From Councillor Craig Kelley and Committee Report #2
The Ordinance Committee’s report on the Mass & Main proposal is on Monday’s Council agenda. It’s been a challenging issue for a lot of people, some of whom are concerned about shadows and traffic and the sheer scale of the project and the impact that will have on the rest of Central Square while others really want to see the housing, especially the affordable housing, this project would bring and look forward to more people and vitality in the area during non-work hours. Many people are worried that if this project does not go through, lab and/or office space would be the result. Well over twice as tall, in parts, as what is allowed on the site now, the proposal would be, in places, 40% taller than what the C2 study envisioned and would rely on surface parking lots more than some people would like. On the other hand, supporters point to the high percentage of affordable housing, both low and moderate income, and argue that this high level of affordable housing in a market rate project is simply not going to happen in a smaller project and that the proposal far exceeds Cambridge’s current inclusionary zoning requirements for affordable housing. For these people, Cambridge’s tight housing market and even tighter affordable housing market make this project worth the extra size. Some people argue that the Council should wait until a Master Plan is finished (in something like three years) before considering a rezoning like this one while others (myself included), see the value of a Master Plan in being the ongoing conversation about the City’s future- what will our aging population require, how will our public student cohorts look, what does Urban Mobility look like in 10 years- rather than the end result. One of the first things I learned in the Marines is that no plan survives contact with reality and Cambridge’s Master Plan will be no different. I know it sounds trite, but it’s not a perfect world and whatever the Council and individual Councilors decide about Mass & Main is sure to upset some people and to please others.
Even the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee has weighed in on the proposal, voting (while the issue wasn’t on the Committee’s agenda, the chair apparently assumed there was some sort of ability to bring “emergency” items to the floor and to vote on them without advance notice) to ask me to oppose the rezoning.
Feel free to come speak about this issue Monday night if you wish, remembering we are meeting back at City Hall again. You can sign up by phone between 9 and 3 on Monday at 617-349-4280 or in person at CRLS between 5 and 6. Public comment sign up stops at 6, though the comment period itself may last longer. You may also email the entire Council at Council@Cambridgema.gov. But please, avoid the accusations of corruptions, or worse, that too many of the emails I’ve received contain. And I would caution people about reading too much into the Cambridge Residents Alliance’s Courthouse analogy either. The proposed allocation of affordable housing for the Courthouse project is only possible because the vast majority of the proposed project is commercial, allowing the small amount of housing to be disproportionally affordable. Using flawed arguments and offensive and sometimes even abusive language in these discussions makes having effective public dialogue very difficult and I think we’re seeing that play out within the Council itself. If we get in that habit, we’ll have a lot more trouble addressing the common challenges of our future. That is something all of us on the Council need to take to heart as well.
Thanks a lot.
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Committee Report #2
ORDINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
In City Council April 27, 2015
Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan, Co-Chair
Councillor Dennis Carlone, Co-Chair
Councillor Leland Cheung
Councillor Craig Kelley
Mayor David Maher
Councillor Nadeem Mazen
Councillor Marc McGovern
Councillor Denise Simmons
Councillor Timothy Toomey
The Ordinance Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 beginning at 4: 04 P.M. in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to continue discussions on the Normandy/Twining Zoning petition.
Vice Mayor Benzan stated that the meeting is being privately recorded. Vice Mayor Benzan stated that he is implementing a 3 minute rule for public comment. This is the second hearing on the refiled petition; third hearing on petition. The City Council will debate on this issue.
