With more glass on enclosure and elevator cab, importance of cleaning and maintenance to keep the glass clean was stressed.
2. Central Square Advisory Committee update. Council and Planning Board have both had meetings on C2 Recommendations. Council roundtable discussion on CS is being scheduled for March; robin will send notification. Importance of having CSBA speak up at all meetings to send a clear message that we care about the success of the process and will bring support to all meetings. George reported on informational forum at Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Association. A Better Cambridge residents group has been effective in countering the Cambridge Residents Association. There has been a fair amount of misinformation about the consequences of the C2 recommendations. It was noted that the passionate discussions and debates are generally good for the Square. Agreed that CSBA should develop and make public a position statement on C2.
3. Forest City petition. After approval by the planning board and an initial vote by the council the zoning change is expected to be approved at the next council meeting. The zoning change and the project design review have been conflated a the same process, when in fact once the zoning change is approved, the 350 Mass Ave buildingCSBA Board Meeting Notes February 21, 2013 Page 2
proposal will be subject to public review and approval under the large project review provisions, at which time the details of traffic mitigation and specific design and mitigation measures will be presented and debated.
4. Downzoning. No new down-zoning petition has been proposed. C2 opponents have labeled the recommendations an up-zoning. It was noted that CS has been down- zoned several times in the past three decades and that focusing on smart zoning or right-zoning is a more constructive approach than arguing debating up- v. down- zoning, which have such subjective connotations.
5. Strategic Planning. January 9 at IDEO was summarized with hand0out. Subsequent working group meetings are open to all, and plan is to have draft of strategic plan for review at March board meeting. Plan will have short and long term priorities.
6. ED Report: Robin summarized her written report, noting the CSBA annual meeting and Gala in at Moksa on March 19.
7. Nominating report. Nominations for 2013 board members were approved unanimously and will b e presented for a vote at the annual meeting on March 19.
8. December board meeting notes. Accepted (PB;GS) 9. December Year End and January financial reports. Accepted after discussion
noting loss for 2013 and need to set and hold to surplus budget for 2014. (PB;GS) Meeting adjourned at 10:15 AM Next Meeting: 3/21 at CARU Associates
On Saturday, April 13th, the first day of the Cambridge Science Festival, the MIT Museum will also open its newest exhibition, Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things. Originating in Germany, this traveling exhibition was developed by the Vitra Design Museum in cooperation with Hi-Cone, and includes cases of objects, patent drawings, movies and advertising posters. Showcasing the importance of design in engineering, this array of 36 classic objects embodies ideals of modernism that are both relevant and popular among students and young people.
The objects and their stories will highlight the importance of items that were designed with efficiency and economy. Most of the objects have remained essentially unchanged for decades – items like clothespins, paperclips, tin cans, and even the multi-pack ring carrier have stood the test of time for their durability and their utility – and their stories delight. Eponymous items like Band-Aids and Scotch tape are in most homes, and like other objects in the exhibition such as light bulbs and teabags, they are not what visitors typically expect to see behind a case in a museum. Presented here, in the context of each object’s creation and development, is the underlying story of the marriage of education, industry and invention.
Visitors will have the opportunity to learn the history of objects that just might have shaped history – like the fact that the tin can was invented after Napoleon Bonaparte started a competition to find ways to carry basic food supplies for his armies. “This exhibition is an opportunity to have fun learning about the history of commonplace things that most of us usually take for granted,” says MIT Museum director, John Durant.
The Museum will also be following the back-story of this exhibition. Twenty-two cases are being shipped from Germany and the Museum will be posting progress about their movement on the Museum’s Facebook page to explain some of the challenges of an international traveling exhibition.
Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things will be on view in the Thomas Peterson ’57 Gallery at the MIT Museum from April 13 until August 31, 2013.
The MIT Museum’s mission is to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.
Celebrate CCTV’s 25th Anniversary
|This year Cambridge Community Television turns 25. Something that was just an idea in 1988 has grown into a thriving media center that is recognized as the best of its kind in the country. YOU represent the countless individuals, organizations and local businesses that utilize our services and state-of-the art facility every year – learning new skills, sharing your voice and participating actively in our community.
