ABC May Newsletter: The Green Line Extension Moves Forward, But Uncertainty Remains

The state announces plans to move forward on a pared down Green Line extension, though the fate of the project is still in flux. See below for more information on the project.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

The state approved a scaled back version of the Green Line extension. There are still significant hurdles for the project, but this is welcome news for a crucial investment for the future of the community.
Cambridge Chronicle

To help move the Green Line extension forward Somerville and Cambridge pledged a total of $75 million in local funds toward the project.
Cambridge Chronicle

There are signs that new housing coming on the market in the region is causing rent increases to slow, though the market still remains one of the most expensive in the country.
Boston Globe

The second survey for Envision Cambridge is now open. You can participate in the survey here:
Envision Cambridge

The 3rd Participatory Budgeting process kicks off this month. You can find information about volunteering and a timeline for the project here:
City of Cambridge Participatory Budgeting


UPCOMING EVENTS

City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity and the City of Cambridge are hosting an event titled, Cambridge: Who We Are and How We Got Here on Thursday, May 26th from 6:30-9 at Cambridge College, Room 152, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue. The presentation will examine the diversity of the City, including when and how different groups of residents came to Cambridge, how the City’s demographics have evolved over time, and some of the conditions that have fostered changes in the community.
Citizens Committee on Civic Unity

The City Council Housing Committee will hold the second of two sessions on the recently completed inclusionary zoning study on May 31st at 6 pm in the Sullivan Chamber at City Hall.

The annual Cambridge Arts River Festival will be held on June 4th from 11:00 to 6:00 on the East Cambridge waterfront.
City of Cambridge

The 9th annual Fresh Pond Day will take place on Saturday, June 11th from 11:00 – 3:00 at the Walter J. Sullivan Water Treatment Facility at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.
Fresh Pond Day


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the last U.S. Census, Cambridge's 2010 population was 105,162 people. By 2014, the Census estimated the population at 109,694 people. That is a growth of 4% over four years. At this rate of growth, Cambridge's population could reach 128,326 by the year 2030.

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ACTION ALERT: Oppose Riverside Downzoning at Tuesday's Planning Board Meeting

On Tuesday the Cambridge Planning Board will hear public comment on a proposed zoning amendment that would "downzone" a huge portion of the Riverside neighborhood with the express desire to limit the size of new structures that can be built in that neighborhood.

ABC strongly opposes the proposed downzoning of the Riverside neighborhood. We ask you to join us in opposition by speaking against the proposed downzoning at tomorrow's Planning Board meeting: 

Planning Board Meeting
Tuesday, May 24th
7:00 P.M.
334 Broadway, 2nd Floor
 
If you cannot attend the meeting, or to reinforce your message, please email statements of opposition to lpaden@cambridgema.gov who will forward your comments to Planning Board members.
Read more
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Will I See You at Tuesday's Meeting?

I just wanted to remind you about the upcoming ABC general meeting that Alec included in last month's newsletter. If you've supported ABC in the past but never made it out to a general meeting this is a great one to start. The meeting will be held Tuesday, May 17th, 7:00 P.M. at CCTV, 438 Mass Ave in Central Square.

On the agenda:

  • A discussion about the recently released Cambridge Inclusionary Housing Study with Chris Cotter, Housing Director of the Community Development Department
  • Information about Envision Cambridge from Melissa Peters, Project Planner with the Community Planning division.
  • The exciting new vision for the future of ABC!

All are invited! Please feel free to forward this email to those not already on the list. 

If you have a chance, please RSVP on the Facebook event we've setup for this meeting. 

I hope to see you on Tuesday.

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ABC April Newsletter: A New Inclusionary Housing Study for Cambridge

New proposals on a state and local level to increase affordable housing are on the table which will drive discussion over the coming months.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

A long awaited inclusionary housing study was completed with recommendations to raise the affordable housing requirement for new developments. This is just the first step in a long process over the coming months in deciding what the new policy will be.
Cambridge Chronicle
Boston Globe

A bill by state legislator Kevin Honan would require cities and towns to designate areas where multi-family housing is allowed as-of-right in addition to other policies to encourage the production of housing across the region. This would be an incredibly important policy change to help solve the regional housing crisis.
Commonwealth Magazine: Moment of Reckoning for Housing and State Economy
Vox.com: Honan Zoning Reform Bill

There are signs that new housing coming on the market in the region is causing rent increases to slow, though the market still remains one of the most expensive in the country.
Boston Globe

Cambridge earned the highest ranking in a survey of sustainability by STAR Communities.
Cambridge Chronicle


UPCOMING EVENTS

The next A Better Cambridge general meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 17th at 7 pm at CCTV at 438 Mass. Ave.

