Where in Ward 5 would it be appropriate to add more housing? Specifically, where would it be appropriate to add large developments? Small apartment buildings? Duplexes and triplexs?
Due to some unfortunate recent choices with potential sites, Ward 5 does not have too much land left (except along Needham St and perhaps a couple parking lots here and there) that could easily fit larger-scale developments or even relatively modest apartment complexes. Most of our options for increasing housing supply in Ward 5 at this point would come down to zoning reforms to allow for or actively encourage more duplex and triplex housing in currently primarily single-family areas, particularly close to our transit stops and our village centers, and especially in lieu of oversized single-family home reconstructions. But we certainly do need to do our fair share for the distribution of housing density relative to the rest of the city.
As a general matter, I think it is appropriate to add more housing throughout the city (both as a means to address the region’s housing shortage and to promote environmentally sustainable living). I am supportive of developing a context-based zoning code that would provide clear rules to add incremental density in a way that relates to the existing environment. Larger developments are appropriate where larger parcels are available, but we should balance the need for more housing with the need to maintain and expand our commercial tax base, and our zoning code should encourage mixed-use development wherever possible. Small and mid-size apartment/condo buildings are appropriate near village centers and commercial areas, especially where close to transit. It is important that we maintain dimensional requirements that relate to the existing context, and for environmental purposes, a new zoning code should reduce teardown vulnerability and encourage rehabilitation of existing structures.