Somerville Speakup Line: Shoddy Practices In Developemnt Projects

Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,

I wanted to let residents know about the issues surrounding development projects around in our neighborhood in Ward 7. Same shoddy practices have been effecting lots of other residents in the city for years and ongoing.

Recently, there has been major construction going on in our neighborhood. Also, important to mention—one lawyer who has office space on our street owns 7 homes, all converted to condos.

He’s also been accused of being a slumlord by tenants who rent in an adjacent neighborhood and creating a monopoly as other wanna be developers around the city.

We wonder why Somerville is no longer affordable when dealing with these fiefdoms of modern day land barons.

In our neighborhood, one developer is converting a 2 family to a 3 family home, adding more bedrooms.

Another is building 2 condos. Both homes were distressed 2 family homes of long time neighbors.

There is reason to believe both projects have skirted the process and plans were never submitted to planning or the zoning boards for approval.

In one case, the project includes adding an entire unit to the existing building.

Wasn’t there a proposal by the board of Aldermen to deny homeowners of adding a third floor apartment to their existing 2 family homes as I recall?

Is this their plan? To give all of our housing stock away to developers first and then slam the door on homeowners with same requests?

I am a direct abutter to these properties and there was no written notification sent by mail from the city on printed postcards as to the owners plans.

The only postcards we receive are for projects being built in other neighborhoods or across town.

Is this what they call professional, diligent service for the constituency which pays their large salaries and benefits?

Both projects are undergoing extensive construction. One is being converted from a 2 family to a 3 family.

What kind of a slip shot operation is this city is running here?

Even when you call city hall for a simple request you get incompetence, conflicting answers and rude responses.

How many projects are actually in non-compliance with the zoning and planning laws?

How is this allowed? They are redoing the entire foundation on the project that is increasing units from 2 to 3. The condo conversion has bump outs on every side of the structure including height adjustments and Intrusive to adjacent homeowner.

These bloated structures add more pressure to the 200 year old failing water and sewer system which has been compromised for decades.

My plumber who is from out of town and not on the “city’s preferred list”, told me the city sewer system is over capacity and developers have been given free reign to do as they wish— and benefiting from our over valued housing stock while families and elderly continue to be displaced. This leaves the working class to foot the bill on everyone else who’s freeloading off our housing!

How much have developers donated to the affordable housing fund? How much have they given to the city for sewer improvements while they stress out our infrastructure including our third world country crumbling roads where there are more 2 foot craters than flat pavement? Maybe they can pick up the tab on our worn out vehicles that go into the shop from all the nails left on our roads ruining our expensive tires, and wear and tear from daily traffic congestion.

The two projects on our street don’t have adequate parking spaces for the condos and apartments being built. This effects neighbors who rent and own, also landlords who cannot provide parking for their tenants.

Our neighborhood is already dealing with crazy drivers from Cameron Ave., during rush hour, who speed through our streets to access Route 93 at Curtis Street. Say your prayers before walking on the cross walk on Holland Street.

We have been putting up with the ongoing excessive noise, silica dust, and restricted parking due to the oversized dump trucks with diesel fumes filling the neighborhood contaminating the air. Oversized construction, cement trucks and back hoes are left running, polluting the neighborhood.

The two projects including contractor vehicles add to the ongoing congestion and over-crowdedness which impede an already busy street and neighborhood.

A staff member of traffic and parking has already complained to developers and owners on site several times about their continuing to add more construction trucks. One project has been ongoing since June 2017! Shouldn’t there be time limits on projects? The administration should force the developers to finish a project in 6 months and hire professional teams who will get the work done right in less time.

There were two roguish looking men working alone for months on the project yet to be done. We are going on 10 months and counting. Is this what they call professional?

Why are they selling out our housing stock to foreign entities who have zero investment in our neighborhoods and community? Is this what they consider an all inclusive city embracing diversity? How about embracing the local residents who voted these politicians into office? Where’s their loyalty to the hardworking homeowners, landlords and tenants who invested their lives in this city and in their homes?

Combined, both projects it would appear should not be under construction simultaneously as this causes difficulty for neighbors. In one case, my neighbor was blocked in his driveway by a 30 foot dumpster and oversized pick up truck which prevented him from entering or exiting his home safely. We witnessed a confrontation between the homeowner and one of the workers on the construction site.

The homeowner is now dealing with a bump out which looks like it rests on the property line! No doubt this will obstruct light from entering his home, snow and ice will land on his driveway from the mammoth size structure hovering over his property. The building looks hideous, and it’s non conforming to our existing neighborhood homes.

If there is going to be prolonged and extensive renovations done to gutted homes, there should only be one project at a time, not two within 50 feet from each other. The truck drivers from the projects are in violation of traffic and parking. In some cases, they are parking at the corners violating 14 feet restrictions and blocking driveways of neighbors.

This is interfering with our peace and enjoyment of the neighborhood. The ongoing banging and grinding of tools at 7 a.m., is too much. Overall, one year long project has been a real nuisance.

I would like to know the name of the developer. I find it insulting that his name is not even listed on the documents. As life long taxpayer, resident and neighbor of the new projects, I am very frustrated that more has not been done to contain these projects and force the developers and workers to go by the laws.

While the rest of us are overwhelmed with burdening water and sewer increases as well as tax hikes and nonsense fees— including issues of the obnoxious and exaggerated barrel cover, shoveling, snow emergencies, etc. While the transients and developers get the free hand outs.

Why aren’t the leaders of our community holding developers accountable? Other towns would not tolerate this kind of abuse. Why should we?

It’s time to tell our delusional officials that this isn’t the way to treat long time local taxpayers.

Send your stories to Billy and council persons about the stress these projects are creating in your neighborhoods.

Where is our tax billions going? Demand transparency and accountability.

Together we stand— divided we fall.

Concerned Life Long Local

4 thoughts on “Somerville Speakup Line: Shoddy Practices In Developemnt Projects”

  1. Do not cave in to the laziness of some of the elected officials. Call the DPW, ISD SPD, SFD, City Councillors and the Mayors office everyday and report violations as they occur. Taking videos of the violations and forward it to them all so you have it documented.

    Show them that the developers and their contractors are negligent and ignorant toward the neighbors and the rules.

    Remember its an election year they will be coming to your neighborhood begging for your vote.

  2. Happening in my ward too! You obviously don’t know who controls all those departments within the city that you mention. It’s the Mayor, and with that control they don’t do anything without his say so, so don’t waist your breath nothing is going to happen. Even in an election year.

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