Present at the hearing were Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Committee, Councillor Leland Cheung, Councillor Craig Kelley, Mayor David P. Maher, Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Councillor Marc C. McGovern, Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.,
Iram Farooq, Acting Assistant City Manager for Community Development Department (CDD), Stuart Dash, Director, Community Planning, CDD, Jeff Roberts, Land Use and Zoning Project Planner, CDD and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Attorney Anthony Galluccio, Real Estate Attorney, Mark Roopenian, Principal, Normandy Real Estate Partners, Alex Twining, President, Twining Properties, David Nagahiro, Principal, CBT, Justin Haymer, 403 Massachusetts Avenue, Micelle Micallef, 195 Binney Street, Cathie Zusy, 202 Hamilton Street, Kathy Watkins, 80 Fawcett Street, Kasper Bejoian, 544 Huron Avenue, Richard Klibaner, 54 Western Avenue, Joseph Caparco, 411 Franklin Street, Michael Monestine, 20 Chestnut Street, Jesse Kanson-Benanav, 26 Willow Street, Olivia Fiske, 131 Magazine Street, Lawrence Lessig, Safra Center for Ethics, Jan Devereux, 255 Lakeview Avenue, Richard Goldberg, 170 Harvard Street, Steve Kaiser, 191 Hamilton Street, Davis Bas, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, Nancy Ryan, 4 Ashburton Place, Owen Kennett, 472 Massachusetts Avenue, David Chilinski, 221 Hampshire Street, Sarah Kennedy, 12 Inman Street, Hubert Murray, 204 Erie Street, Gerald Bergman, 82 Elm Street, Solmon Chowdhury, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Laurie A. Friedman, 33 Essex Street, Steve Harris, 4 Malcolm Road, Gindy Singh, 546 Massachusetts Avenue, Barbara Taggart, 2Cottage Court, Mike Stead, 598-602 Putnam Avenue, Lang Keyes, 92 Chilton Street, Esther Hanig, 136 Pine Street, Ben Roopenian, 3 Dana Street, Patrick Barrett, 234 Broadway, Mark Boyes-Watson, 100 Pacific Street, Carolyn Fuller, 12 Douglass Street, Bill McAvinney, 12 Douglass Street, Ellen Shachter, 846 Concord Avenue, Micha Schattner, 198 Lexington Avenue, Elie Yarden, 143 Pleasant Street, Lee Farris, 269 Norfolk Street, Matthew LaRue, 88 School Street, George Metzger, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, Heather Hoffman, 213 Hurley Street, Joseph Elder, 243 Broadway, Phyllis Bretholtz, 65 Antrim Street, Saundra Graham, Western Avenue, Larry Ward, 72 Broadway, Patrick Verbeke, 91 Sidney Street, Peggy Barnes Lenart, 115 Fayerweather Street, Charles Teague, 23 Edmunds Street, Amanda Tramont, 3 Dana Street, James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, Pebble Gifford, 15 Hilliard Street, Paul Denis, 156 Cherry Street, Marilee Meyer, 10 Dana Street, Kenneth E. Reeves, 340 Harvard Street, Walter McDonald, 172 Magazine Street and Carole Perrault, 9 Dana Street.
Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Carlone convened the hearing and explained the purpose.
Public Comment began at 4:06 PM.
Justin Hamer, 403 Mass. Avenue, owner of Cafe Luna and Café Sola, supported the petition. He stated that the development of affordable housing is a good idea. Cafe Luna has been owned for 10 years and the Mass + Main proposal is awesome. He submitted his communication (ATTACHMENT A).
Michelle Micaleff, 195 Binney Street, stated that she understands the value of being near the T. Kendall Square development freaks her out. She loved the culture of Central Square and is fearful that it will become Kendall Square. She is thinking of moving to Central Square. She noted Cambridge’s old manufacturing properties.
Cathie Zusy, 202 Hamilton Street, stated her support for the proposal. She stated that providing more affordable housing is a priority in Cambridge. She was concerned about the shadow caused from the development and hoped that the city and Normandy Twining could swap the parking lot. She submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT B).
Kathy Watkins, 80 Fawcett Street, lives in affordable housing. This proposal is not about affordable housing. This is a 2.5 more than what is allowed. This is creating a big wall. Central Square needs planning. The up zoning devalues the city owned parking lot on the city owned land. She suggested keeping the parking lot and building housing above it. Cambridge is giving the city away to developers.
Kasper Bejoian, 544 Huron Avenue, supported the project and that the petitioner has had so many open houses and need to be applauded for their efforts. This effort is unprecedented in the city. His family lives at 55 Essex St. The Quest building is dark and unfriendly. This proposal will enhance Central Square. This is a tremendous opportunity for Cambridge. No more office or labs are needed in the City. The family environment needs to be sustained with independent retailers. He urged passage of the petition.
Richard Klibaner, 54 Western Avenue, supported the petition for the low income housing, good example of mixed used development to replace ugly development and transit oriented development.
Joseph Caparco, 411 Franklin Street, expressed his concern for low income housing. He was happy with the 20% low income housing but is concerned about large buildings In Central Square and for the retailers. This building is in the wrong place. He wanted the planning to have choices for all, both low and high income. He does not want to see tall buildings in Central Square.
Michael Monestine, 20 Chestnut Street, stated that Central Square is a cultural district. He supported the proposal. He spoke on enhancement of Rhone Park and the diverse retail opportunity.
