Printer Friendly Banner
City Council Office
 Committee Report

Committee Report #6

ORDINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

In City Council March 18, 2013

Councillor David P. Maher, Chair  
Councillor Leland Cheung  
Mayor Henrietta Davis  
Councillor Marjorie C. Decker  
Councillor Craig A. Kelley  
Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves  
Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons  
Councillor Timothy J. Toomey  
Councillor Minka vanBeuzekom  

The Ordinance Committee held a public meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2013 beginning at 4:44 P.M. in the Sullivan Chamber.

The purpose of the meeting was to continue discussions on the petition by MIT to create a new Section 13.80 Planned Unit Development 5 (PUD-5) District; specifically to discuss uses, Incentive Zoning, Community Fund, Housing and Sustainability.  A presentation will be made by the Executive Director of the Historical Commission on the historic buildings.

Present at the meeting was Councillor David Maher, Chair of the Committee,

Mayor Henrietta Davis, Councillor Leland Cheung, Councillor Craig Kelley, Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves, Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.,

Councillor Minka vanBeuzekom, Robert W. Healy, City Manager, Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager for Community Development (CDD), Stuart Dash, Director of Community Planning, CDD, Roger Boothe, Director of Urban Design, CDD, Iram Farooq, Zoning and Land Use Project Planner, CDD, Christopher Cotter, Director of Housing, CDD, Cassie Arnaud, Housing Planner, CDD, Susanne Rasmussen, Director of Environment and Transportation Planning, CDD, Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Cambridge Historical Commission and Interim City Clerk Donna P. Lopez. 

Also present were Steve Marsh, Managing Director of Real Estate for MIT, Israel Ruiz, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, MIT, Martin Schmidt, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Associate Provost, Michael Own, Director of Real Estate, MIT, Paul Parravano and Sarah Gallop, Co-Directors of Government and Community Relations, MIT, Christine Marcus, 350 Third Street, Sal Lupoli, 150 Tremont Street, Jesse Kanson-Benanav, 26 Willow Street, Tom Stohlman, 19 Channing Street, Stephen Kaiser, 191 Hamilton Street, Lara Gordon, 289 Washington Street, Tim Rowe, 64 Gorham Street, Chris Kasdorf, Intepid Labs, 222 Third Street, Eileen Rudden, 32 Arlington Street, Reed Sturtevant, 6 Dexter Road, Lexington, MA, Nancy Ryan, 4 Ashbuton Place, Phyllis Retholtz, 65 Antrim Street, Marilyn Wellons, 651 Green Street, Elie Yarden, 143 Pleasant Street, Mike Connolly, 20 Harding Street, Brian Spatocco, 70 Pacific Street, Mark Jaquith, 213 Hurley Street, Julian Cassa, 109 Windsor Street, Gary Dmytryk, 2440 Mass. Avenue, Heather Hoffman, 213 Hurley Street, Cathy Hoffman, 67 Pleasant Street, Emily Fletcher, 127 Thorndike Street, Patrick Magee, 877 Cambridge Street, Fred Salvucci, 6 Leicester Street, Brighton, MA, Richard Goldberg, 170 Harvard Street, Brian Burke, Microsoft, Carol Bellew, Charlie Marquardt, 10 Rogers Street, James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, Richard Krushnic, 20 Oak Street, Barbara Broussard, Charlie Teague, 23 Edmonds Street, Lee Farris, 269 Norfolk Street, Rudy Belliardi, Wellington-Harrington, Terry Smith, Director of Government Affairs, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, 859 Mass. Avenue, Lauretta Siggers, representing the Red Cross, Bob Winters, 366 Broadway, Anthony Galluccio and John Hawkinson, Staff Reporter, The Tech.

Councillor Maher convened the meeting and explained the purpose.  He announced that the meeting is being recorded and televised.  This is a continuation of the discussion on the MIT petition.  The last meeting was on the building form, height, FAR and open space.  He asked Assistant City Manager for Community Development to give an update on the recommendation of the Planning Board.  The recommendations of the Planning is not officially before the City Council, but will be forwarded to the City Council at the City Council meeting held on March 18, 2013.

Mr. Murphy spoke on the Planning Board's favorable recommendation (ATTACHMENT A).   The Planning Board in its recommendation provided background on the MIT proposal and the K2C2 Planning Study.  All parties involved shared the same broad principles and vision for the area.  The K2 recommendations provided a set of overarching goals and divided Kendall Square into different sectors with specific zoning strategies for each sector.  The Planning Board noted that MIT is prepared to move forward with its zoning proposal for its section, but that other property owners have not formulated their plans yet.   It is efficient to focus on the MIT sector first.  The Planning Board, MIT and Kendall Square design guidelines have refined the proposal.  The MIT petition, as it has evolved, is in accordance with the K2 recommendations.  The MIT proposal has received support from the East Cambridge Planning Team.  The Planning Board urged favorable adoption of the petition by the City Council.

Councillor Maher invited MIT to give their presentation (ATTACHMENT B).