A public meeting on the Green Line Extension will be held on Wednesday, April 27th from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall. 400 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue.

Applications for the Cambridge PARK(ing) Day event to be held in September are due on May 1st.
CDD


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the Federal Housing Agency and CommonWealth magazine, Massachusetts home prices have increased sevenfold since 1980 -- more than any other state.

 

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ABC March Newlsetter: Multiple Opportunities for Involvement as Envision Cambridge Kicks Off

As winter comes to an end, Envision Cambridge, the citywide master plan initiative has started community meetings and there are numerous ways to get involved.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

You can sign up to get for the Envision Cambridge mailing list here. Additional information can be found on the CDD Website.
CDD

Next City recently published an article on the plan and process which included comments by ABC Chairman Jess Kanson-Benanav.
Next City

Boston building unions announced plans for a deal to lower costs for apartment buildings. This offer will also apply to Cambridge and Somerville.
Boston Globe



UPCOMING EVENTS

CDD is hosting three public workshops as part of the Envision Cambridge Initiative:

Thursday, March 24, 6:00 P. M. to 8:00 P. M., Kennedy Longfellow School Cafeteria, 158 Spring Street

Thursday, March 31, 6:00 P. M. to 8:00 P. M., Tobin School Cafeteria, 197 Vassal Lane

Saturday, April 2, 1:30 P, M. to 3:30 P. M., Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

According to a report from Zillow, Cambridge has the second highest rate of households aged at least 55 years that earn $350,000 or more in the country, 7.7%.

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ABC February Newsletter: New Proposals for Central Square and More Proof That Building Means More Affordability

Spring is in sight and ABC has been planning new work for 2016. We are considering initiatives and programs that will continue to inform citizens of the important challenges we face. In addition, with the master planning process now underway, watch this space for updates including ways you can get involved in the coming months. Stay tuned for more to come.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Cambridge resident Patrick Barrett announced plans to renovate and convert 907 Main Street into a boutique hotel. Barrett expressed a desire to incorporate a residential component into the renovation, but ultimately zoning made it too difficult.

This is a real world example of how outdated and restrictive zoning has lead to the housing crisis we face today. Regarding the current zoning, Barrett said, “There are sections of the ordinance that make residential builds infinitely more difficult than hotel or commercial in business districts. I could go for a variance for relief, but some of the neighborhood groups are ruthless and would ultimately land me in Superior Court. I cannot afford to spend two years fighting a case I'd likely lose,” Barrett said. – Cambridge Chronicle

Cambridge released an online brochure on affordable housing programs and services available in the city.
A Long Standing Commitment to Affordable Housing

The city has made its Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report available online. The report contains budgetary information and updates on city initiatives.
City of Cambridge


UPCOMING EVENTS

The Massachusetts presidential primary election is Tuesday, March 1st.
www.wheredoivotema.com


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the CDD the 2014 median market rate sales price of a single family home in Cambridge was $1,200,000, for a two family $937,000, and for a condominium $575,000.

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ABC January Newsletter: New Housing for Kendall Square and Master Plan Opportunities

The Cambridge City Council has kicked off its new term. With big initiatives such as the master plan and the Volpe Center the next two years will be an exciting time for the city.  

