Letter to the Editor (1) – June 12

On June 12, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

One of my favorite parts of living in Somerville- particularly Union Square is its diversity. So many different types of people live here, and that means so many different types of food, businesses, art and cultures in this community. People at all stages of life, and income, call Union Square home – families, students, recent graduates, older adults and young couples all have a place. I am concerned that with the Green Line Extension coming to our neighborhood in 2017, it will become so expensive to live here that the people who make this place so fun and diverse will be pushed out.

As someone who works full-time in a nonprofit, I am concerned that I will no longer be able to afford my own rent, let along buy a house in this community that I love. This is why I am so supportive of projects like the one that SCC is proposing for the vacant Boys & Girls Club building on Washington St. Not only will it extend the action of Union Square all the way to its eastern gateway, it will provide opportunities for middle-income people who currently live in Somerville to stay in Somerville. I am talking teachers, city employees, construction and child care works, and nurses, because many of the apartments created will be for moderate income households (think $60k for family of 4). I hope that the Planning Board approves this project on the 20th so that Union Square become an even more attractive place where everyone can afford to live, work and play.

Thank you,

Hillary Borcherding


3 Responses to “Letter to the Editor (1) – June 12”

  1. Sam says:

    One of the most difficult things about being opposed to the 181 Washington Street project is that there appears to be no room in the conversation for reasonable people like myself who would like to support SCC but oppose the currently planned development as simply too big for the property and for the neighborhood.

    When reasonable people who actually live in this neighborhood offer reasonable objections to the development because of the scale, traffic, parking, lack of open space or even the look of the building … SCC supporters tar and feather us as suggesting that we’re right-wing tea-party members who hate poor people. (This is not necessarily my sentiment but something I’ve heard from others and seen in print on other Somerville news postings).

    The truth is that nothing could be further from being accurate. Honestly, I’m not sure there are any tea party members or even republicans who live in Somerville (and note that there is nothing wrong with being a republican or tea party member even if I don’t personally subscribe to those political leanings.)

    I’d just like to point out that SCC employees and SCC residents have vigorously and vocally promoted zoning change over a decade or more that our neighborhood was uniformly opposed to (even some non-employee supporters of SCC were opposed to it). Now that the zoning has passed (without the support of the neighborhood) SCC is the first developer who wants to have permission to break ground and build buildings as high and as dense as allowed by the new zoning. And these proposed projects are designed without any regard to the impact to existing residents who have saved every penny they’ve ever earned to invest in property in Somerville and pay taxes. The uniform argument is that there is a greater good (suggesting of course that collateral damage is OK and that current tax paying residents’ wishes don’t matter).

    So as a capital “D” Democrat who is socially progressive and would like to support portions of what SCC claims to do in the name of “community” of which my family and I are members…… my family and I do not see this project -as currently proposed- as being of uniform benefit to the City, the neighborhood or the immediate neighbors. As such, I urge all reasonable like minded individuals and families to attend the meeting on June 20th at 6pm and have their voices heard.

    This project is too big and as proposed is not consistent with the look and feel of our neighborhood, and it does not accomplish any of the objectives of Somervision (except for adding density).

    I urge the planning board to reject the current proposal in favor of something that is at least 20% smaller and provides reasonable on-site parking for residents and the proposed businesses. Any revision to the proposal should also adequately respect the historic neighborhood in it’s look, feel and function with more open space and on-site provisions and amenities for the proposed new residents who deserve a nice place to live independent of their income level or profession.

    Thank you.

  2. Joe says:

    Follow the money.

  3. Scooby Doo says:

    Well said, Sam.

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