Jesse Kanson-Benanav, 26 Willow Street, A Better Cambridge, fully supported the Mass. + Main development. The proposal will provide a diverse community. There are 47 new units of affordable housing proposed in Central Square and this is impressive and the petition should be passed. In the last 10 years there has been a resurgent of urban living. He stated that the demand for high luxury housing will not go away. Developers will always be profit driven and public benefits for housing must be allowed. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT C).
Olivia Fiske, 131 Magazine Street, stated that the developers have presented a good building. It is tall and between two intersections. The city needs housing located near public transit, MIT and Kendall Square. The petitioner has increased the affordable housing units to 47. She submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT D).
Lawrence Lessig, Safra Center for Ethics, stated that at a February 20, 2015 City Council meeting a proposal was considered regarding the benefits for publicly funded elections and it was stated what this would solve. This proposal is a perfect example of what this would solve. Three years ago a C2 study began to represent all the interests of all of the citizens and residents of Cambridge. The study should be translated into zoning and implemented. Now the planning process has been changed to ad-hoc. He stated that 75% of the Mayors largest contributor came from employees of real estate companies doing business in Cambridge. He is not saying anything illegal or unethical was done but this shows the cynicism that people feel about government. This is a reasons for publicly funded elections. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT E).
Jan Devereux, 255 Lakeview Avenue, spoke about the planning process being broken. This project has never been about housing; it is about capitalizing the planning process. This is a bad example. She urged the City Council not to pass it but to do the master plan process.
Richard Goldberg, 170 Harvard Street, submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT F). He stated that all agreed with the need for building more inclusionary and affordable housing. The questions that the elect officials ask will lead to more units. Once the developer has the green light all negotiations stop. What is decided on this proposal will set the standard for Central Square. If this is the best that can be done for the community vote on project.
Steve Kaiser, 191 Hamilton Street, stated that you would never know that this is a public hearing on zoning. People want to talk about planning before zoning. All the issues are part of the planning process. He urged that this petition needs to be refiled and revamped by the Ordinance Committee. He urged a new version of the petition. This would be a healthy process. He wanted to see vehicle sharing added to the petition. He would like a plan to utilize the City’s parking lot. This would fill in the holes.
Councillor Kelley stated that this is an emotional issue. Clapping should stop for common courtesy and the City Council Rule 37.
Dave Bas, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, stated that he endorses the project. He spoke about the expeditiousness of this process. Influx of climate migrants will be seen due to water shortage.
Nancy Ryan, 4 Ashburton Place, stated that this project needs to be taken off the fast track. It needs to be kept in the Ordinance Committee. She wanted something between the city and the developer for underground parking.
Owen Kennett, 472 Massachusetts Avenue, an employee of The Middle East stated that this area needs more affordable housing. This was seen this winter because of the public transit issue. Cambridge is an awesome destination.
David Chilinski, 221 Hampshire Street, supported the petition. This is a zoning petition that will be voted up or down. The zoning as of right would create a commercial building which would allow 350 more employees. Using the site for housing is a better use. The location is near transit. Residents will benefit from the retail. He applauded the increase in the affordable housing units.
Sarah Kennedy, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, stated that the Chamber of Commerce supported the petition. It is opportunity to create 231 units of housing with 20 units of affordable housing. She urged passage.
Hubert Murray 204 Erie Street, supported the project with reservation. There is a public housing crisis. He thought that fixed income should be included. There is a need for a comprehensive master plan that includes all sectors. High rise buildings should occur near transit hubs. He stated that 20% housing is a good amount. He spoke about the environment and storm water overflow.
Gerry Bergman, 82 Elm Street, stated that he wanted the petition to stay in committee because the petition gets better. He wants more affordable units and more 3 bedroom units. He did not have a problem with the height of building. Surface parking elimination is not a good thing for this area. He stated that there is no planning done. Parcel by parcel development cannot be done. Work needs to be done on this so he favored keeping the petition in committee. This will not solve the affordable housing issue.
Solmon Chowdhury, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, stated that he is excited about project in Central Square. He supported the 20% affordable housing — it is generous offer. – make it happen. Cambridge is walkable and should have housing near transit.
Laurie A. Friedman, 33 Essex Street, stated that she was opposed to the building size recommended which is 40% higher than the C2 recommendation which have not been enacted and the city is in the middle of the master plan process. This building causes more problems than it solves. The motivation for the project is money for the developer. The benefits do not outweigh the harm the massive building will cause to Central Square. She submitted her communication (ATTACHMENT G).