Steve Marsh stated that much effort was made to make the MIT petition integrated with the K2 recommendations.  The Planning Board wanted this to be a joint petition and integrate the design guidelines being developed by Community Development.  This is the third hearing on the petition. Tonight's meeting will focus on housing, active spaces innovation space, retail, sustainability and the community fund.  He spoke about the time line and the evolution of the petition.  He gave an overview of the petition.  The petition includes doubling of the housing commitment, innovation space in Kendall Square, provides for LEED gold standards, includes sustainability and a community fund of $10.00 per square foot for commercial development, provides and enhances active retail spaces and provides incentive zoning payments of $4.3 million payable to the Affordable Housing Trust to support housing.  This proposal is about development of 7 used parking lots.  One Broadway is the proposed housing site; 3 sites are reserved for future academic and 3designated for science, commercial, office and lab space.  This is the right balance for mixed use embedded in K2.  He spoke on the housing component.

HOUSING:  significant housing was added to the current proposal.  The City Council requested that there be a trigger that a specified amount of housing is built before the completion of commercial development.  The petition required that 240,000 square feet of housing must be commenced before more than 600,000 square feet of commercial development is permitted.  This exceeds the K2 study.  At Innovation Landing at One Broadway MIT may build 290,000 square feet of housing on this site.  Housing is allowed as of right across the PUD 5.  Housing is further incentivized by exempting housing from FAR calculations.  This has been added to search for future housing opportunities elsewhere on MIT properties on the request of the Planning Board.  Housing on east campus was displayed where 1300 residents reside.  Exciting and proposed housing will build a livable community.  There have been built 2500 units of housing in Kendall Square and East Cambridge over the last ten years.  Today in Cambridge there are 3500 housing units in the pipeline.  Housing helps drive retail and build community and street life.  The block at Broadway and Third Street is a transition into the East Cambridge community.  One Broadway defines MIT's proposal.  It combines housing into an innovation community with retail possibilities and critical open space connections to the Broad Canal and Charles River.  The proposal includes affordable, moderate and various unit size housing.  At Innovation Landing there can be up to 4800 square feet of affordable housing equaling 50-60 units of affordable moderate housing.  Micro-units will also be included.  MIT will contribute $4.4 million to the affordable housing trust.  MIT was asked to look at graduate housing. 

Mr. Ruiz spoke about the graduate student housing study currently being examined by MIT.  He submitted a communication about the concerns raised by the MIT community (ATTACHMENT C).  There are 39% of graduate students housed by MIT.  In a 2011 survey 80% students were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with housing.  MIT acknowledges that it is critical to retain graduate students.  MIT is committed to addressing the needs of this important group of students.  A faculty task force was established and completed its recommendation.  A recommendation was made for MIT to study the housing needs.  The current housing needs will be reviewed by MIT.  It is a complex matter that includes review of federal funding with sequestration now in effect.  Professor Clay will serve as chair on the graduate student housing working group.  The group will contain faculty from the 5 MIT schools and three graduate students.  The group will evaluate the student graduate housing needs, identify the strengths and weaknesses and recommend ways to better serve the graduates student housing needs. 

ACTIVE USES:  Mr. Marsh stated that the open space requirement was increased in this petition.  Active street space is critical to the new development.  There will be 75% of the new gross floor area space dedicated to active uses along primary pathways.  Active uses include retail, institutional uses open to the public, open air retail and other uses set by the Planning Board.  Active spaces draw people in; space programmers have been utilized to help plan these spaces.  Retail can be wrapped around Third Street side of One Broadway, Canal Way and Main Street.  Time has been spent looking at the east campus gateway on Main Street.  The gateway will be studied more.  He spoke of the concepts with and without the MIT Press building.  There are many ways to treat the historical buildings.  The base zoning does not require a decision at this time.

RETAIL:  Mr. Marsh stated that the MIT's proposal includes 65,000 square feet of new retail.  The community has asked for open air artisan markets, restaurants, pharmacy and a grocery store as well as retail that provide fresh produce, prescriptions and practical and trendy products.  

Jesse Baer Kahn, City Retail, spoke about the proposed 65,000 square feet of retail and over 100,000 square feet of retail in the total within the development area.  The additional 35,000 square feet is seen by repurposing or re-tenanting retail.  This relates to 20 or more new store fronts in key areas.  There has been 90,000 square feet of retail, representing 23 new shops, opened in Kendall Square in the last three years.  This excludes all retail prior to 2009, excludes space that is for lease or under lease and not yet occupied and includes other areas such as One Kendall.  This 100,000 square feet is needed in this area in the two targeted areas of south of Main Street and from Third Street down to Broad Canal.  Critical infill is to fill the build form with the proper retail spaces.  Kendall Square lacks affordable food items and amenity items.  More activity is needed on the weekends.  There is nowhere in Kendall Square to purchase milk or personal care items or local produce and this will be eliminated with this petition?  The need for better, more diverse and plentiful retail is documented.  It is getting easier to lease space as density is added.  As office and housing is added there is more interest from retail operators.  The demand has brought in more diverse retail.  The catalyst for this starts with restaurants and cafes.  The right type of retail is needed to fill the space.  The general plan is to create diversity of offerings and affordability of products is by creating a more densely populated mixed use district in Kendall Square.  This petition creates this.  This is an important project for the region, the square and the city.

