Somerville Downzoning-Eliminates 3 units; Property Rights, Affordable Housing under Attack

53 have signed. Let’s get to 100!

Against Downzoning started this petition to PLANNING DEPARTMENT and 2 others
Somerville (proposed) Rezoning is forfeiting, permanently, hundreds of ready to build rental units by downzoning RB (1-3 units) neighborhoods to new NR (1-2 units max)-eliminating the right to add a 3rd unit. There are about 2500 2 families and 1165 single families in RB zone now; 2500 that may be able to add 1 unit; 1165 that may be able to add 1 or 2 units.

The iconic triple decker that provided affordable housing for decades could not be built today. A 3rd unit can be rented reducing the rental cost escalation, or alternatively sold as a condo to a first-time home ownership opportunity.
The lowest cost most affordable rental unit that can be created is a unit added to a currently owned home. If the City truly wanted to create housing, the City would invite property owners to add 1 or 2 units of housing, and incentivitze with a low cost loan to get units onto the market.

The City’s approach of upzoning only on main corridors and near subways, creates an exorbitantly priced rental unit. A unit that necessitates an outrageous upfront acquisition cost, followed by brand new construction builds a rental very few can afford. Somerville has always been, and will continue to be, a transicent city consisting primarily of rental units. Housing is in dire need. When the City talks about affordable, the City means ‘low income affordable.’ No one is concerned about the vast majority of renters who don’t meet low income eligibility – everyone needs better affordability!

When housing crisis and affordability are the words on everyone’s lips, downzoning is counterintuitive and reeks of NIMBYism. Other dense urban areas are UPzoning!! Yet Somerville is proud to be progressive? If you own a home in a RB zone, this downzoning is damanging your property immensely, reducing its value by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With no accompanying reassessment or reduction in property taxes-though your property is now worth far less. Whether you planned to add a 3rd unit or not, you can no longer sell that potential to the next buyer.
Arguments that the City is too dense aren’t justified. Somerville’s residents love the urban vibe, and everyone wants to live here. Parking is not an issue – with uber/lyft, zipcars, bikes, and new subway stations coming, people own fewer, not more vehicles.

Register your opposition now before the City pushes through the new zoning-ignoring the opposition expressed in almost 300 pages of resident input. The City’s approach to new zoning makes no sense at any level, for anyone!

The meeting is this thursdays zoning meeting 9/19 and we need people to show up against the city. Can you help?

3 thoughts on “Somerville Downzoning-Eliminates 3 units; Property Rights, Affordable Housing under Attack”

  1. Homeowners should attend tonight’s Zoning Meeting and let them know the displeasure with the attack on property owners rights.

    6:30 PM City Hall

  2. One misstatement is we are adding on more cars now. IN the last 10 years we have added about 8000 more vehicles to this city. And parking is a problem. Low income affordable is just not going to happen here. It’s supply and demand. Have to face facts we can’t always afford where we want to live. I hate reality.

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