Steve Harris, 4 Malcolm Road, opposed to the petition. No one is opposed to housing. He stated that the issue is the way the building is being ramrodded. It is a bad process.
Barbara Taggart, 2 Cottage Court, spoke about what works in buildings in Central Square. She stated it is the size of building and people walking to patronize retail. She stated that with a high-rise building the residents do not get to know each other and the Fire Department cannot get to 7th floor. The city has a responsibility to stand up for this neighborhood. The city needs to develop a master plan and come up with a livable city. We need to take back control of our city.
Mike Stead, 598-602 Putnam Avenue, supported the project because there is a need for affordable housing. He stated people cannot afford to live in Cambridge. He wanted to see more affordable housing. He spoke about the lack of 3 bedroom units. If the City Council works with the people the process can work.
Lang Keyes, 92 Chilton Street, stated that he came here to listen. He stated that the housing issues is being forced.5 He spoke about the issues of design, planning and zoning. This is creating spot zoning. The master plan has been dropped off the agenda. Keep looking at this in the context of the issues.
Esther Hanig, 136 Pine Street, supported the petition. This is to create a sustainable city and create retail, retain diversity. She stated that as a member of the C2 committee the issue was density and whether it was sufficient. This is not the way to create more affordable housing, but the city cannot supply the additional housing units. The 47 units of housing are needed. She submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT H).
Ben Roopenian, 3 Dana Street, supported the project and wanted to maintain diversity and provide the services. Build density where it can be sustained. Normandy Twining has proposed unprecedented amounts of affordable housing units. He urged passage. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT I).
Patrick Barrett, 234 Broadway, supported the petition. Central Square is a great area and where he will move his family to. He stated that 47 privately funded built housing units is significant. Cambridge is a real democracy. It is insulting to hear that elected officials are corrupt because they receive contributions. This project will be a catalyst for change in Central Square which is needed in Central Square. This will make Central Square a community and this cannot be overlooked. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT J).
Mark Boyes-Watson, 100 Pacific Street, stated that he was unhappy that he participated in C2 process and nothing has happened. C2 promised things. Delaying will make housing crisis worse. No housing does not imp affordable housing in Central Square or in the City. This will help to take the pressure off of the housing stock. He supports the project and move it forward as well as C2. There have been years of planning in Central Square he urged connecting the planning.
Carolyn Fuller, 12 Douglass Street, lives in the shadow of project and supported the project and the petition. She supported transit oriented housing and building more housing in the city so that workers can get to work without cars. She loves Central Square and watched it changed over the years and wanted it to remain vibrancy and diverse. She submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT K).
Bill McAvinney, 12 Douglass Street, supported the petition. He stated there is a problem now of people moving out of Central Square. Something will be built on this property. It will either be lab or housing. This will add 185 market units; 45 affordable housing units; 700 residents to Central Square. It will be tall and thin because we like it and if it is lab it will force long term residents out of Cambridge because lab workers will want to live where they work. He urged passage. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT L).
Ellen Shachter, 346 Concord Avenue, Cambridge/Somerville Legal Services, stated that there is a housing crisis. There are 11,000 applicants on the housing list with 3,000 Cambridge residents on this list and CHA has closed their list for 2 years. Inclusionary zoning is critical to bring units on line. Cambridge cannot turn away 47 units of affordable housing. The City Council needs to get the maximum units. Developers are asking for a lot and now the proposal is proposing a lot. It is critical not to turn this away. This should be passed. This is critical for each family in need.
Larry Ward, 72 Broadway, supported the petition. This is offering more affordable housing than what was being offered. You take the best plan and go forward. Cambridge is in a crisis for housing and it is a crisis if this is turned down. He spoke about who we want to live in our city. We are saying that we do not want diversity because we do not want height. He urged the City Council to pass the proposal without delay.
Saundra Graham, Western Avenue, stated that she has fought developers in her past, but this proposal is unique. Affordable housing has to be a priority. CHA or the City Council have not expanded affordable housing. Studies have been conducted and not acted upon. This is a good opportunity to support the proposal. There are no 3 bedroom units in the city and there is no room for families. This is not diversity. Too many people are on the waiting list for section 8 unit. She stated that a wall of high rises is not wanted in Central Square. She stated that tall buildings block the breeze from the Charles River and creates shadows. This is an opportunity to look at Central Square and put a plan together. She liked the Homes building and it has affordable housing.
