December 29, 2008

Southgate Place Time Line

January, 2006

Initial proposal stongly supported by neighborhood
  • 25 owner occupied units
  • 13 condos
  • 12 townhouses
  • 17 (68%) affordable

January, 2007

Neighborhood starts asking alot of questions and becomes quite concerned

  • 21 unit apartment building
  • 11 owner occupied townhouses
  • daycare center
  • not sure of the affordability requirement

January, 2009

Neighborhood does not support

  • 25 unit apartment building
  • no owner occupied units
  • no day care center
  • 100% affordable

In three years, we have seen a proposal for 25 owner occupied units (13 condos and 12 townhouses) with a 68% affordability requirement be transformed into a single building of 25 apartments with 100% affordability requirement. I challenge anyone (anonymous) to contradict any of these facts.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go Bill! Way to lay the smack down!

Harry T
Worcester,MA

Anonymous said...

I will not contradict the facts. I will, however, say this. A project cannot be fought based on market/affordable/low income rent levels, provided it is within the zoning requirements. This would be called discrimination. Zoning also cannot be changed AFTER a project is proposed. If you dislike living in a neighborhood that allows medium density development (this is FAR from high density) then you must either move out (plenty of areas are zoned for single and two family homes), or petition the city to change the zoning. Lets not forget that you willingly moved into an area that has historically been zoned for industry, commerce, and multifamily housing. I, and most other urbanists would never support such a zoning change, and I would hope the city wouldnt either.

Bill Randell said...

Anonymous:

huh? Your basic comment is if you do not like it move.

Why not tell our local and state politicians to stop bringing in tax dollars for projects like these.

Think the cost of this project by the way is something like 7 million dollars.

Bill

PS Anonymous, why do you stay anonymous if you feel so strongly about this

Bill Randell said...

Harry:

Let me point out that Anonymous did not contradict one thing in my time line.

Bill

Paulie's Point of View said...

"I, and most other urbanists"

you are now speaking for all urbanists are you!

Well, I consider myself an urbanists from the day I came out of the womb mate..have owned in the Worcester Urban Core for almost 20 years as well as other urban cores..and lets call a spade a spade..Worcester Urban is moving more towards Utica, New York than forward becuase of yer outdaed urbanist views ....move out these colleges and we drop to the level of Lawrence, Fall River, Utica, NY...shall I go on!

First and foremost you are a man I am assuming NOT an urbanist...if you are going to offer up meaningful debate then act like one and use your name:>)

Paulie's Point of View said...

"If you dislike living in a neighborhood that allows medium density development (this is FAR from high density) then you must either move out"

>>what we dislike is housing project after housing project filled with folks who contribute very little or in most cases nothing to the community but take a lot from it...I'd love to see that project at May & Main to be filled with young families who can afford the young families, professionals & retired baby boomahs! The same for that beautiful dead zone at the corner of Piedmont & Chandler-sit outside some day..you will see more pizza delivery men Enter than the buildings inhabitants Exit!

Paulie's Point of View said...

there is a revolution slowly blossoming within the urban core and it frightens these outdated urbanists (they are now having some of their social engineering projects slowed down and in some cases not happening at all)..finally property owners, business owners and good tenants are fighting back and saying enough is enough...we want our city back minus the crime and grime...and we DEMAND the same quality of life issues that our urbanist friends suggests one has to move to the single family zone to enjoy!

The House next door to me is filled to the brim with folks who all recently just moved to Worcester from New York..not one has a job or cares to from the look of things-all on SSI, Mass Health, free food,free medical-every so often their mail gets dropped in my basket....free blah,blah,blah...this is failed policy that most likely our urbanist friend supports...no doubt!

Rich said...

Bill,
Notice how quick the "D" word came out in anonymous's comment. You must be a bigot if you don't want a 25 unit apartment building put up in your neigborhood. Urbanists like anonymous are quick to make it personal when other folks legitimately challange them.

Bill Randell said...

Paulie:

These anonymous comments remind me of the developer of this project telling me at a meeting that if I could not support the project, I should stay neutral since I was on the board Come again? Yep, that is exactly what he told me.

The saddest part of this whole story is that this developer has partnered with the South Worcester Neighborhood Center, who is suppose to be looking out for the interests of the abutters/neighborhood.

