Dots banner
Home Departments City Manager City Council Mayor's Office Jobs Publications
 Pay Bills Online Calendar of Events
Printer-friendly version
 Back to Table of Contents
 Hearing Schedule
 City Manager's Agenda
 Awaiting Report List
 Applications and Petitions
 Resolution List
 Policy Order and Resolution List
 Committee Reports
 Communications and Reports from City Officers
City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution
  April 13, 2015

WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge is facing a severe and escalating crisis of housing affordability; and
WHEREAS: A broad consensus has emerged on the need for new housing in Central Square, particularly housing that is affordable to individuals, seniors, and families of low, moderate, and middle-incomes; and
WHEREAS: Housing plays an essential role in building communities; housing supports retail at least three times more than office uses, and housing also requires significantly less parking than office uses; and
WHEREAS: The City's ability to encourage the production of affordable housing in Central Square is constrained by the fact that the Central Square Overlay District is zoned Business B, which means that market-based proposals for new housing are forced to compete with other, more lucrative forms of commercial development, such as offices and laboratories; and
WHEREAS: At the April 1, 2015 Ordinance Committee hearing on the Normandy Twining zoning amendment, this issue was raised by the developer's local counsel, who stated on the record, that with respect to his clients' site in Central Square, "It's housing, or office."; and
WHEREAS: As the City's policymaking and legislative body, the City Council is responsible for making amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, "to encourage housing for persons of all income levels," and for "the protection of residential neighborhoods from incompatible activities..." (See Section 1.30 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance); and

The City has already created minimum housing requirements for zoning districts where there is a concern that market pressure to build non-residential uses would significantly outcompete housing uses, such as in the PUD-KS district; now therefore be it



That it shall be the policy of the City of Cambridge to promote housing as the use to be most greatly expanded throughout Central Square in the immediate future, along with vibrant retail and related public amenities; and be it further


That the City Council refer to the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board, for hearing and report, the following amendment to the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, Section 20.300, Central Square Overlay District, by inserting the following text:


20.304.2(c) Making Housing Competitive. In an effort to encourage the production of housing for persons of all income levels, and to protect residential neighborhoods from incompatible activities (e.g. laboratories), and notwithstanding any provision of this Ordinance to the contrary, applications for Special Permits in the Central Square Overlay District pursuant to this Section 20.304.2(2) will not be granted for any building where more than half of the new or substantially rehabilitated gross floor area is intended for office or laboratory use, as defined by Section 4.34 of this Ordinance.


FAILED OF ADOPTION 1-7-1   View Roll Call Votes from April 13, 2015
Living Working Visiting