Somerville Speakup Line: Somerville’s Blank check to Developers

There is a historic case being challenged in front of the Somerville ZBA right now, and one that could have long lasting ramifications for anyone that lives in a residential neighborhood. The city has approved plans by a developer to bring in narrow beds of soil to put against a house so it can go higher than what zoning allows and put an additional story/unit on the building.

There is nothing in the Somerville zoning code that allows this. If this appeal stands, any developer can now effectively build past the height and grade restrictions within the zoning. This is effectively a blank check to developers allowing them to build additional stories/units in the neighborhood to earn more profit. To top it off as the alderfolks have argued,  builders could effectively go as high as they want and there would be nothing preventing a developer from taking out these skinny narrow beds of soil after they received a certificate of occupancy.

The next case is June 6th in front of the ZBA. An entire neighborhood has challenged this building permit, and 4 of the alderman have spoken up against it(White, Clingan, Rossetti, Mbah).

Just thought I would put it on your radar, could make for an interesting story.

Justin Rank

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