Micha Schattner, 198 Lexington Avenue, stated that his problem is the process. He spoke about master plan and the C2 study and the height allowed with a special permit. The City Council should protect citizens and create order.
Eli Yarden, 143 pleasant Street, stated that the proposal rezoning increases FAR greatly at a key location in Central Square. He stated that this is a spot zoning question. He spoke of the increasing number of people living in poverty. He explained the Next System Project which signals needs for challenges facing US. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT M).
Lee Farris, 269 Norfolk Street, wanted the Ordinance Committee to consider the proposal longer. She was happy with affordable housing units. The need for affordable housing needs to be balanced with a good Central Square. She is not worried about a lab being built; this needs to be taken off the table. She wanted more affordable housing. She agrees there is an affordable housing crisis. She stated that according the MAPC 6,157 housing units should be built by 2020. She stated that the City Council has not heard from the Planning Board on this. We need to take time and get want we want.
Matt LaRue, 88 School Street, stated the project will have an impact, but the benefits outweigh the impacts. He supported the project and Central Square being built up around the transit node and maintain the character of the neighborhood – this project fulfills the vision. He wished that the parking requirements were lower.
Robin Lapidus, CSBA, stated that this is a rare opportunity to get consensus to do something good for Central Square. She spoke about what makes up a neighborhood. This proposal embodies the spirit of C2 including affordable housing, ground floor retail for small footprint, maintenance of Jill Rhone Park and design guidelines of Central Square. She urged the City Council to view the petition favorably. She submitted a communication from George Metzger (ATTACHMENT N).
Joseph Elder, 243 Broadway, stated it is important for affordable housing to allow people to move back to Cambridge who have been forced out of Cambridge. The proposal includes 3 bedroom units; he hopes there are 4 bedroom units. He is supported of the petition for social economic diversity continuation. He urged city to go forward.
Patrick Verbeke, 91 Sidney Street, supported the petition. The location is a good for high density. He urged the City Council to support the petition. He submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT O).
Peggy Barnes Lenart, 115 Fayerweather Street, spoke on the planning context. This location is good because of its proximity to transit. This requires looking at the infrastructure.
Charles Teague, 23 Edmonds Street, opposed the development only because we could do better. If it is done right the developer will get his money. His procedural opposition was that a citizen petition was premature because of C2 so we only have to wait until April 15th for the discussion on C2. We need a housing plan. The Redline is decades from expansion. He stated that transit orient planning is a lie.
Amanda Tremont, 3 Dana Street, supported the Mass + Main project. She spoke of the benefits of the project and submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT P).
James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, stated that Cambridge is giving developers 11 stories that will profit and double the FAR and create additional value. Public transportation is a catastrophe. He asked why 19 stories is needed. He commented that the architect of project contributed to the campaign of public officials and this information is available on the website of the Office of Political Finance.
Pebble Gifford, 15 Hilliard Street, stated that when this building is built and rented out and 47 families benefit what about the remainder of the 2950 families? This is a sell out for the remainder of families looking for affordable housing. Start looking at this issue before it is passed. This will have a domino effect. She questioned the whole process. Issue of Cambridgepark Drive and this was a building approved by the Planning Board. This was an enormous project with no planning. This is a failure of her government. No master plan process. What has happened to this process? The projects would be approved one by one.
Paul Denis, 156 Cherry Street, supported Mass + Main project to increase lab, office and commercial space in Central Square and Kendall Square. He stated project would address market rate housing and address affordable housing. It also addresses the issue of the lack of 3 bedroom housing. He would love to keep his family in Cambridge and could use 3 bedroom unit.
Marilee Meyer, 10 Dana Street, stated that this building has been given accolades. She hopes Cambridge has not sold its soul. An oversized building is a beacon and does not belong in Central Square. Several issues need to be teased out. This building is out of scale and wrong.
Kenneth Reeves, explained that the CSBA invited him to see Mass+ Main proposal. His reaction was this is a tower from Kendall Square that has wondered into Central Square. The tower proposed does not mirror Central Square. He wanted this reflected that Central Square is not Kendall Square. This does not introduce anything special and it will not solve affordable housing and the number of units is not much. What are residents of Cambridge getting for this proposal other than the affordable housing units? What are the community benefits – he cited Margaret Fuller House and Cambridge Community Center as site that could benefit from community benefits. He asked “what did I get for giving away millions of dollars of earnings?” He stated that the City Council needs to come up with a process to allot the community benefit money.