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

CDD is seeking volunteers to serve on three working groups for the master plan titled Envision Cambridge. Applications are due January 22nd.
CDD
Cambridge Chronicle

The City Council approved the MXD Zoning Petition which will add one million square feet of development in Kendall Square. This will include approximately 560 residential units of which 140 will be below-market rent.
Cambridge Chronicle
Boston Globe

The City Council approved a zoning petition initiated by Patrick Barrett that will make it easier for homeowners to create basement and accessory dwelling units.
Cambridge Chronicle

New data from Reis, Inc. reports that rents in Greater Boston rose 5.7% in 2015. The average rent for an apartment is now $2,009.
Boston Globe

 


UPCOMING EVENTS

The MBTA will be holding a public meeting regarding late-night service changes on Wednesday, January 20th at 6 pm at City Hall.
City of Cambridge


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

As reported by the 2010 Census, 65.4% of housing units in Cambridge are rented while 34.6% are owner occupied (including owner occupied condominiums). Approximately 14% of the entire housing stock is subsidized in some form.

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ABC December Newsletter: Participatory Budgeting and Green Line Troubles

As the year ends Cambridge announces the results of the most recent round of participatory budgeting while the state takes a hard look at the Green Line extension.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

The city announced the results on how to spend $600,000 as voted on by residents. Bike infrastructure and transit signal prioritization for the No. 1 bus were the main recipients of the funds.
Boston.com

The state has begun the process of reevaluating the Green Line extension including cancelling current contracts. It is likely that the project will be scaled down significantly or possibly even cancelled due to cost concerns.
Commonwealth Magazine
Boston Globe

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies issued its annual report on the rental market. The report outlines the significant challenge in the rental market including lack of supply and increasing costs.
Boston Globe

Boston announced plans to double the affordable housing payments for developers in some neighborhoods.
Boston Globe


UPCOMING EVENTS

The Cambridge Winter Farmers Market opens on Saturday, January 9th at the Cambridge Community Center.
Cambridge Winter Farmers Market

The Cambridge MLK Day of Service will take place on Monday, January 18th from 2-5 pm in Central Square.
Many Helping Hands


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

Western Avenue was named as America’s best new bike lane for 2015 by the group People for Bikes.

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ABC November Newsletter: An Important Housing Report and Election Results

The election is over and the holidays are approaching. ABC wishes you a happy Thanksgiving.

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Eight of the nine city councilors were reelected. Jan Devereux will replace Dennis Benzan in the next term. Full election results are available on Cambridge Civic Journal.
Cambridge Civic Journal

You can track proposed developments and provide feedback on projects using the coUrbanize website created by two MIT grads.
coUrbanize

The Boston Foundation released its annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card. According to the report, “We have failed to meet housing production targets because there is no way to do so given the high cost of producing housing for working and middle-income households. In part, this is because of the extreme barriers to new construction, especially in the form of severely restrictive zoning at the local level across much of Massachusetts.”
Boston Globe

A survey by the Urban Land Institute of Millennials in Greater Boston found that, "80 percent of young professionals ranked access to public transit as 'very important' when choosing a place to live. More respondents said public transit was 'very important' than things such as nightlife, shopping, crime/safety and being able to walk to amenities."
WBUR


UPCOMING EVENTS

The Cambridge Broadband Task Force will meet on Wednesday, November 18th from 6-8pm in the Ackerman Room at City Hall.

The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a petition filed by Patrick W. Barrett that seeks to simplify zoning around accessory units on Thursday, November 19th at 2 pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
Zoning Petition

Target will present at a meeting of the Central Square Advisory Committee on Thursday, November 19th at 5:30 pm at the Central Square Library


LINKS OF INTEREST

DID YOU KNOW?

 A recent study by niche.com and featured on forbes.com which rated cities on a variety of factors including job opportunities, diversity, and commute ranked Cambridge as the best city for Millennials in the country.

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Vote Tomorrow for Cambridge's Future

Tomorrow is election day in Cambridge. Don’t forget to vote!

 

Like you, ABC cares about the future of our great city. We believe that policies adopted by the next City Council will determine the course of our city for years to come. Over the past few months we’ve endeavored to present information, data, and opinion consistent with our understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of us in the coming years.

As part of that effort we conducted a survey and analysis of the many candidates for City Council, which we hope you will find useful as you make final decisions about which candidates to vote for tomorrow:

Whether you agree with us or not, we encourage everyone to exercise their constitutional right to vote! Polls are open tomorrow from 7am to 8pm. If you’re not sure where your polling places is, visit http://wheredoivotema.com to find out.

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