INNOVATION SPACE:  Mr. Marsh discussed innovation space.  The zoning requires dedicated innovation space of 5% of all new commercial gross floor constructed in the district.  The defined 5% innovation characteristics in the petition includes short term leases, average suites, small spaces, limits on space for single entities, shared space and defined users.  One Broadway has technology, venture capital, the Innovation Center and Innovation Landing with retail.  Innovation space can take place throughout the district.  MIT would like to see that innovation space is not confined to only this one area.

SUSTAINABILITY:  Mr. Marsh stated that all new commercial/residential building developments are required to meet LEED gold criteria, to provide a statement of energy design intent and to incorporate best practices.  The City has requested that academic buildings meet higher energy standards.  The zoning requires that MIT take an integrated design approach practices across the district by using bike, transportation management, energy efficient design and water management.  MIT is committed to evaluating the feasibility of district steam in new developments, incorporating cool roofs and in tracking and reporting on energy use of new buildings in the PUD.

COMMUNITY FUND:  Mr. Marsh stated that MIT is contributing to the Affordable Housing Trust but the community fund is dedicated to public benefits.  MIT included $10.00 per square foot for new GFA in their zoning proposal.  The East Cambridge community took particular interest in funding community open space over the whole area, not just on MIT property.  City Council has requested open space.  It is MIT's intention that the petition includes open space credits with governance that includes the city and local representation.  The petition also includes credits so that the investment can be made directly by MIT.  The petition also designates funds to workforce development and transportation improvements to Kendall Square and the adjacent areas.

Councillor Maher asked what the pleasure of the City Council is.

Councillor Maher asked Mr. Sullivan to give his presentation on the historical buildings (ATTACHMENT D).

Mr. Sullivan gave background on the historical significance of the buildings, Kendall Square Building located at 238 Main Street, J. L. Hammett Building (also known as Rebecca's) located at 264 Main Street and MIT Press Building located at 292 Main Street.  The Historical Commission was involved in this for two years when MIT submitted its first proposal.  He explained the importance of Kendall Square was that Kendall Square was the place where in the past people worked in manufacturing and heavy industrial jobs.  This disappeared in 1965 with the creation of the urban renewal area.  Urban Renewal was needed in Kendall Square.  The MIT Press building, Rebecca's and the Kendall Square buildings are an ensemble of buildings that the Historical Commission is interested in because they are the only grouping of historical buildings left in Kendall Square.  The Kendall Square building was designed as a landmark with its clock tower and was built in 1917.   The Hammett building was built in 1915 next to the Kendall Square building.  Hammett was a well known manufacturer of school supplies.  The company operated in Kendall Square until the l970's.  It is a classic milk construction building.  It has been adapted for use as a restaurant and has the potential for many other uses.  The MIT Press building was originally built by the Suffolk Engraving Company in l920.  This was the site of new information technology at the time that fed magazine, newspapers and books.   The Historical Commission felt that these buildings were not only individually significant but also formed an ensemble of urban design.  Cambridge is a leader in adapted reuse of buildings.  Things can happen without destroying the character of the building.  He spoke of examples were this has happened.  The Historical Commission is studying the buildings and they are protected as if they were landmarked.  The Historical Commission is in sync with the zoning proposal.  There are valid concerns for historic preservation; the zoning is neutral regarding disposition of these buildings.  The Historic Commission commends the zoning proposal to the City Council.

Councillor vanBeuzekom asked how this proposal will be submitted.  Mr. Sullivan stated that it will be submitted as an ensemble, but wants to see how the zoning process plays out and in crafting out a designation proposal the commission wants to anticipate the use of future developments.  The scope of the designation is not determined at this time.  Vice Mayor Simmons stated that she has valid concerns with the buildings and is waiting to see the outcome of the zoning.  She asked what the Historical Commission's position on this is; is the position of the Historical Commission that the buildings not be changed.  Mr. Sullivan stated that the strategy is to continue to participate in the design strategies for Kendall Square and as the proposal takes place.  The Historical Commission wants to see how the greater Kendall Square plays out and the use of the buildings and whether they need to be protective.  Vice Mayor Simmons stated that the Historical Commission wants the façade to stay true to the historical character.  Mr. Sullivan responded in the affirmative.