Walter McDonald, 172 Magazine Street, stated that he is opposed to giving away open space, but supported affordable housing. What is the hurry he asked? He suggested that the City Council not vote now. Why has the City Council not brought C2 before this proposal? He stated that other developers will want the same consideration given Twining. He urged the City Council to ask City Manager to have city provide its own affordable housing
Carole Perrault, 9 Dana Street, stated that the petition is problematic to the design of Central Square and its surrounding neighborhood. The character of the Central Square is not enhanced by this petition. The significant increase of height would lead to detrimental change along Massachusetts Avenue and be the death of Central Square. She opposed the petition.
Vice Mayor Benzan closed public comment at 6:37 PM.
At this time the petitioner made a presentation. (ATTACHMENT Q)
Councillor Carlone made a presentation entitled Mass + Main Petition Alternative (ATTACHMENT R). He stated that it is the responsibility of Ordinance Committee to find common ground for what works well. Councillor Carlone stated that New York has a proposal of 50% market rate and 50% affordable housing in new housing developments (ATTACHMENT S). Studies show that the 80/20 split over the long time will not work. Councillor Carlone stated that his alternative proposal is to have housing above grade and parking below grade. He proposed a C2 modified petition.
Attorney Galluccio responded about the alternative. He stated that the courthouse is an inappropriate analysis. The petitioner has models to show the scale of the petition and the alternative. He commented about the 50/50 split when compared to public versus privately owned land.
David Nagahiro, stated that 6.5 versus 5.2 are not the same. He suggested the comparison be 6.5 with the original and the alternative. He commented on the shadow impact on the city property. A broader tower has a broader shadow. He stated that the shadow impact of a higher tower produces a smaller shadow. The two towers in the alternative is the efficiencies of needing two of everything. He commented on this from a financing point of view.
Vice Mayor Benzan questioned the vulnerable study in Area 4 and discussed the differences of underground parking and water storage. Attorney Galluccio stated that the Mass. + Main team are meeting with the Department of Public Works on this issue.
Councillor Simmons thanked residents for discussing the proposal with her. Councillor Simmons thanked Councillor Carlone for his proposal. She stated that 3,000 Cambridge residents are on the CHA waiting list which will be frozen. She noted her priorities for the housing committee. How do we know that the housing for Mass + Main is environmentally sound? She wanted to ensure that the affordable and market rate units will be the same. Mr. Twining explained that the inclusionary housing mandates that the quality of the affordable and the market rate units are the same and must be evenly distributed and be the same. The building will have amenities. She asked if low and moderate tenants have access to amenities. Mr. Twining responded in the affirmative. Councillor Simmons wanted to see this in writing. Mr. Twining wanted to equally mix the tenants in the building. Attorney Galluccio stated that the units will be reflective of the inclusionary and the parking was capped so that the affordable tenants would not be priced out of the units.
Councillor Simmons asked about car sharing units and how distributed. Attorney Galluccio responded that the minimum requirement is being figured out for all units. Mr. Twining explained that this is a third party service. Councillor Simmons wanted local residents to get job preference and be provided benefits and asked if local businesses will be supported. Councillor Simmons spoke of Central Square in the l960-1970. She wanted a commitment for diversity for the ground floor retail. Attorney Galluccio stated that the zoning as drafted requires that 25% of retail space has to be local independent retail and banks were restricted. Mr. Twining stated that this was provided in Kendall Square. Local independent retailers were helped to start up in Kendall Square. Councillor Simmons stated that she is cautions and skeptical. Parking in Area 4 is an issue. She wanted to get as close to what is desirable for community. She was happy with the change in the orientation of the building to stop sunlight. She wanted a building that looks forward and reflects the history of Central Square. Councillor Simmons stated that there are still parcels not in play, what is the intention of petition. She stated that the city owned lot is a public bidding process that takes a long time. This is not the petitioners land and they have oriented the building to provide affordable housing. The options are either office or housing. Attorney Galluccio parking is across from St. Paul’s; a surface lot that has 51 spaces. Councillor Simmons wanted more housing, commitment on ground floor retail and parking to accommodate people who come to Central Square.
Councillor Simmons asked Councillor Carlone how he visualize green space. Councillor Carlone stated that there are garages in East Cambridge that flood; when it floods you get your car out of the garage. He commented on figuring out what are the recommendations for C2. He stated that without a strong design review process opportunities are lost. Councillor Carlone stated 5.2 fits the area better than 6.5.
