Letter to the Editor: Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang’s Response to Dr. Rizkallah Regarding Demolition Ordnance Public Hearing Date

Dear Dr. Rizkallah, and others to whom you have copied these emails,

After consulting with a couple of my colleagues and the Mayor’s Office, I see no reason to postpone the Public Hearing on the Demolition Review Ordinance.   So it will be held on July 9.

There are several good reasons not to postpone:

1) Yes, I do want to get this ordinance passed, very much!  There are some things in the current draft that need to be worked on and changed, some things I do not agree with, so I am not yet satisfied with what we have before us.  Other Aldermen also have concerns, as do you and perhaps other members of the public, although I haven’t heard from them.  We have an incredibly jammed  and full legislative docket, and I want to make progress on this ordinance at every opportunity, so we can get it done and move onto other important ordinances.

2) The  BOA has had this before us now for over nine months, and I believe it is our duty to act on it as soon as we can while still considering the issues and getting it right for the City.

3) September will be a busy month and difficult to schedule a Public Hearing.  July 9th is all set and lined up so it makes sense to go forward then.

This Public Hearing has been scheduled further in advance than the two Public Hearings held this spring on the Real Estate Transfer Fee by the Legislative Matters Committee, than the Public Hearing held this spring on the Somerville Affordable Housing Crisis by the Housing and Community Development Committee, and than the joint Public Hearing held this spring about the Clarendon Hill Public Housing redevelopment by the BOA Finance and Legislative Matters Committees.

This proposed ordinance has been discussed in public in Somerville for well over a year now.  The process started with three public meetings, heavily advertised in the spring of 2017, but poorly attended.  I know, sir, that you will reply, “That is because it is deceptively named so nothing that the City has done so far counts as public process.”  You are wrong that it is deceptively named, and it is absurd to say that public meetings, discussions in public by the Board of Aldermen, front page articles that you yourself have authored, public testimony that you yourself have given, are not  transparent.

To say that I don’t want you to organize against this ordinance is laughable.  Organize away all you want!  Please!  You have plenty of time and the personal and your development business resources to get people to the Public Hearing on July 9 and I hope you do; I look forward to hearing from them.   I love your sign and I encourage you to put them up all over the City, as the opponents of the Real Estate Transfer Fee have done.



Mark Niedergang

Ward 5 Alderman

29 Conwell Street

Somerville MA 02143

(617) 629-8033




2 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang’s Response to Dr. Rizkallah Regarding Demolition Ordnance Public Hearing Date”

  1. Everythings a rush for the BOA and particular Mark Neidergang to push forward their agenda. The entire MONTH of september is ‘busy’. Just keep it up Somerville. Continue taxing and pissing off small property owners. There were recently 37 multi family homes on the market. Guess how the rents will skyrocket when we all sell and the new owner has a new huge mortgage payment to make. While I still have a mortgage, it’s not the same burden as it would be if I purchased the house today. Talk is cheap. ‘Affordable’ is a favorite word of the administration and the BOA. Why then are they driving small landlords out of business? Why are they downzoning multifamilies and eliminating thousands of units that can be built? The answer my fellow citizens is because the city serves ONLY the city’s ulterior motives and no one elses. The City wants to buy up multifamily houses cheaply and convert to low income affordable housing. Renters – pay attention. These units will not be available to you. In fact, the more multifamilies the City steals from owners, the less inventory there will be for the general public. If the City really wanted to add to rental inventory, the City would not only NOT downzone, the City would encourage building onto existing 1 and 2 families in RB zones which can have a total of 3 units. No one has yet to address this elephant in the room. Not a single housing advocate can speak to why they would support eliminating housing that can be built readily and more affordably than having to acquire a parcel to build on. The city is disingenuous and self serving. Read the RB/RA Report for yourself, look at the lot sizes, look at the heights, look at how many singles and two families have the lot size, the FAR – and can build one or two units onto the existing property. Now the BOA wants to eliminate, or, with special permit that limits any expansion beyond original footprint, limits height etc – in other words allows no Additional square footage = useless. See Page 28: Lot Size; Page 32: Ground Coverage; Page 37: FAR; Page 41: Dwelling units. There are 3600 homes in RB zone with a single home or a 2 unit – we are eliminating more than 3600 rental units that could be available and build to ease the rental market.
    Where are the affordable housing people??
    Where is Revolution? http://www.somervillebydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RA-RB-Report_FINAL-web.pdf

  2. Dear Alderman I find your comment offensive and insulting. It is clear the signs had a major impact on protecting every single, two and three family homeowner from being fleeced and doubled TAXED by you and your colleagues.

    Most of the property owners were handed a victory as a direct result of the 100 signs being placed in areas of the city. This was an accomplishment just to bring attention toward the cowardly acts by you and the administration for not wanting to respectively notify property owners be inclussionary. Instead you try to insult the property owners who are most relied upon to make this community survive.

    Let it be known the very same people who came and spoke against you and the poor decision to try to correct a problem that has been ignored for many years at our expense.

    I won’t cry publicly about those negatively impacted over the last sixteen years plus, that were forced out of this city as a result of poor representation by some elected officials.

    Myself along with many others will continue to fight for the best interests of those that remain here until we uproot and rid the city of all the evil hypocritical people that think they can pick our pockets and be arrogant.


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