Councillor Reeves spoke about Kendall Square being a nationally recognized innovation center and the front door to MIT.  He asked Mr. Ruiz about the proposed two tall buildings at the gateway, how one finds MIT and how will this fit into the MIT campus.  Mr. Ruiz stated that worked has been done internally with the task force, the School of Architecture and Planning in developing the gateway.  A group will be chaired by the dean of the school of architecture, with the task force and the faculty to focus on the objective around the historical buildings, place making, the gateway and the entrance to MIT.  Councillor Reeves commented that if the two buildings have signs on them the MIT identity could be lost.  Mr. Ruiz stated that MIT is engaged in a creative process to best identify the gateway to the MIT campus with a vibrant retail space on the ground floor and the innovation and lab space linked to the MIT campus.  An area will be created to get the sense you are in the MIT campus.  The street level will identify the MIT campus.  He stated that a technology display will indicate that one is in the MIT campus.  Councillor Reeves stated that there is more than one view of the historic importance of the historic buildings.  The first building was stripped of much of its historic significance long ago.  He is not sure that the three buildings need to be kept.  In Central Square the historic facades have all been peeled away and he believes this is the same for Kendall Square.  He is unsure that the historical nexus is there.  The Historical Commission is delaying decision until June to determine historical designation.  Vice Mayor Simmons stated that she wanted to make sure that voting on one part of this petition did not tie the hands on the historical significance of the buildings.   Vice Mayor Simmons stated her concern about the diversity of the retail for the area.   She wanted economic diversity to be part of the retail. 

Councillor Cheung spoke about the incubation space.  At last meeting he asked about increasing the innovation space to 10% and what it would look like.  He did not have an answer to the increase in the innovation space.  He wanted MIT to set a better precedent.  Mr. Marsh stated that considerable time was spent on the innovation space.  The 5% is put into the petition, but this is not the only mechanism for innovation space in the area.  Innovation lab space is being looked into; it is an experiment.  He spoke about emerging companies and the space needed for businesses that are expanding.  He did not want to stifle innovation by being too prescriptive.  The 5% could change as this evolves.  Councillor Cheung stated that the innovation space is going to Boston because Cambridge does not have enough innovation space.  Councillor Cheung stated that he is pleased with the on-going housing study, but was hoping to see more in the planning process.  He has been told by provost that MIT is not interested in building graduate student housing.  He asked want is the timeline for the task force on housing?  Mr. Ruiz stated that MIT needs to understand the housing needs of the students.  MIT wants to know what it needs to do for the student housing and to understand the demand for on campus living.  It may be the repurposing of housing, or that there is an imbalance with single and married students or to build housing elsewhere.  Is it housing or an affordability issue need to be determined?  It is in the best interest for MIT to have the best graduate students come to MIT.  By July this study is proposed to be complete.  Faculty assistance is provided for housing.  Councillor Cheung requested, through the Ordinance Committee Chair, that a member of the MIT housing task force come to the City Council to be heard.  Marty Schmidt, Associate Provost, stated that with the zoning petition capacity is being preserved for housing and there is capacity on other parts of the campus.  The 2010 academic needs study does not include housing.  This is being taken seriously by MIT and is addressing the housing needs.  If more campus housing is needed MIT has the capacity and intent to do this.  Councillor Cheung stated that he does not want that instead of building housing that the subsidy for student housing be increased.  Councillor Cheung stated that with the head house moving has anyone spoken to the T to see if this is feasible.  Mr. Marsh stated that MIT has discussed this with the T and the T has been receptive.

Councillor Kelley stated he values the historical building.  He is disappointed that there is nothing new in the proposal about parking.  He has yet to see a real definition of micro-housing. 

Vice Mayor Simmons asked what the Chair is planning to do about the questions raised by the City Council; when will the questions be answered.

Councillor Maher asked Mr. Marsh about the micro-housing issue.  Mr. Marsh stated that micro-housing units typically contain between 350-490 square feet.  MIT is trying to fit it into the innovation space and create common areas.  South Boston has micro-housing.  Councillor Maher stated that there was a site in South Boston recently showing micro-units.  The City Council may want to go look at these units.  Councillor Maher stated that he may ask MIT to arrange for a tour of micro-units in South Boston.  Councillor Maher asked where on campus you would look to expand or put graduate housing.  Mr. Marsh responded that there are options in this PUD and elsewhere.  Councillor Reeves, as Chair of the University Relations Committee, announced that the next tour of the universities will be a tour to MIT.  Vice Mayor Simmons asked who is micro-housing being built for.  Mr. Marsh stated that it is for people at the beginning of their career or at the end and are downsizing.  It is new and evolving and it belongs in Kendall Square at Innovation Landing on Broadway.  Vice Mayor Simmons asked if the 60 micro-units are for non students.  Mr. Marsh stated that it would be market based housing for people interested in being in the Kendall Square area.  Councillor Cheung stated that the more important issue for the micro-units is the cost; not the size.  Councillor Reeves stated that micro-units are small and as expensive as market rate units.  He stated that more information is needed from the Housing Division of CDD.  Councillor Cheung stated that he had asked for the ratio of commercial to housing developments.  He stated that the City Council should review transferrable housing.

Mayor Davis applauded more housing.  Micro-housing should be flexible and be set up to modularize so that if one can afford two units it can be done.