Councillor McGovern stated that on the retail he wanted the rents subsidized for the retailers. He stated that lower income residents go to Dunkin Donuts because they cannot afford the local independent retailer. He spoke about the lack of ability to purchase clothing. He spoke parking and the lack of it for teachers. Are there other community wide things that petitioner is thinking about? Attorney Galluccio stated that there is no displacement of parking because tenant is leaving. He spoke about the petitioners being a good neighbor. He heard the message from the community that it is all about affordable and middle housing. He stated that they will continue to improve the petition. Mr. Twining stated that every building built is LEED certified. The building mixed use allows you to walk to work. Councillor McGovern asked Mr. Twining to provide information about the LEED standards and what will be used for this building.
Councillor McGovern asked Ms. Farooq if there are only certain places in Central Square where a building this size can occur. Ms. Farooq stated that most of the Massachusetts Avenue corridor is a historic district and it is difficult to tear down buildings that contribute to the historic district. There are 5 historic buildings and potential buildings which can be landmark. It will be difficult to get rid of historic structures in the corridor. Ownership along the corridor is fragmented. There are 2-4 opportunities along Massachusetts Avenue to transfer property rights. The significant lots are the city parking lots. Councillor McGovern stated that inclusionary zoning is a mechanism. He spoke of the importance of the 47 affordable housing units. The affordable housing is the most significant piece. The easier thing to build is office or lab. This is a real possibility that he does not want to see. He stated that the 3% middle income is important.
Councillor Mazen stated that he recognized the good work done by the petitioner. He would like to see 10% 3 bedroom units. He did not know where the affordability could be. He is concerned with the unexplored option of the city lots. It would be irresponsible of the City Council to not look at these opportunity. He questioned the cost to build one unit. The fee shown is the construction cost plus the loss of revenue. Councillor Mazen asked what the active financial life of the building is. Mr. Twining stated that the building will need to be maintained; new money will be put into building to maintain it. Councillor Mazen asked what the net loss is of a unit. There is no return on affordable or market units. A member of the Mass + Main team stated that the units cost $450,000 per unit without land cost. He stated that the subsidy cost equals rent for affordable unit, real estate taxes, maintaining building equals the cost of the rent earned. Attorney Galluccio added that the value needs to be calculated on what the City’s value is. Councillor Mazen stated that the figures do not show that you are making a pittance profit. Councillor Mazen no one commented on the alternative affordable housing suggested by Councillor Carlone. He stated that he is not sure the most is being sought for the community. He is not certain that the city lots are integrated He stated that it would be premature to refer this petition to the full City Council.
Vice Mayor Benzan noted e-mails received as follows:
George Thrush, Professor and Director, School of Architecture, 17 Tufts Street, supported the petition (ATTACHMENT T).
David Day, Dorchester, representing a business at 614 Massachusetts Avenue, supported the need for more residential buildings. (ATTACHMENT U).
Parker Brooks Heckner, 105 Norfolk Street, in support of the Normandy Partner/Twining Properties development proposal at Mass + Main. (ATTACHMENT V).
Charley Francis, 12 Inman Street, strongly supporting the Normandy/Twining proposal (ATTACHMENT W).
Mary Vanderwicken, 139 Pine Street, expressing absolute objection to the Twining/Normandy tower on Massachusetts Avenue (ATTACHMENT X).
Vivek Sikri, Allston Street, in opposition to changing the zoning for the Twining/Normandy petition (ATTACHMENT Y).
Jeff Byrnes, 7 Lawrence Street, in support of the Mass + Main proposal (ATTACHMENT Z).
Ann Fleck-Henderson, 113 Richdale Avenue, expressing concern for a more general development plan to guide new projects (ATTACHMENT AA).
Lyn Kardatzke, 20 Second Street, in support of the Normandy/Twining petition (ATTACHMENT BB).
Larry Rosenberg, 48 Antrim Street, suggested planning the whole development of Central Square with a focus on ensuring a good amount of affordable housing before any big decisions are made (ATTACHMENT CC).
John Hong, AIA, LEED AP, Principal SsD, 171 Brookline Street, in full support of the redevelopment of the former Quest site by the Twining/Normandy petition (ATTACHMENT DD).
Lawrence Bluestone, 18 Centre Street, in support of the Normandy/Twining petition (ATTACHMENT EE).
