SOMERVISION NEXT STEPS: REVAMPED RESIDENTIAL ZONING AND NEW DESIGN PROJECTS FOR: MCGRATH HIGHWAY AREA; BRICKBOTTOM; COMMUNITY PATH EXTENSION
With Aldermen’s Approval, Final Comprehensive Plan Becomes Foundation for Future Rounds of City Planning and Development; New Areas of Focus Also Include Multimodal Transportation and Urban Agriculture
SOMERVILLE – With the final version of the City’s SomerVision
Comprehensive Plan now published through the City’s web site, Mayor Joseph A.
Curtatone and Strategic Planning and Community Development Director Michael F.
Glavin announced today that the twenty-year plan, approved last month by the
Somerville Board of Aldermen and City Planning Board would serve as the basis
for a new round of initiatives across the city.
The first of these will kick off
in June with a release of a study of the RA and RB zoning districts that
encompass the majority of Somerville's residential neighborhoods. The study will highlight the ways in which
current zoning supports, or undermines, residents’ stated preferences for preserving
neighborhoods while encouraging economic growth. The RA-RB study will also provide recommendations
for change to be presented to the Board of Aldermen. Throughout the summer and into the fall, city
officials expect to roll out additional SomerVision-based proposals to guide
planning around future Green Line stations, as well as proposals to encourage
urban agriculture and multimodal transportation.
“Developing changes to the City’s Zoning Ordinance has
got to be a collaborative process with the Board of Aldermen – that’s as it
should be,” said Curtatone. “But SomerVision gives us a shared yardstick to
measure proposed changes and come up with new approaches. The SomerVision plan is a strategic roadmap that
reflects a broad consensus among Somerville residents, business owners and
elected officials on issues related to economic growth, transportation,
housing, and quality of life.”
“The reason so many people across Somerville poured
time and energy into SomerVision was to have a shared frame of reference when
we took on big challenges like changes to our zoning or district development
plans,” said Alderman at Large Jack Connolly.
“This is where the hard work of the past three years really starts to
“SomerVision is already helping the City move forward
on new initiatives like the rollout of the regional Hubway bicycle program,
urban agriculture and the vitally important Broadway Streetscape Project in
East Somerville,” said Glavin. “It’s
informing our ongoing planning initiatives around the future of McGrath Highway,
the evolution of
the Brickbottom neighborhood and Innerbelt industrial district, and the
long-awaited extension of the Community Path toward Somerville’s eastern
border. Next up, the City will launch an
effort to ensure that the Commonwealth’s transit investment in the
transformational neighborhood around Union Square will generate the new jobs
and housing opportunities called for in the plan. In the fall, the City will begin a series of
neighborhood planning efforts to implement SomerVision goals around the future
MBTA Green Line stations at Gilman, Ball and Magoun Squares. And, as new rounds of funding become available,
we will also be moving forward on streetscape upgrades to the Beacon Street
corridor and Davis Square.”
SomerVision was prepared over
the course of three years, with more than sixty public meetings and hundreds of
community volunteers participating. In
2009, a Steering Committee of sixty residents, businesspersons, community
advocates and elected officials was convened to lead the Comprehensive Plan process. The Steering Committee held monthly meetings
that were advertised to the public, held in accessible locations and broadcast
on public access television. The plan
was endorsed by the Somerville Board of Aldermen on April 12th, and adopted by
the Somerville Planning Board on April 19th.
The Comprehensive Plan is
available for download from the City’s website at www.somervillema.gov/spotlights/comp-plan.
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