Councillor vanBeuzekom asked what the timeline on this petition is.  Councillor Maher suggested that the petition be referred to the City Council, without recommendation, but keep the subject matter in committee.  The petition expires on April 24, 2013 and there are three City Council meetings, March 11th, March 25th and April 15th, that are cancelled.  He stated that he will schedule additional Ordinance Committee meetings on the petition.  He asked MIT to have individual meeting with the City Councillors on March 14th and 15th in order to visit the site and ask questions.  Staff from CDD would also be available.  There will be at least one additional meeting in March.  This would allow the City Council to entertain the petition.  If the petition is not forwarded to the City Council the timeline cannot be met.  Councillor Kelley stated that he would prefer to have a special meeting of the City Council rather than push the petition forward.  Councillor Maher stated that this is just the procedural process because of the cancelled meetings.

Councillor Reeves suggested a working study session facilitated with CDD staff because the City Council is making a judgment on the evolution of Kendall Square.  He stated that the City Council cannot make a judgment when the information was received this evening.  The City Council could use a working session without public comment.  Vice Mayor Simmons agreed.

Mayor Davis made the following motion:

ORDERED:    That the matter of the MIT zoning petition be referred to the full City Council, but the subject matter remain in committee.  

Before a vote was taken on the motion made by Mayor Davis, a discussion ensued about scheduling a roundtable/working meeting of the Ordinance Committee and whether the roundtable/working meeting would be televised.

On the motion moved by Mayor Davis the roll was called and resulted as follows:

YEAS:  Councillors Cheung, Maher, Reeves and Toomey and Mayor Davis - 5

NAYS: Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Simmons and Councillor van Beuzekom -3                                                                              

ABSENT:  Councillor Decker       - 1

and the motion to refer

Carried (ATTACHMENT E - ROLL CALL).

Councillor Toomey expressed his concerns about access to the Grand Junction path and collaboration between MIT and the Kennedy, Fletcher and Longfellow Schools.  He wanted to see more partnership with the schools.

At 6:20 PM Councillor Maher opened the meeting to public comment.

Christine Marcus, 350 Third Street, spoke about her company founded in Kendall Square.  Eight jobs have been created in Kendall Square.  She supported local business.  Why is it only that innovation happens in Kendall Square?  The innovation and entrepreneurial system in Kendall Square is second to none and supports collaboration and ideas.  It increases small business to move to Kendall Square in small retail space.  MIT proposal will increase retail space. 

Sal Lupoli, 150 Tremont Street, stated that he is MIT alum.  He wanted to move his business to Kendall Square, but there is no space for his company in Kendall Square that is affordable.  He employs 800 workers and hires locally in communities where his businesses are located.  He favored moving the project forward.

Jesse Kanson-Benanav, 20 Willow Street, Chairman of A Better Cambridge, stated that MIT petition is productive contribution to socially, economically and responsible development in the city.  The petition promotes a more sustainable growth towards a more diverse, livable and sustainable Cambridge.   He is pleased that the plan increases the affordable and moderate housing.  He spoke about the revenue stream.  Community fund provides funds to neighborhood most affected by development.  The most critical component is the workforce development.  Community funding will be directed to workforce development, open space and transportation.  This petition allows Kendall Square to be an area to work, live and play.  He supported the MIT petition because of the benefits to the community.

Tom Stohlman, 19 Channing Street, stated that he wanted to see a new mixed use petition succeed.  He still has concerns with the zoning.  The institutional use of the property south of Main Street is a part of Kendall Square's success and is reflected in the underlying zoning.  He spoke about the cost and benefits of eliminating this emphasis.  He worries that commercial development will overwhelm the academic and institutional foundation of Kendall Square.  He requested that institutional use provisions be considered such as graduate student housing and innovation space.   He favored more innovation, less corporation.  He is concerned with the open space; it is listed as publicly beneficial open space. 

Steve Kaiser, 191 Hamilton Street, spoke about housing and loopholes.  Loopholes still exists with Forest City.  MIT has announced up to 365 housing units, including affordable and if Forest City invests in and sponsors 25 affordable units of housing at MIT Kendall and pays $15 million to MIT and becomes an investor in Kendall this takes care of Forest City's commitment for housing.  If MIT takes the $15 million and invests in 300 Mass. Avenue (Forest City site) MIT includes the 25 units to show that they have complied with their commitment for affordable housing provision in the incentive zoning at Kendall.  The $15 million is going in both directions and instead of 50 units of affordable housing we are only getting 25 because of this loophole that still exists.   He stated that there are other loopholes in the Forest City and MIT proposal.  The issue is time.  He praised Councillor Maher for his work with the process.  He stated that no one on the City Council, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority or Community Development Department has mentioned Article VII in an open hearing.  He suggested holding a special Ordinance Committee meeting to discuss how to plug the loophole in Forest City and the Article 7 issue which deals with both Forest City and MIT.  He stated that Anthony Galluccio, for MIT, James Rafferty for Forest City, City Solicitor Nancy Glowa and Jeffrey Mullan, Chief Counsel for the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority should be at the meeting.

Lara Gordon, 289 Washington Street, stated that she is a realtor.  She submitted a communication in support of the MIT petition (ATTACHMENT F).  She stated that prices are going up and supply is going down and the demand is great.  She loves Area 4 and she thinks it is the most economic vibrant community.  Kendall Square is now improved and she is excited with MIT plans; it is adding local retail and business and outdoor space.  Banks opening in Central Square is not exciting to her. Kendall Square already has density and volume and brings life, revenue and business to Cambridge.  She stated that Cambridge has low property taxes.  Somerville is trying to bring industry in and is trying to imitate Kendall Square. 

