Cambridge InsideOut - April 19, 2016

Topics du jour:

Inclusionary Housing Study

Massachusetts House Bill H.1107 - An Act to expedite multifamily housing construction

Massachusetts Senate Bill S.122 - An Act promoting the planning and development of sustainable communities

Envision Cambridge

Discussion of the workshops and what comes next

Two extremes - high income and publicly subsidized (nothing in the middle)
Role of small landlords who now provide moderate income rentals
Regional increase in housing supply needed to bring market forces back into play
Problem of housing being purchased by LLCs (often with foreign investment) as an alternative during a period when stock markets and other vehicles are more risky that real estate
Shold everyone have to apply to the City or a City-associated agency in order to obtain housing? That is NOT a solution.

Much of Cambridge traffic is pass-through traffic - independent of whether or not there is local development. Indeed, new local housing development may actually decrease this traffic.


Social cohesion, civic engagement


Economics and economic development

Climate-related issues

Urban form

Cambridge Science Festival

Science Festival After Dark: Repo Man (Thurs, Apr 21, 10:00pm - 11:30pm)
Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge Arguably, the mad scientist in Alex Cox’s anarchic sci-fi classic is really a radiation-sick, lobotomized whistle-blower but Fox Harris’ performance is so sweaty and awesomely weird that we just had to include it in the series. (1984) dir Alex Cox w/Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter, Olivia Barash, Sy Richardson, Fox Harris [92 min; 35mm] * This event is part of the Cambridge Science Festival After Dark: Weird Science! Film Series with the Brattle Theater.

MIT Open House (Sat, Apr 23, 10:00am - 3:00pm)
MIT Campus, 77 Massachusetts Ave
Activity Map

Up the Inclusionary - Hot Topics on the April 11, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Here are the relatively few agenda items that seem interesting this week:

City Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending the reappointment of Conrad Crawford to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.

City Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending appointment of Naomie Stephen to the Cambridge Housing Authority.

These are the only two City Boards for which City Council approval is required for appointments by the City Manager. Under recently amended protocols, these will each have a City Council committee hearing prior to coming back to the City Council for a vote.

City Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study.

This is by far the most significant agenda item. Any change to Inclusionary Zoning would be a zoning amendment, so this matter will now have to be referred to the Ordinance Committee and Planning Board for further deliberation. The study and the Manager's recommendation call for a substantial increase in the inclusionary requirement. If I read it correctly, the current 15% requirement (which ends up being under 12% of the new units created after the density bonus is added in) would go up to somewhere between 17% and 20% after the density bonus is added. Some activists will, no doubt, want an even higher percentage, but there are at least some indications that the sky is no longer the limit in terms of housing prices and rents. There may be some logic in exercising at least a little caution in increasing the mandatory requirements.

Resolution #4. Resolution on the death of Dorothy Steele.   Councillor Toomey

If you didn't see the recent Eric Moskowitz article on Dorothy Steele on the front page of the Boston Globe (Apr 5, 2016), you really should. It was one of the most beautifully written tributes I've ever read in a newspaper.

Order #2. That all future Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee meetings related to the selection of a new City Manager be televised.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

The actual level of interest in this process among the general public is not nearly as great as the sponsors of the Order seem to think. Interest will definitely pick as we get nearer to an actual vote, but for now it's just the usual suspects.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to write a letter to the Department of Public Health indicating the City of Cambridge's non-opposition for Sage Cannabis Inc., application to operate a RMD in the Business B-2 (MMD-3 Zoning) District within the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.   Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor McGovern

I can certainly understand why the City Council might support a zoning change to allow Sage Cannabis to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a location not previously permitted under zoning, but does the City Council really have to also write them a letter of recommendation? Surely the zoning change should be sufficient. - Robert Winters