We have quite a year planned for our 25th Anniversary, and hope that you will celebrate with us. There will be something for everyone, from production and BeLive marathons to free memberships and a half-day workshop on citizen journalism. Mark your calendar for all of the events listed below.
Cambridge Savings Bank
Takes the Lead!
|Cambridge Savings Bank has been a dedicated and generous sponsor of CCTV since 1988! This year, Cambridge Savings Bank will serve as Lead Sponsor of CCTV’s 25th Anniversary! CCTV is very grateful to CSB, and together, we will host an exciting year of celebration.|
|CCTV’s 25th Anniversary Calendar
| Mark your calendar for a year of celebration, retrospection and just plain FUN stuff to do (dates subject to change!)!
CCTV’s Annual Meeting, April 24 at 6PM: Members and guests are invited to reflect on the past year, vote for new members of the Board of Directors, and appreciate the contributions of the interns, volunteers, teachers and others. Everyone will also receive a limited edition 25th Anniversary t-shirt!
25-hour Production Marathon, April 27-28: Test your production chops as you and your team receive an assignment and complete a production in 25 hours! Bring along a friend or two. Everyone is invited to the screening on Sunday, April 28 at 6PM!
25 Days of Free Membership, May 1-May 25: If you have been waiting for a deal, now is the time! Free Access Membership for Cambridge residents (a $55 value)! Bring a friend and you each get an extra 6 months!
(NEA artist Karen Finley during CCTV’s 5th Anniversary celebration)
Sharing Our Stories: The Citizen as Journalist, May 4, 9:30-2PM at the Cambridge Public Library Main Branch: Learn more about citizen journalism as a social justice issue, hear about the legal issues faced by citizen journalists, and post your own news story using the tools available to all of us. EVERYONE is welcome to this celebration of the 5th anniversary of NeighborMedia. Co-sponsored by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society/Digital Media Law Project, MIT’s Center for Civic Media/Comparative Media Studies, and the Cambridge Public Library.
Youth Media Program Screenings, June 4 & August 8, 6PM: Come and see the work of our talented teens at the end of the School Year Production Program and the Summer Media Institute.
25 Years in 25 Weeks, various times on Channel 8 beginning July 1: Stay tuned to programming from the archives, you will be amazed at what we have!
25 Years of CCTV- A Retrospective in the Karen Aqua Gallery, September 15-October 27: A visual history of CCTV, from 1988 to today!
CCTV’s Back Lot BBQ, September 25, 5:30PM: Our popular annual event returns with a new twist. Join us in CCTV’s back lot for food from Cambridge’s finest chefs, great music and good friends!
25 Hour BeLive Marathon, October 4-5: Yes, non-stop BeLives – sign up for your own slot and end the year’s celebrations with our best-loved programming.
(The first BeLive in 1993)
|Policy Order Resolution|
By Alan Brody
It’s the close of World War II – the dawn of the atomic age. The Allies have captured Germany’s top ten nuclear scientists and sequestered them at Farm Hall- a lavish estate in England – keeping them under surveillance to learn what they know about the American nuclear program and to gauge how close the Nazis were to making an atomic bomb. Nine of these men, including Nobel Prize winners Otto Hahn and Werner Heisenberg, are known as Hitler’s “Uranium Club.” Based on actual transcripts of secretly recorded conversations, playwright Alan Brody illuminates the ethical complexity of pursuing scientific discovery at the risk of wreaking catastrophic consequences.
“The Nora Theatre Company is honored to be presenting the World Premiere of our friend, Alan Brody’s Operation Epsilon which enjoyed a staged reading presented by Catalyst Collaborative@MIT, here in 2008. The complex ethical questions about innovation in the pursuit of science but at the expense of our humanity are questions which are as relevant today as when the German scientists were secretly recorded at the end of World War II.”
Mary C. Huntington, Artistic Director, The Nora Theatre Company
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139