City Councillor Craig A. Kelley
We received this notice from our friend City Councillor Craig A. Kelley about a Feb. 22 City Hall hearing about proposed changes to the business and residential zoning for North Massachusetts Avenue:
The future of retail in North Cambridge , specifically along North Mass Ave , has been the subject of a lot of conversation in the past several months. You can access the various documents on North Mass Ave planning at http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cdd/cp/zng/nmass/index.html and about North Cambridge in general at http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cdd/cp/neigh/11/area11.html. With its desire to have more housing, the City and the City Council have created zoning incentives for North Mass Ave that prod developers into providing more housing and less retail and, at least partially as a result of that incentive, we’ve seen retail on the Avenue decrease and be replaced by various condo complexes. At the various North Mass Ave meetings the City recently held (univerally attended by what I thought was an astoundingly large number of people), the overwhelmingly expressed opinion was that ground floor retail of a local nature is important to people in this community. To help protect and promote that retail, a number of people have been working to rewrite the zoning to, at the least, get rid of this “de-incentivization” of retail and to possibly require existing retail to be maintained as buildings are redeveloped. A common fear is that once we lose retail spots to residential units, we won’t ever get that retail back again and that, at a certain point, there simply won’t be enough retail on North Mass Ave to be sustainable.
Councillor Cheung (Lcheung@Cambridgema.gov) will be having a meeting to talk about North Cambridge retail this Tuesday at 5:30 PM at City Hall. It would be great if folks could show up, but if that isn’t possible it would be almost as great if you could email Councillor Cheung and let him know your thoughts. Rezonings can be very tricky things to get passed (at the least, you need six out of nine votes and if it is contested you may need seven Councillors to vote “yes”), so having Councillors know that you care about this issue is important.
The meeting info is as follows:
5:30 PM Tuesday, February 22, 2011
795 Massachusetts Ave