ABC March 2021 News: Missing Middle Housing hearings, “The Affordable City”, & more

(Sent March 24, 2021.) Please join us in supporting the ABC/Sunrise Missing Middle Housing zoning petition before the Planning Board on Tuesday, March 30 and the Ordinance Committee on Thursday, April 8. For details on how to submit comments, please see the full public comment guide, but importantly, emails must be sent in advance - for the Planning Board to receive a written statement, it must be emailed by 5:00 pm on March 29.

For the Planning Board hearing, we are particularly interested in getting comments from supportive experts in climate change, architecture, social justice and planning practices. If you know someone that may be willing to give expert testimony, please reach out to them!

For more details--including specific development examples and possibilities--please see the petition narrative slides that we'll be presenting at these hearings. (Plus, check out this great Chronicle op-ed by ABC's Will MacArthur and Becca Schofield!) 

Two upcoming events...

  • ABC board member Kathleen Onufer is hosting a Boston Society of Architects lunchtime seminar, Policy for the Architect Advocate: Missing Middle Housing, on March 26 at 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm. ABC's Bill Boehm will be one of the panelists along with George Proakis of Somerville's Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development and Nhat Ho of Civilitude, Austin Texas. BSA's website has more info on this free event. Please share with others, particularly architects!

  • You’re invited to an ABC Reading Group discussion of The Affordable City: Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There) on April 15 at 8:00 pm. Written by urban planner Shane Phillips, the book focuses on three housing priorities: supply, stability and subsidy. You can sign up here but (as always) don’t have to have read the book to join and enjoy the discussion.

In other news…

  • A fourth rezoning proposal for the Cambridge Highlands area near Alewife, which would have included lab and office space, 490 apartments (98 affordable), retail space and a pedestrian bridge connection to North Cambridge was rejected in a 1-7-1 vote of the Council last week. ABC did not take a position on the proposal. Some of the opposing Councilors are gambling that Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, owner of 16 of the 26 acres in the Alewife Quadrangle Northwest Overlay District, will return with another proposal that includes more community benefits, although CC&F has disavowed such intentions. Alternatives actions for CC&F would include a smaller plan for labs and offices only (requiring a special permit but no zoning change), or selling the land to a new owner.
  • The City Council is initiating a search for our next City Manager, as current CM Louis DePasquale is now on his final 18-month contract. The Council will consider and compile a list of criteria for the position and begin a search for candidates  after the November election.