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September 26, 2006

Comments

Just a Pawn

All Hail King Ralph! I'm sure everyone in the neighborhood is glad we'll have that damned eyesore for years to come!

Born Here

So, years and years of 18 wheelers rumbling down Clyde and Warwick Sts, and all of a sudden the neighbors are crying "not in my back yard". What do you all propose, maybe another industrial use ? You all cried when they open a school because of all the bus traffic. Stop your whinning, you sound like the Mystic View Task Force. You have a better idea for the owner ? Maybe IKEA or Home Depot would fit nicely....LMFAO

Ward 2

maybe KSS wants out and paid O'D to withdraw the amendments? Why does'nt another aldermand just propose the same admendments then? In any event O'D, as a public servant, owes everyone an explanation! There is no excuse for that.

Sounds like all the neighbors are against it anyway. Isn't Somerville already the most densly packed town on the east coast? What are we trying to do here? Win the Sardine award? How about some smart growth? Lets let the process take its coarse and time here. I am sure nobody is in a big hurry to have all that extra traffic on their street anyway. I know there are developers and architechs out there that would be eager to listen to the local stakeholders, the people closest to the new development and build something that works for the people that already live here. Why are we in a big hurry to make make money for these developers and give our quality of life away?

Ron Newman

If KSS wanted out, why did they spend last Tuesday evening making a presentation to the Bicycle Committee? They certainly seemed enthusiastic about their proposal at the time, two days before the scheduled public hearing.

I personally feel that their plan worked well with the Community Path extension. If a Green Line station could be built nearby, this would be a good example of 'smart growth'.

Planet Somerville

"This isn't a case of not in my backyard".

Me thinks the man doth protest too much.

Somerspeak

No to industry.

No to the Charter School.

No to condos.

That neighborhood is running out of options.

What do they want anyway?

we want

We want a giant red neon sun in the shape of a K with a circle around it right outside of Somerspeak's bedroom window shining all hours of the night. We want midnight delivery trucks beeping backwards and roaring up and down Somerspeak's street. And finaly, we want our sewers to overspill into our drainage systems as they are already overtaxed and overburdened so that somerspeak can breathe the fresh sent of Sao Pualo for himself.

Ron Newman

The current zoning on this site is Residence B, which allows 1, 2, or 3-family houses, either detached or as townhouses.

A few other uses such as rooming houses, schools, nursing homes, and non-profit community centers are allowed with a special permit.

Questions you must ask if you want to reject all rezoning and PUD proposals:

Can a developer profitably build on the site under the current zoning? (Remember that any developer must absorb the cost of demolition and site cleanup.)


If so:

Is this the best use of the land?

Can Clyde and Warwick Streets handle all of the resulting traffic if the developer is unable or unwilling to build a ramp to Lowell Street?


If not, and the site remains undemolished and undeveloped:

How much potential tax revenue will be lost?

What effect will this have on the Community Path extension? Will people feel comfortable walking or bicycling next to a huge, deteriorating abandoned building?

brickbottom

As long as we have the government that is now in place in this city, people that are balless and clueless, then nothing will ever get done. Simple as that.

The politicians have to stand up and do what's right for this city and all it's citizens not just a few who make the most noise especialy when it comes to property taxes and getting the money for more police, fire and teachers. If that means allowing large corporations to build in this city then so be it.

A few dozen people in this city are making the other eighty thousand people suffer in this city because of their selfish "not in my backyard" mentality.

Tough shit to those agenda ridden carpetbaggers, steamroll over them and start putting some money back into the coffers of this city. If they don't like it....then move to Chelsea.

retireseanandmoveon

Sean O Donovan is a liar, cheater, loser and W T.... HE shouldn't be on board because he has a mind of a 4th grader.

lazy

Sean, Retire you lazy bum.. Your lazy and over weight

Sean, go back to Florida

Sean cares more about Florida than he does Somerville. If you don't like the position leave. Your ego is getting out of control.

Optimist

As a homeowner on one of the narrow access roads on the Cedar St. side of the site I would love to see it cleaned up. But I wholeheartedly agree with Ralph Russo & Co. that we cannot have the amount of traffic that would come from such a large development.