Jacquelyn Smith, 7 Ashburton Place, urging the City Council to not support the Normandy/Twining proposal (ATTACHMENT FF).
Catherine LeBlanc, 104 Magazine Street, in support of affordable housing but is concerned with building proposed for Central Square (ATTACHMENT GG).
Sheli Wortis, 106 Berkshire Street, in opposition to the scale of the proposed building and the amount of affordable housing is too small (ATTACHMENT HH).
Cindy Marsh expressing that the proposed building is a wall not a streetscape and not a conduit for connectivity (ATTACHMENT II).
Robin Finnegan, 31 Hubbard Avenue, in support of the Normandy/Twining petition (ATTACHMENT JJ).
Jeanne Koopman, 248 River Street, in opposition to the 19 story luxury high rise apartment building for Central Square (ATTACHMENT KK).
Kent Johnson, in opposition to the Normandy/Twining zoning petition (ATTACHMENT LL).
Gile Beye, 18 Harrington Road urging the City Council to deny the Normandy/Twining zoning petition (ATTACHMENT MM).
Richard C. Odom, in opposition to the rezoning petition filed by Normandy/Twining (ATTACHMENT NN).
Jack Boesen, 25 Suffolk Street, in opposition to the Twining/Normandy tower (ATTACHMENT OO).
Minga Claggett-Borne, in opposition to the Normandy/Twining tower so close to residential homes (ATTACHMENT PP).
Alex Papazian, 105 Norfolk Street, in support of the increased affordable units and the Normandy/Twining proposal (ATTACHMENT QQ).
Seth Zeren in support of the overall project vision and the zoning petition for the Mass + Main residential development in Central Square (ATTACHMENT RR).
Rachel Wyon, 283 Sidney Street, expressing the need for more affordable housing in the Normandy/Twining petition (ATTACHMENT SS).
Teresa Cardosi, in opposition to rezoning the entire block of Central Square proposed by the Normandy/Twining petition (ATTACHMENT TT).
Justin Crane, 220 Harvard Street, in support of the Normandy/Twining proposal (ATTACHMENT UU).
Charles J. Marquardt, 10 Rogers Street, expressing support for building more affordable housing and the Twining’s team support for local business and the need to produce more parking for the future (ATTACHMENT VV).
Sylvia Barnes, Harvey Street, in opposition to the Normandy proposal for Central Square (ATTACHMENT WW).
Salim E. Kabawat, M.D., 52 Shepard Street, in support of the Twining/Normandy petition (ATTACHMENT XX).
Peter DiMuro, Executive Director, The Dance Complex, in support of the Mass + Main project (ATTACHMENT YY).
Barbara E. Rodriguez, 140 Columbia Street, in support of the Mass + Main development in Central Square (ATTACHMENT ZZ).
Paul Chiusano, in support of the Normandy/Twining zoning petition (ATTACHMENT AAA).
Mark Young, owner of Viale Restaurant, in support of the Mass + Main construction project (ATTACHMENT BBB).
Jeff Keating, 3 Percy Place, in opposition to the size and scope of the Normandy/Twining project (ATTACHMENT CCC).
Christopher Sol Gully, Owner and Coach, Redline Fight Sports MMA, 614 Mass. Avenue, in favor of the Mass + Main project moving forward (ATTACHMENT DDD).
Judith Black endorsing the proposal from Normandy/Twining to develop mixed residential and commercial projects in Central Square (ATTACHMENT EEE).
Resident of 55 Essex Street in support of the Mass + Main proposal (ATTACHMENT FFF).
Bernard Hicks, Sr., 55 Essex Street, in support of the Mass + Main proposal (ATTACHMENT GGG).
Mark J. Yeskutis, 45 Linnaean Street, in support of the Mass + Main proposal (ATTACHMENT HHH).
Dennis M. Kenney, 45 Linnaean Street, in support of the Mass + Main proposal (ATTACHMENT III).
Ken McGaughey, 45 Linnaean Street, in support of the Mass + Main proposal B (ATTACHMENT JJJ).
Marina Colonas, 625 Putnam Avenue, in support of more affordable housing at the Normandy/Twining site (ATTACHMENT KKK).
Sam Seidel, in support of the Mass + Main zoning proposal (ATTACHMENT LLL)
Saul Tannenbaum, 16 Cottage Street, in support of the Normandy/Twining petition that will rezone a portion of Cen