Tim Rowe, CIC, 64 Gorham Street, stated that the plan before you has taken 2 years to put together.  There are 100 people in Cambridge who work together to get things done.  Kendall Square is different than Somerville.  Cambridge has something different - there is an energy here that is nowhere else.  This proposal allows this unique area to thrive and realize its potential.  The public process has lead to a good balance.  If innovation were left out he would support this petition because this is the right proposal for Kendall Square.  Development should be done in the center of the innovation world.

Chris Kasdorf, Fifth Street, stated that he started a company called Intepid Labs, a co-working company in Kendall Square.  He now has 100 people using the space. There are no offices only conference rooms.  The innovation is incredible.  It is important to have this space.  You want to have students stay in Kendall Square.  He supported the 5% innovation space.  It is vitally important to have this in Kendall Square.  He stated that if there were a downturn in the economy it will be the innovators who will stay in the area.

Eileen Rudden, 32 Arlington Street, a member of high tech community, stated that she is an entrepreneur.   There is a thriving Ed tech community.  Technology is being built to support students and teachers.  The cost of rental space in Kendall Square is unaffordable.  She supported the innovation requirement.  She spoke in favor of the 5% innovation space.  Small, less expensive space is needed for those who want to be in Kendall Square. 

Reed Sturtevant, 6 Dexter Road, Lexington, manages Techstar, stated that he worked in Kendall Square for 35 years.  Business diversity must be kept in Kendall Square. .  Innovation, flexibility and location and sharing common areas are important aspects for this area.

Nancy Ryan. 4 Ashburton Place, stated that the graduate student housing question was not answered.   The pressures on Area Four are incredible for real estate inflation.  Graduate students want to live near MIT.  She is disturbed that the task force was established to study the graduate student housing problem when these commercial buildings are being proposed without addressing this problem.  It is disturbing that the petition expires on April 24th and will be voted on by the City Council, but the report from the task force will not come until July.  She stated that she wanted to hear more about workforce development because this is important to Area 4 residents who want to have meaningful work.  There is no content to the workforce and transportation issue.  About the gateway issue changing the head house to identify MIT; this is the eastern gateway to Cambridge. 

Phyllis Breholtz, 65 Antrim Street, stated that her concern is the schools and the quality of life in Cambridge.  She spoke about children enrolled in the schools and she gave statistics.  There is a loss of 1876 student since 1998.  If housing is planned for people at the beginning of their career, the units will be small and cannot accommodate families.  She wants affordable housing for families who can raise families.  The average ages of speakers tonight are not for whom these units are being built.  If these units are being built for high tech people how are they contributing to the life of the City?  She asked retail use for whom?  There are no stores that are meeting the needs of those who live here.

Marilyn Wellons, 651 Green Street, spoke on quality of life in Cambridge.  The City sees itself as a green community, committed to sustainability and a vibrant place to live.  She spoke about the re-industrialization of Kendall Square.  The policy of the City officials is to increase the tax base to the extent that it is politically feasible.  Neighborhoods have felt the blunt of development.  She spoke about demographic changes with the decline of the schools and the end of rent control.  The model does not show the penthouse because the roof top mechanicals are exempt from height and FAR requirements. She spoke about noise pollution and the fact that it is a health hazard that people have no control over their exposure.  The Cambridge Noise Ordinance is inadequate.  Sound travels from Kendall Square to Washington Elms and Area Four from the roof top mechanicals.   Cumulative ambient noise is ignored.    

Elie Yarden, 143 Pleasant Street, stated that you can start out with innovation without it being defined.  He does not understand the real estate jargon on innovation space.  MIT inside represents innovation and innovators.  Innovation space for the design of gadgets for the market is another issue.  He read the 3 reports on the triple a bond rating.  Where are we going to get the balance to make Cambridge a city?  The eco system in which we live is not bounded.  The heat load of this urban area affects the North Pole.  There is no reason for Cambridge to grow bigger; it needs to stay where it is to stay the best. 

Mike Connelly, 20 Harding Street, Secretary of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods, stated that he was disappointed with the vote to refer the proposal to the City Council.  He spoke in opposition to the MIT proposal because he does see why MIT is taking its campus resources to develop them for commercial use.  It is wrong to build two corporate towers on the MIT campus. Why are we allowing MIT to develop its campus property to bring lab space here? He asked that the process be slowed down.

Brian Spatocco, 70 Pacific Street, President of the Graduate Student Body, spoke about the collaboration.  On February 6 there was an institute-wide forum on the Kendall Square project held at MIT.   There were 220 in attendance consisting of graduate, undergraduate and post doctorate students, faculty and administration.  He listed the pros and cons from the student body.  Pros:  creates an innovation center next to MIT, improves eastern portion of the campus and creates a gateway and helps MIT's finances and helps the endowment grow.  The Cons:  limit MIT opportunity to expand, on campus corporate offices may interfere with the atmosphere; the students do not want a university park next to campus and lastly it will impact housing market. 