KSS knew how it was zoned when they bought the site and if they couldn’t make a profit with the zoning that was in place they shouldn’t have bought it. We don’t need to destroy our neighborhood to make their bad business decisions work out.

Perhaps an entrepreneur i.e. someone who can think of building something more original than a bunch of overpriced condos that are last year’s bad idea will step in, or, an honest to goodness community partner such as a Tufts University or the like. There is huge potential for Somerville beyond condos in this site that the Mayor should be exploring.

As for Alderman O’Donovan I hope he is listening to the people who elect him, listening to people who want improvement that will benefit Somerville in the long run and not to big name developers who have no commitment to or no votes in our fair City.

Brickbottom truely cares

Its nice to see that brickbottom cares about something else other than the police department.

Ron Newman

Fair enough, but what would you (and the other folks in the Clyde-Warwick-Murdock area) like to see built there?

The current RB zoning doesn't allow for any especially 'original' development; instead of boring condos, you'll get boring rowhouses or boring three-deckers.

And no matter what is built, there are still only two ways into the site: your three local streets, or a ramp from the Lowell Street bridge. (Unless you want to tear down houses on Princeton Street, or build a new bridge over the tracks from Charles Ryan Road.)

I'm certainly not wedded to KSS's proposal, but I don't want to see the site sit empty and abandoned either.

Optimist

What to build is the tough part; there must be more demand for more senior housing given the aging population for instance. Also, I don't think the residents' minds are so closed that reasonable ideas that are outside of the current zoning aren't possible. I don't claim to have all the answers but I think we can do better than the current hobbesian choice.

Tim B

Alderman O'Donovan responded to an email of mine about the zoning withdrawal. He stated that some of the neighbors had expressed dissatisfaction to KSS for not providing them with information they had requested from KSS prior to the meeting (as noted in the above story). According to O'Donovan, this expression prompted KSS to request the postponement.

If this is accurate, it sounds like KSS does not want to risk rejection of the amendment as long as there is still strong opposition from some contingent of the neighbors.

Optimist's post is the most articulate statement of the opposition to the project I have seen yet. However, I disagree with it. The amount of traffic increase has been estimated by KSS as approximately a 60% increase in peak traffic volumes. While this will be noticeable on such a quiet street, I don't think it will "destroy the neighborhood." It will probably still have less traffic than many similar sidestreets in Somerville.

If traffic is the biggest concern, a residential development is probably the best type of development. On a weekday, most people make one trip out and one trip back into their neighborhood at predictable times. Any successful commercial, industrial, or institutional development would have many cars and trucks making multiple trips throughout the day, which I assume would generate a lot more traffic.

This is a very difficult site for any developer, given its off-the-beaten-path location, its contaminated land, its limited vehicle access, and its zoning restrictions. Add to that list a group of neighbors that now appears to be hostile to any profitable development, and it is a wonder that any developer would want to try to make something out of this site.

This will not be an ideal development, but neither will any other. Not many proposed developments would have the public green space, connections to the community path, pedestrian emphasis, and residential scale of this plan. If this development is prevented, it will be a long time before any other comes along that is any more acceptable. It at least deserves to be debated.

Ron Newman

One other thing to keep in mind:

KSS proposes to divide its development into two sections, with separate automobile access to each section, and no through automobile traffic allowed. 65 units would have access to the Clyde-Warwick neighborhood. The other 134 would have access only to the Lowell Street bridge ramp.

If KSS goes away and is replaced by an "as-of-right" Residence B development, all of the added traffic burden is likely to fall on the Clyde-Warwick side, because there won't be a Lowell Street ramp.

Max Warwick

Contrary to what this guy Russo is stating to the press, I doubt that his entire neighborhood was in favor of pulling the plug on the zoning process. I attended a good many of the community meetings last year and noticed that when this guy spoke in opposition to a zoning change there were usually only about 8-12 others nodding in agreement. And how does "his" neighborhood get destroyed if, as he publically agreed many times, his neighborhood will only take one third of the entire developments traffic?

My take is that even with all the agreeing Russo did at public meetings last year, he and a few others in the neighborhood have made up their minds to fight whatever is proposed for the land.

