ABC February 2021 News: Member meeting, new affordable housing developments, and more

(Sent Feb 22, 2021.) At tomorrow’s ABC Member Meeting (Tuesday at 6:00pm), we’ll be laying out plans for the City Council election in November. Come and contribute ideas for the ABC Platform and discuss how we can support strongly pro-housing voices on the Council. If you are not a member but wish to attend, you can become a member here and send us an email to get the invite.

Zoning Reform 

  • Our joint Missing Middle Housing campaign, with Sunrise Boston, kicked off a month ago and is gaining steam! With your help, we gathered 150 physical signatures, submitted a petition, launched a website, gathered 350 digital signatures, held an info session, and spoke at a City Council meeting. Last week, the City Council held a related hearing on the general concept of ending exclusionary zoning; it was live-tweeted here. Our zoning amendments will soon be taken up by the Planning Board and the Ordinance Committee.  
  • Do you know an organization that might be interested in writing a letter of support for the MMH petition? Are you in a community that might be interested in meeting with us, inviting us to present about the proposal, or have feedback about the current MMH proposal that could make it stronger? Please be in touch! The more community voices we have, the better.

Affordable Housing - Development Pipeline

Two proposed affordable housing developments using the zoning provisions of the AHO (passed last year) will debut in the coming weeks. Advocates are expecting resistance from the neighborhoods around density, traffic, parking and similar issues. ABC members plan to attend these upcoming meetings to show community support.

  • Just-A-Start is planning over 100 units of affordable family housing at 52 New Street next to Danehy Park. JAS will preview its plan at a community meeting (Zoom RSVP required) on Thursday, February 25, at 6:00 pm.

  • The Cambridge Housing Authority will use the AHO to add at least 100 new units to the existing 175 homes at the Federally-funded portion of Jefferson Park off Rindge Ave (the state-funded part of Jefferson Park was rebuilt in 2018). Preliminary plans will be presented on Tuesday, March 2 at 6:00 pm via Zoom.

  • The BZA hearing on affordable housing at 2072 Mass Ave will very likely be postponed to late April or early May. In the meantime, please sign the neighborhood petition in support of the project.

On the Environmental Front

  • The green roofs zoning petition put forward by Mothers Out Front has won support from the Ordinance Committee but foundered on details at a recent Planning Board hearing. Its future is uncertain.
  • The goals of the new Mass Renews organization encompass clean air and water, secure housing and food, and liveable wages. This coalition of housing, environmental and labor organizations is organizing a grassroots push for progressive policies in the state.