Letter to the Editor: The Somerville Proposed Demolition Review Ordinance

Dear Alderman Niedergang (cc all Alderman, Somerville Newsweekly, Somerville Matter Group),

On September 17th 2018, you indicated that you would be responding to my August 10th email. It has now been well over 3 months, and I have not received your response. I do, genuinely, understand that you are busy. Yet, I also do understand that the Civil Rights of every property owner in this City are under attack by the proposed demolition delay ordinance (Historic Overhaul)……and I must again respectfully request a thougthful response. So please kindly respond soon to my August 10th email.

To ADD to the August 10th email, I am attaching here page 3 of the 1985 Somerville Historic Survey, an apparently hidden and valuable asset. Page 3 describes the extent of that 1985 Historic Survey……the work of creating a list has been done already!

Why was this hidden from us?

I am curious to know if the Board of Alderman have been made aware of the existence of this critical document? Were YOU aware Alderman Niedergang?

The proposed demolition review ordinance is designed to “seize” the zoning/ civil rights of all properties/ owners, under the premise that the property “may be historic.”

And when the reasonable request was made to simply “Survey the City and Produce a list of truly historic properties” (rather than seize all properties), your excuse was that the “Survey Cost was too high.”

I argued that the cost was NOT too high (if it protects peoples rights)……and now I am pointing out that….in fact…..there is no cost! Shockingly, the list already exists!

Back to my questions:
1. Was the Board of Alderman made aware of the existence of this 1985 Historic Survey Document?
2. Were YOU aware Alderman Niedergang? (I do hope the answer is no, or this will harm the public’s trust in you).

We respectfully await your response Alderman Niedergang.

Mouhab Z. Rizkallah

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