Mark Jaquith, 213 Hurley Street, stated that Dave Dixon, facilitator of the K2C2 study spoke on housing units in the thousands.  He stated there is room for growth with the housing units offered by MIT.  A 300 foot housing tower at One Broadway is a place where there is a nice amenity of the boardwalk at the Board Canal.  He stated that the land south of Main Street is the best place to put height and density.  He did a rough draft of the shadow study of the effect on the boardwalk and boat land at the Broad Canal (ATTACHMENT G).  The existing condition and alternative which should be talked about which is putting all the housing and density on the site they would like; there will be issue with Chapter 91.  There is no reason why a modification cannot be created that all can support that will not shade the boat landing. 

Julian Cassa, 109 Windsor Street, stated that the number one concern of the Area 4 leadership is a master-plan.  He has not seen a master-plan.  More housing should be added. The timeline is short to make a decision on a large project.  He wanted an extension of the timeline and wanted to see a master-plan and wanted to see housing placed elsewhere, not just in Kendall Square.  Community benefits and dialogue; there has been no dialogue with Area 4 on this project.  There have been no implied or specific benefits.  He would like a dialogue with MIT about the area concerns and on issues that could be negotiated.  On parking, transportation, traffic and safety issues - nothing has been done to address the growth.  Retail concerns - it has to be a mix.  His concern is the traffic and parking data.  Serious decisions are not made without data. 

Gary Dmytryk, 2440 Mass. Avenue, President, Association for Cambridge Neighborhoods, stated that this is a historic opportunity by crafting a new vision for Kendall Square through the K2C2 process.  The goals are great, but will not be easy.  He spoke about the proposed 2 million square feet of new construction.  MIT needs a new front door to say that this is MIT.  He suggested getting rid of the street and directing traffic onto Ames Street and creating a pedestrian plaza on Main Street from Ames Street to Point Park.  There is not a lot of vehicular use on this part of Main Street.  A real square should be put in Kendall Square.  He stated that sacrificing the old historic buildings should be considered.  MIT should be given maximum flexibility to create a grander eastern gateway, a new front door to the MIT campus that works.   He request neighborhood and community groups to reconsider their opposition to tall buildings on academic campus and give unlimited FAR to MIT to build housing for students and staff.

Heather Hoffman, 213 Hurley Street, stated that the ECPT has never voted on this proposal in support as stated in the Planning Board recommendation.  She commented on Section 13.810.1 relating to signs.  The sign provision of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance applies to all portions of the city except the MXD district.  This should not be in the petition; get rid of this.  General provisions apply generally unless exempted.  She complained about the analysis done by the MIT proponents on housing.  The 39 % of graduate students housed on campus - what does the 39% mean and who does it represent.  There may be a reduction of students due to sequestration.  A discussion is needed on the impact of the sequestration.  She spoke about the Koch and the Broad Institute - the City Council voted on the proposal with promises that were not kept.

Kathy Hoffman, 67 Pleasant Street, stated that this is an opportunity to keep post graduates in Cambridge.  This is about commercial development and about innovation feeding frenzy.  She asked what the City Council's purpose is.  MIT should have responsibility to its own internal population to house its students.  Housing graduates students is key; if this housing is not provided the students go into the neighborhood and rents rise.  If the affordable housing is in the tower and it is micro-units it is not for members of the community.  She would like 240 square feet of housing broken down in terms of actual housing.  If there are fewer parking spaces there will be fewer cars - this is not correct.  If there are no commercial parking spaces people park in the neighborhoods.  She spoke about the demographics and the fact that it is not integrated into Cambridge.  What is the relationship to Cambridge is an important conversation.  She urged the City Council to let this petition expire.

Patrick Magee, operates Atlas Tavern at 877 Cambridge Street, President of the East Cambridge Business Association stated that way finding has been an issue in Kendall Square.  He support for the MIT proposal.

Fred Salvucci, teaches civil engineering at MIT, 6 Leicester Street, Brighton, stated his recommendation that the City Council include strong conditionality about density.  He hopes that the housing study is productive, but this will not come until July.  He cautioned the City Council about approving something before it comes.  He was proudest of his work with city officials against the Inner Belt.  Where does the economic opportunity at Kendall Square come from?  James Sullivan, City Manager, insisted on a parking freeze in Kendall Square.  The student housing needs have been dumped on adjacent neighborhoods.  The deficit in student housing is over 5,000 students and faculty.  This is a long range problem for MIT.  The MIT housing study will focus on the MIT position.  This is not just a matter for MIT it is also a matter for Cambridge.  There needs to be 5000 housing units for students and this should be at the front end of the process.

Richard Goldberg, 170 Harvard Street, stated that at the February meeting of Area 4 Coalition a motion was passed requesting that the City Council not grant up zoning in Kendall Square to MIT.  He stated that he thought the mission of MIT was education and that any commercial use of the property would not conform with the mission.  Area 4 is concerned because MIT students and staff live in Area 4 and add to the pressure of rental units in the area and increase rents.  He urged the City Council not to grant any zoning until the City Council understands the impact on the city.  A master-plan is needed. 