What's going on here?

I wonder if this, from the Globe today, has anything to do with the sudden developments with the KSS site.

"The downturn in the Massachusetts housing market gained momentum in August, with the median price of a single-family home falling 6.1 percent, to $352,000, and the number of sales down 21.6 percent from last year, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said yesterday."

"The condominium market, which had remained steady for most of the year even as the single-family market slipped, also felt the effects of the slowdown. The median condo price fell 3.3 percent in August, to $278,000, and sales fell 18.5 percent."

City Hall Nose

If anyone could understand what is happening here on the Hill, it would make for a great movie. There are so many behind the scenes deals going on that it has become blatant at best.

Meetings on the second floor have become so abundant that they should use a “Take Ticket” machine to get in line. There are Contractors, Developers and Attorneys all lining up for their turn. What goes on behind that door only the Big guy knows. We can all surmise but that would fling a lot of stuff around the Walls here.

I just wish the public could see the sleazy cliental coming and going. SOD is surely one of those characters. Then you have Boss Hog trying to climb the stairs running out of breath. Have another cigarette Stankly. Let’s not forget the Skipper too. He’s up there peddling all his charm.

With the recent discovery of abandoned and leaking oil tanks you would think they would direct their undivided attention to this important issue. Instead, they are all trying to make the best deal for themselves. If it isn't for them, then they dump the idea.

I guess it might be time to consider a change in government.

jamie vincent

I think some of the above comments would be very different if this development were being proposed in their neighborhood. I don't live in the neighborhood, but I'm not far from it, and I can't blame the neighbors for fighting this. The city created zoning districts for a reason, presumably one of the reasons was to prevent over-development. However, with every project that is proposed it seems that there needs to be a zoning change, or a special permit, and always because 'the developer can't make money by building within the existing zoning regulations'. What about the neighbors, who may have bought property knowing that the zoning would not allow huge developments? Let me tell you what will happen to this neighborhood if this goes through as proposed..........
-A huge increase in traffic which will spill out onto Cedar, Lowell, Medford, and Highland, streets already congested during a.m. and p.m. rush.
-Truck traffic.....trash trucks, delivery trucks, moving trucks, maintenance trucks, etc.
-Water pressure problems.
-Possible drainage and sewage problems.
-Parking...many of these large developments skirt the parking requirement with open-plan condos. Not to mention, even if ther is enough parking for residents, what about their visitors? I find it hard to believe that they will provide parking for AT LEAST 200 cars, plus visitors (and please don't repeat the line that if they put in bike racks or a subway, people without cars will move in!).
I think as a residential development, this is just too large for the area. I think the above comment makes sense - let's look at alternate uses, and maybe a mix of uses. Let's be creative here, and not just roll over for a Kennedy to make even more money!

Solh Zendeh

I live near by, and I am really on the fence about this project. I appreciate jaime v. listing out some of the issues. Allow me to comment on each:

- car traffic. I'll address this with parking below

- Truck traffic. Seems like residential rules is the best way to address this issue. You could have times when trucks are allowed on the streets, and strict enforcement of those and *existing* idling laws.

- Water pressure problems. This will be a problem no matter what - infrastructure is something we should require the developer to improve or pay the city to improve to our specs

- Possible drainage and sewage problems - same as above.

- Parking and traffic. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: people want it both ways. If you provide "enough" parking, you will encourage people with cars to live in the units. If the zoning for this development is changed, I see no reason not to change the parking rules for them - here's an extreme example: no parking permits for them and *no* parking provided. This will cost the developer money because they will not be able to sell/rent the units to people with cars, but it sure would solve the parking and traffic issue in a hurry. Please don't just dismiss this idea with "pfft, everyone must own a caaaaaaaar". The developer could set aside 25 spots for zip cars. For long trips residents could rent a car. Visitors? Visitor permit (those have a use limit, so no cheating!). This is the city folks, you want a highway 2 minutes from your house and plenty of parking for all - move to the suburbs.

Look, if I lived on one of those 3 streets I would definitely not want anything to be built there - they've got a sweet deal (aside from the ground contamination, rats, hoodlums etc). But the reality is that something is going to get built, so lets try to think of what we would really like to see and ask for it. This developer paid a lot of money for the property, I bet he'll do what it takes to get something in there.

