October 19, 2008

Part 3: Low to Mod Housing Project

What mistakes were made here and what can we learn?

First the project was simply too big and did not fit into the character of the neighborhood. This is a neighborhood full of 3 deckers scattered with a few single family homes. Then considering how small parcel of land, 12 units was not only too dense but simply does not fit into the neighborhood and looks out of place. A tri-plex with with underneath parking for one car and one outside parking, in the 500-600K versus 2,000,000, would have been a much better plan.

Second, the zoning board has to stop allowing variances for all of these low to mod income projects. This project was relieved of 12 parking spots in a neighborhood that already has no off street parking as well as 270 feet of frontage. Don't get me wrong the zoning board works incredibly hard at no pay, but this project never would have been approved if it was a private developer. There is understanding in the City of Worcester that the CDC's get any variance they want since they are building low to mod housing. This needs to stop.


Paulie's Point of View said...

perhaps it is time for a more professional Planning Board..one that is a paid position

How does Boston, Providence handle this position, anyone know?

Bill Randell said...


Let me stress the Zoning Board does a great job. In the past anytime a CDC gets in front of the board, however, and say low to mod income, anything that they ask for is approved. Although this has improved, a project whether it be for low to mod income should be held to same standard as a private developer.

How Boston and Providence does it, I don't know?

Jahn said...

The thing that really boterhs me is that the same people who cannot unload the remaining 9 units on Cambridge/Haccker Sts (basically screwed up) have already been approved in Washington (Boston, too?) for funding and I assume the city will be on the hook for Home funds again to the tune of $25,000 per unit for building how many more units at the old City Builders site on Armory St?............whichs units will be coming up against the marketplace we're in now and will be in fora number of years to come.

To coin a T&G phrase from todays paper.......Cambridge/Hacker St project is the soup de jour for why there s/b NO MORE low income housing built in worcester.....never mind the fact we're already 30% over the state mandadted minimum for so called affordable housing.

Who in God's name would fund Jons Rod & Gun Club to build low income housing if Jon is a completely clueless guy who has no experinece in building or dev'ment or constr managemege or property managemtn or the like?

1. Bank North with blessing on high from Mt St james?

2. The city

I lay 99% of the blame for thsi low income housing disaster that has overtaken Worc in the last 15 years to Washington DC and in particluar Havana Jim Mc Govern for 13 of those last 20 yrs. In other large cities acroos maerica they are razing housing projects............us we're rehabbing housing projects and then to top it off building more littel Greaty Brooks Valleys ( dense housign projects) all over Main South.

T&G next hit piece should focus on this..............BTW....good job by T&G today on a local pol.............guess they are getting back to their roots for once..........dirty pols help sell papers........wasnt a piece alos done a while back on thsi same guy who took $$$$$ from his campaign acct to buy a new car and it was chalked up a bookkeeping sanfu..............$30,000 a mere snafu per Tatnucks Finest...

Bill Randell said...

Southgate Place I will write about that soon and you are beating to the punch.

One would think after Cambridge/Hacker Street that South Worcester would have a hard time getting funding?

You are wrong I will cover that shortly.

Jahn said...

You know I am wondering re: HC...........is HC actaully backing this Bank North $1.4M loan.........or is it the organization that seems to be associated with HC.........one Matthew 25. My understanding is that M25 is also some sort of non profit/charitable organization that provides low income housing via rehab or new constr...and that somehow they are tied to or associated with HC or loacted up the HC campus????

But my real concern is if HC is operating w/in its allowed non profit college parameters when they are acting as a guarantor for low income subsidized housing that has nothing to do with HC's mission as a collegiate non profit.

The same question could be asked re PILOT payments. Would Holy Cross be operating within its non profit college status if it made payments to the city that are not really required of the college? I guess it prob. is OK as some of the boston colleges do it ???

Imagine if one is a graduate of HC and is also a landlord in Worc who is experiencing continued, on going, multiple residential vacancies and then you see your alma mater to whom you give a nice fat donation every year subsidizing your competition..........the non profit low income housing builders.

Time to end thsi eupemmsim of low income or affordable housing and call it what it really is................SUBSIDIZED HOUSING.........

Jahn said...

Whats the nexus of WPI to Gateway Park in North Main St area?

Do they own it and/or subsidize it...or...or rent there or....what??

Jahn said...

Whats the nexus of WPI to Gateway Park in North Main St area?

Do they own it and/or subsidize it...or...or rent there or....what??