Charlie Marquardt, 10 Rogers Street, stated that MIT has been good to retail because they actually let you rent small space.  The housing at One Broadway will be 20% affordable and moderate income housing.  First question do we need more graduate student housing?  If housing is needed where it will be put, does it need to be in Kendall Square or can it go somewhere else.

James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, submitted 4 documents from the Boston Globe (ATTACHMENT H).  He asked the City Council not to give up on its leverage.  He asked if the view of the clock tower on all four sides will be blocked by the two new towers.  Building on the conditionality of the housing obligation he urged the City Council to have measurable benchmarks included for graduate student housing and for the public transportation infrastructure.  MIT should help to improve the public infrastructure in Kendall Square.  He suggested linkage between what is allow in Kendall Square and what is in Central Square, especially transferable development rights should be explored more fully.  Community benefits do not trickle down to the community.  These benefits should be decided and determined by the community, not by MIT. 

Richard Krushnic, 20 Oak Street, passed out a chart outlining production numbers of dorms.  The chart covered the period 1999 - 2012 for selected universities 2012 (ATTACHMENT I).  Boston dealt with student housing.  Over 12,000 on campus student housing new development units were created in twelve years because it was identified as a problem in Boston.  At MIT only 20% of graduate student are housed on campus.  He urged City not approve this petition unless new graduate student housing will be built.

Barbara Broussard stated that she was the community representative from East Cambridge on K2 advisory committee.  The East Cambridge Planning Team and members of the K2 advisory group worked with CBT on a viable plan for Main Street.  She stated the theme is parks, homes and shops.  A better Main Street on both sides is wanted by East Cambridge.  She stated that housing is an important component.  There has to be more residence to support the neighborhood activity.  There was also support for the need for graduate student housing.  At the end of the MIT housing study MIT will be able to take the appropriate actions.  She stated that graduate housing does not have to be in Kendall Square; there are other MIT properties where housing can be built.  She stated that the East Cambridge community worked hard on the Broad Canal and believes that the building on the south side will have value.  She understands the need for the shadow study.  It is important that there is activity on both sides of the canal.  The "pearl necklace" is essential to unifying the neighborhoods abutting this area.   Wellington-Harrington would like a part of the "pearl necklace" and an entrance into their neighborhood.

Charlie Teague, 23 Edmonds Street, stated that the proposal is premature, jumping in front of the K2C2 process.  If there is a master plan with a transportation plan and affordable housing plan much better decisions could be made.  This is a great opportunity because MIT wants a lot of things.  He spoke on housing.  The most affordable housing in Cambridge is what already exists.  He stated that MIT has to build housing for 6,000 of its students.  If all the students are in campus housing the housing will be protected for families. He submitted a communication urging the City Council to stand up to the MIT Industrial Complex (ATTACHMENT J).

Lee Farris, 269 Norfolk Street, stated that she wished the City required that all up-zoning plans had to show what could be achieved with the existing zoning fully built out compared with what is being proposed.  Without this comparison there is a bias with the up-zoning process.  Most of MIT proposal could be achieved under the current zoning.  MIT petition is premature because the K2 recommendations have not been adopted by the City Council.  She would prefer the housing plan proposed by the ECPT which was double the housing.  The City Council should let the petition expire and settle the housing issue.  The community benefits process has not been decided by the City Council.  She stated that the $10.00 per foot is too low.   MIT had committed this land for academic.

Rudy Belliardi, Wellington-Harrington stated that MIT was good with their outreach to the community.  He stated that the neighborhood is looking for a good match.  The neighborhood will look better. 

At 8:26 PM Councillor Cheung made a motion to close public comment.

The Interim City Clerk read the communication submitted by Councillor Decker into the record (ATTACHMENT K).

Councillor Maher stated that communications received by the City Council and the City Clerk would be made part of the record,

Caroline Jones, 22 Meadow Way, supported the petition (ATTACHMENT L).

Jonathan King, requested that the petition be amended to restrict new construction to direct academic, research and educational needs and to include graduate student housing.  (ATTACHMENT M).

Chris Matthews, 26 Sixth Street, supporting the MIT petition (ATTACHMENT N).

Councillor vanBeuzekom requested that the Community Development Department provide the City Council with a table of what is allowed under the current zoning and what is proposed by the MIT petition.  She asked MIT for subsequent presentations if under each page reference where it appears in the petition or the section numbers.

Councillor Maher thanked all those present for their attendance.  

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM on motion of Councillor vanBeuzekom.                                                            

For the Committee,

Councillor David P. Maher, Chair
Ordinance Committee

 

  
REPORT ACCEPTED AND PLACED ON FILE. PASSED TO A SECOND READING ON A VOICE VOTE OF SEVEN MEMBERS COUNCILLOR VANBEUZEKOM RECORDED IN THE NEGATIVE ON PASSING TO A SECOND READING on March 18, 2013
on
  

View attached file

 

  
Living Working Visiting