Grand Total

Rainwater can be collected to flush its toilets throughout the year. A system can be designed to collect rainwater from the building's roof to fill tanks, which then flow in a separate pipe to the toilets. The rainwater from the reclamation system can also be used to irrigate the building's landscaping. Because Somervilles rainwater generally flows to the city sewer system, reusing it helps save our ratepayers money because the water isn't going to our treatment plants where it's costly to treat. And prevents the need for bigger and more costly updates to the system.

“Green” building practices minimize impacts on the environment and ultimately save Somerville money.Smart practices conserve resources and maximize energy efficiency for the new owners as well. Using sustainable building practices offers many environmental, economic, health and social benefits that undoubtably attract the buyers who are more likely to adopt a car free lifestyle and pay more becuase they are helping the environment.

I am sure they are some green developers that would be interested in this sort of project here. What kind of actions do we take as a community to attract the developers and the kind of developments we want to see in such a densely packed area? What kind of somerville do we want to see 10 years from now. Or do we really care?

Grand total

Oh there is a great excerpt from an old book that you guys should check out. If you google

'excerpted from the book Green Development: Integrating Ecology & Real Estate.'

You will see a little of what some of the folks here are talking about if you find the article The Market for green development.

Just a thought.....

While I think that this sounds like a good idea on the surface, wouldn't it behoove us to build housing that would attract more families back to the city? Not necessarily low-income housing, but moderately priced, standard condos rather than high-end, high-priced units?

Fever

Development in Somerville is a three step process and KSS celarly underestimated O'Donovan's reaction to step 3:

1) Community is asked to get involved and through careful planning and negotiation a design that is beneficial to the most amount of people is agreed to.

2) Developers go to the bank and withdraw cash.

3) Alderman take the cash and the Developer crosses their fingers and hopes it was enough.

Max Warwick

I hear there never was a step 3 and that's why some people are clearly very pissed.

Great Breaking News

Great breaking news:

Pro development citizens of Somerville turn development around with new Petition signed by many neighbors who absolutely agree. The petition clear states that we want to have things developed right now not matter the cost to our quallity of life.

Town activists Dr. Professor Longhair and his cohart Dr. Ms. McCarthy both agreed they never saw so many real people get involved to spur development and to get the bulldozers rolling. While others suspect that some of the signatures may have been faked by the Divestment group.


Sample of signatures included:


kim peter
The nose knows
Nose Hairs
Frank Sinatra
Cabbie
happy Gilmore
Planet Somerville
Snagglepuss
Auh20
Obadiah Plainman
Mystic Fraud Task Force
No Barneys
Somerspeaks
Going to dye here
bornHere
snoops02143
Big Digger
Smartgrowth fan
growth anatomy
Plumber whisperer
Mickey Mouse
Yorktown lane
Elvis

Born Here

of course we will be having a fundraiser at Good Times Billiards !!

Cambriville News

CAMBRIVILLE NEWS
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

BREAKING NEWS.................

O'Donovan Breaks His Silence

Barney Noble, Cambriville's newest ace reporter, has finally secured an interview with the elusive Alderman from Ward 5. We now go live to the MaxPak site where O'Donovan and activist Ralph Russo have agreed to speak to Barney.

Barney, over to you...............

BN:Thanks CN, Alderman O'Donovan, the controversy that has erupted over the abrupt withdrawal of the zoning changes is drawing fire from all over Cambriville. Do you have anything at all to say concerning your actions?

SOD: Oh no. You're not gonna get me to say that again.

BN: Say what Alderman?

SOD: That I don't understand it but I'm gonna vote for it anyway.

BN: But Alderman O'Donovan, you introduced the zoning changes. Did you understand what you were proposing?

RR: Fa ged abut it! End of interview. Get lost. Get off my property.

BN: But Mr. Russo, you don't own this land. Mr. Smith does.

RR: Did you hear me you little punk. I said get the f*&% off my land.

SOD: Good job Ralph. Thanks, that was a tough one.

BN: Back to you Cambriville.............

New on the 6:00PM political news front.....

