October 28, 2008

Part 10: Low To Mod Income Housing

We had the public meeting at the South Worcester Neighborhood, after the postponed variance meeting, and a new proposal was shown. It still contained the single building with the 20 plus rental units, but now there was two parking spots per unit as required by code. How was this done?

The number of owner occupied units was cut (think to 6 units but I could be wrong from the original 25) to provide the required number of parking spots. People were still unhappy with a 20+ unit apartment building, but were at least happy that there was enough parking. Still unhappy, I asked when the next zoning board meeting would be held for the remaining variances? Answer: There will not be another Zoning Board Meeting, since the revised plans did not need any variances.

Once it was realized that there would not be neighborhood support, the plans were altered so that there would be no need get neighborhood support for a variance. Ironically this was done by reducing the number of owner occupied units, the original intent of the purchase of the land and what the abutters had wanted all along, not a 20+ plus unit apartment building.

The next step was for the developer to apply to whatever agencies that they need to apply to, but they would build the apartment building first (that nobody wanted) and not the owner occupied units (that everyone wanted) later. You can not make this stuff up?

  • Grants become loans
  • Owner occupied townhouses become 20+ unit apartment buildings
  • Neighborhood support, once realized not attainable, is merely circumvented
  • Owner occupied townhouses are replaced by a large 20+ unit apartment building


Jahn said...

I never knew that Owner occupied or non owner occupied is a zoning issue............maybe I am not up to date on the ordinnace....but I would think that type of issue is completely outside the scope of zoning laws???????

Example.........are you saying that I could biuld an owner occupied duplex on a site w/no varinnce needed but if 1 or both units were non owner occupied it would require a variance???

Jahn said...

Never mind......I think i see what you re saying......they reduced the total # of units to get w/in the req'd parking.....it just so happens they reduced the planned # of O/O units....as opposed to reducing the # of non- O/O units

So they still now need dimensional variances?

Bill Randell said...

Exactly they moved the building to get the right set backs, the reduced the height, they provided two parking spots per apartment etc. It had nothing to do with owner-occupied versus rental.

Bottom line is that when it looked like there would be opposition from abutters to any variances, the plans were changed to not needing to get any variances and proceed no matter what the abutters thought.

Jahn said...

It never ceases to amaze me. South Worc Neighborhood Center ( according to the city treasurers website) has not paid their taxes for the following periods:

Aug 1, 2007
Nov 1, 2007
Feb 1, 2008
May 1, 2008
Aug 1, 2008

Over $4,000 in total unpaid taxes and another $700 due Nov 1, 2008.

Why does the city even entertain zoning variance requests from apparent tax deadbeats and I thought there was also law that said you cannot get building permits if you're behind in your taxes.

This is too much, esp. given the fragile finances at city hall these days.

Maybe they're having a Halloween party this weekend to raise the $700 due on Satuday, Nov 1st? Maybe I'll show up as a $50 dollar bill. Call me Grant.

4rilla said...

Thanks so much in taking us behind the scenes in this whole process.

Very enlightening.

Anonymous said...

you guys are complete assholes. The original proposed project was 10 times better than the outcome of your bitching. Thanks for making yet another set back, vast parking wasteland of a project that doesnt fit the neighborhood. South Worcester deserved mush better, and you ignorant fucks forced the developer to dumb this down to city standards, which are subpar to begin with. Thanks you all for doing a disservice to our neighborhood.

Bill Randell said...


I was going to delete these because of the swears, but I will leave it. Next time I will delete.

Anonymous, you are right. The original proposed project (0wner occupied townhouses) was 10 times better then the outcome. That is why I personally am bitching.


Paulie's Point of View said...

it is so essential that you stick with this Wild Will..this is the problem wih the urban core of Worceser..not enough folks educated enough or invested enough to fight this..

Newton Hill fight against the wet sheler is a perfect example when you have organization and smarts on your side..

Senor Jahn is so right on this issue when it comes to these CDC's..they are out of control, have exceeded their need-so to speak "Mission Accomplished".

Paulie's Point of View said...

I like a good swear Wild Will..I hope you never delete a post cause of this:>)

Bill Randell said...

The ironic thing is I agree with anonymous. The last thing this neighborhood needs a 20+ unit apartment building solely for low to mod income tenants.

We need owner occupied units with people that have greater then low to mod income.

Paulie's Point of View said...

why was the project increased from 10 townhouses

Jahn said...

Anonymous said:

"and you ignorant F+++s forced the developer to dumb this down to city standards, which are subpar to begin with"

Why should SWNC be exempt from meeting city standards.? Just b/c they can get away with timely payment of taxes (a city standard), therefore they s/b allowed to get away with meeting other city standards?

You say the standards are subpar.

If the standards are "sub- par", then maybe there s/b more parking req'd and then you'll have more of a "vast parking wasteland", which you seem to be so opposed to.

I am not a Main South player, but I have a double saw buck that says we all may already know anonymous and the vitriol that anonymous spews.

Jahn said...

Folks, I heard on my car radio thsi morning on WBZ (Boston) that the news cast was brought to us by the City Of Worcester.

A few mins later at the end of the newscast a second spot aired touting Worc's Cultural institutions and advised the listener to access "city of Worc. org" or something like that.

I was surprised to hear the City of Worc bring us the WBZ news. I rarely listen to WBZ. Do others here listen to WBZ regularly and have you heard this spot before?

I am speculating the city is paying for the ad to promote our cultural institutions....maybe with some grant money?......maybe to get those in eastern Mass to Worc this holiday season?

Bill Randell said...


The project started out as 25 owner occupied townhouses. In six months it morpher into one building with 20+ apartments solely for low to mod income with 6 owner occupied units.


Paulie's Point of View said...

any other neighborhood in a city on the move would be fighting this..I have seen the neighborhood and the building..that neighborhod does not need anymore no/lo inc. housing

Bill Randell said...

The neighborhood needs owner occupants!! The very last thing in the world we need a large 20+ unit apartment building that will have to turn away people that have monies that are great then low to mod income.

That is exactly what we are getting.