Mayor Curtatone Summoned to Senator Kennedy's Office for Important Meeting Tonight.

Cambriville News

CAMBRIVILLE NEWS
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

BREAKING NEWS.................

O'Donovan Breaks His Silence

Barney Noble, Cambriville's newest ace reporter, has finally secured an interview with the elusive Alderman from Ward 5. We now go live to the MaxPak site where O'Donovan and activist Ralph Russo have agreed to speak to Barney.

Barney, over to you...............

BN:Thanks CN, Alderman O'Donovan, the controversy that has erupted over the abrupt withdrawal of the zoning changes is drawing fire from all over Cambriville. Do you have anything at all to say concerning your actions?

SOD: Oh no. You're not gonna get me to say that again.

BN: Say what Alderman?

SOD: That I don't understand it but I'm gonna vote for it anyway.

BN: But Alderman O'Donovan, you introduced the zoning changes. Did you understand what you were proposing?

RR: Fa ged abut it! End of interview. Get lost. Get off my property.

BN: But Mr. Russo, you don't own this land. Mr. Smith does.

RR: Did you hear me you little punk. I said get the f*&% off my land.

SOD: Good job Ralph. Thanks, that was a tough one.

BN: Back to you Cambriville.............

New on the 6:00PM political news front.....

Mayor Curtatone Summoned to Senator Kennedy's Office for Important Meeting Tonight.

AJ

I see that eyesore every time I step out my front door in the late fall and winter and I hear all kinds of nonsense coming from there in the summer. I don't care what they put there as long as that factory disappears. Why not build fewer condos, like 150? Seems to me that a smaller number would alleviate the concerns of many of the people that don't care for the current plan.

Francis Puertos

There is a real solution to this issue, current City Code either does not adequately address the problems created by these vacant buildings or it does and we are not enforcing it. Why don't we have or create an ordinance that does not allow commercial and business property owners to let their property go into a state of disrepair and cause a blight on our community. If they want to shut their business down that is fine. But, they have to maintain their property or create a park in it while it remains unused. These properties are serious fire hazards; they harbor rats and vermin, and result in declining property values in the neighborhoods they abut. The National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) has stated that vacant buildings pose significant hazards to firefighters. Weakened structures collapse, open stairs or pits are serious fall hazards when smoke is present, and rubbish/litter can block passageways and cause rapid fire development.

Other towns would not allow this happen; but, for some cozy reason, Somerville allows Businesses to destroy our town, Take a look at all the cigarette Butts in front of Bars and the garbage blowing around garages and other commercial like areas. This rubbish ends up in our neighborhoods and in other places. It drains our city services to clean these areas and causes a tax burden on home owners when businesses should be footing the clean up bills. Why don't the neighbors ask their public servant Alderman to research the subject and draft a proposed ordinance that BofA could consider. I know it would be easy to get enough pictures of blighted properties to put a PowerPoint presentation together concerning vacant buildings that have become neighborhood nuisances, there are plenty of them.

These areas are also serious fire hazards; they harbor rats and vermin, and result in declining property values in the neighborhood. He said the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) has stated that vacant buildings pose significant hazards to firefighters. He said in a fire, weakened structures collapse, open stairs or pits are serious fall hazards when smoke is present, and rubbish/litter can block passageways and cause rapid fire development.

Born Here

Francis, I really like your term "COZY" !!
This is the best description of our current administration.........COZY

The Candy Man

(note: f-bombs and anything over the top has been edited out by JN)

wellllll nowwwwwww o'drinkivan is up to his shenanigans again, say it aint so flanagan...this whole two and a half years of stupid bullshit regarding maxpak is retarded, but does it surprise everyone with the joke we have at assembly square? why dont they just build a new high school and police station and a shiny new city hall there and let the sheriff build his shithole there too...you know theres a half dozen people peeing their pants everyday hoping that one will get the green light from on high...........no wonder no big companies want to invest in somerville - but we got holiday f'in inn by god and herb i squeak when i walk chambers aka the real mr important down by the incinerator - maybe he will bail his buddies the tauros out and buy their land and get a permit to build a big f'in hotel....it has become painfully evident the only assholes who wont get a hard time with permitting is the SCC and if you think this administration and its bed buddies arent peeing themselves dreaming of the day good old herbie (no i dont mean that piece of **** foster, but thanks for making me think of him) wants to build ANYTHING....

back to the assholes at hand......ron, take your bike and stick it in your bike rack you mooching son of a philistine....i have never met a more annoying, pedantic, ******* grandsonofanillegalimmgrantbitch as you - like the bike circle jerk group would ever be able to make any kind of influence on a 96 MILLION dollar condo development - get a life.....RR, you werent even good enough to be a doorman for a runner who worked for someone who used a bookie, once....stop syaing its your neighborhood like youre johnny f'in sacrimoni from the sopranos....youre an embarassment to anyone who HAS to deal with wannabe gangsters...

how about the kss development boys?????? darren the slumlord is so arrogant you want to punch him in the mouth but ill give him credit he has stuck it out when this city and its crooked people kept bilking and milking him.....do you feel like the cat who got milked in meet the parents???? speaking of fockers.....what is with the smith guy, is he for real with the face jobs and the limp wrist action?????? i hope they sell that land to some chinese church and they put in a f'in commune or maybe we need more housing for the elderly.....NOT.....but thats for a different day - last but not least lets not forget tubby the dipshit alderman who phones it in no matter if hes sitting in the 6-1-7 or the 3-0-5.....this guy is ten times worse than boss hogg ever dreamed of being, with the mental capacity of a vat of sauerkraut and you cant even use the "howd he pass the bar....well hes never passed a bar in his life..." joke, because hes so bloated from drinking, tanning in florida and going out to eat with his walking around money that i had to do a triple take when i saw him recently weebling through ball square...

aflack has the annoying duck as its mascot - maxpak should have a bloated, tanned leprechaun thats bald, wearing a yamika, with a nice shiny silk sweatsuit, gold chains and rings with diamonds, an orange handkerchief, a rolex watch and drilling The Highlander in the can from an angle you can see that there is clearly no reach around going on.......maybe that will be a good visual for all you people that think it, but dont have the balls to at least say it out loud.....sorry jn, its clearly time for my meds.....

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

Mr. Candy Man,

Could you be a little more clear and tell us how you really feel?

May You Find Some Peace,

Dr. Mrs. McCarthy

Ron Newman

So, Candy Man, are you for or against the KSS proposal?

Rat-a-tat-tat

Ron,

Do you like Puerto Rican girls?

Max Warwick

Mr. Norton

I'm a little confused regarding the liberty you take re: editing comments and altering the names mentioned.

To be safe here, I'll use RR as you did when you edited Candy Man's comments. Could you clarify why you used RR when the person in question allows his photo and full name to be used in the hard copy edition of your paper? RR has been quoted in your and the other paper in town many times. That makes him fair game for the story, no? Your paper even has a likeness of RR in it's commentary cartoon(and a good one at that).

So what gives here? People who are part of the story should realize that when you give comments for publication and allow their photos to be used, they've opened up themselves for both praise and criticism.

You may not want to comment, but your actions leave me a little confused.

James Norton

Max -

You really shouldn't be "confused" about it - you make a very valid point about the name of that person and how he has qualified to be "fair game". Honestly, I was in there trying to clean it up a little and I thought that maybe this person's initials could be used instead. In fairness to this person, I think that comment was the first one of that nature, and in fairness to me, it was just a judgement call at that moment.

Sometimes we all do things that seem to be motivated by something else - it's human nature - but in this case, I was in there and just made a judgement call, that's it. You are absolutely right about that person and many others being "fair game".

I hope that helps the confusion Max and doesn't keep us away from the real topics of discussion (you can always email me privately if you want to ask anything else).

JN

Max Warwick

Mr Norton

Thanks for the response. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or RR, just trying to get the rules of engagement clear in my mind.

Ron Newman

The article quite prominently cites, by full name, a Warwick Street resident whose initials are RR. I'd think he's fair game for any comment someone wants to make on this article.

That said, the entire Candy Man rant was a good example of 'sound and fury signifying nothing'.

The Candy Man

so says the pot to the kettle

The comments to this entry are closed.

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