Bill

Bill Randell said...

Rich:

The developer hides behind these projects as saving the homeless. The developer is making a s---load of money on these projects, I have see the numbers.

It is all about the money and they are merely taking advanatage of the low - to mod income residents and the cities that do not fight these projests.
Bill

Paulie's Point of View said...

"It is all about the money and they are merely taking advanatage of the low - to mod income residents and the cities that do not fight these projests."

>>our leaders are in cahoots with these guys:>)

Jahn said...

Folks this all Jim Mc govern's doing.............shut off the money spigot and no more low income projects.......BTW based on the available supply of low income non profit built housing.....it would appear DEMAND is drying up/ dried up?

ANONYMOUS Said:

a. "project cannot be fought.......provided it is w/in zoning req'mts"

If what you mean is this project can only be fought if it doesnt meet zoning...then you're incorrect. Please check out Mass Genl laws Sec 40B. Low income income housing is expempt from local zoning req'mnts.

b. "a project cannot be fought based on market/affordable/low income rent levels...This would be discrimination"

A project can be fought "politically" and it isnt discrimination. A project can also be "de-funded". End of project, but again not discrimination. Witnesss Bob Spellane geetting the funding pulled for a group home on the west side a few yrs ago.


c. "Zoning also cannot be changed after a project is proposed"

Incorrect, zoning can be changed after a project is proposed, the project however if properly, previously submitted would not be subject to the proposed zoning change.

d. "medium density.....high density"

Please define these terms using numbers.


e. "If you dislike living in a neighborhood......petition the city for a zoning change"

Please look up the term Spot Zoning" in a Law book.


Thank you.

Bill Randell said...

Let me emphasize that nobody has challenged the time line as I have laid out...

If this project ever started out as a 25 unit apartment building 100% for low to mod income, it never qould have gotten either the support or monies that they needed.

The neighborhood was lied to.

Jahn said...

How many Sq ft of building are we talking about here. I'd like to calculate the per sq ft cost for this project....as nothing is more expensive than Non profit building housing.

Off topic here....but will the T&G ask the court to order the city to pay their lawyer fees if the T&G prevails in T&G vs. Worcester, Gemme, et al and if so what's it going to cost the taxpayers of Worcester? In the private sector if this scenario unfolds then heads would roll

Also...no news on WPD paygate...

Bill Randell said...

Jahn:

the next five days I will be putting more blogs up everyday on Southgate Place. bear with me.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Nice rebuttals here fellas, all good points. Just to set the record straight, I have nothing to do with this project, I am just an observer.

I am not and will not contradict anything on your timeline because its all true!!

The "D" word was not used on the defensive, nor was it used to point fingers. It was merely used to describe how a project can/cannot be approved zoning wise. Obviously ANY project seeking public funding and/or zoning changes can be altered by not having support of the neighborhood. Unfortunately in this case, by not supporting, something worse is being built.

The comment about changing zoning or moving does not mean move. It just means that as long as your zoning stays the same, your neighborhood will continue to be wide open to these projects. And by the way, changing an entire area to a lower density zone is not unheard of and is not "spot zoning". Something like small lots and 4 or 6 units max per lot is entirely reasonable.

One last thing: Section 8 you will have, and I understand the concern. In the mid-income apts, your a right, a couple making 40000 combined will be rejected. But, a single person can make up to $15.57 per hour and qualify for an apartment or single parent with two children can make up to $19.83 per hour! Now, I realize this is the max income levels, but I think that views on mid-income housing are a bit skewed. These mid-income units make up almost 80% of the project.

jahn said...

Anonymous, IMO, if someone tried to change the zoning of the city builders site from the current RG-5(I assume it's RG-5) to say RL -7, the next more restrictive residential zoning then that would be spot zoning.............i.e. a spot entirely surrounded by RG-5 zone changed to a different zone.

One could not go to outter Salisbury St and change it from RS-10 zoning to manufacturing...as that constitutes "A SPOT" completely surrounded RS-10 zoning.

Yes the council can cahnge zones...but it cannot result in a different zoning spot surrounded the existing zone.

jeepcj85 said...

Actually there are many many spots that are zoned differently and for good reason. For instance If you drive Southgate St from Southbridge it begins as MG-2.0. and stays that way until the corner of Gardner St. It then becomes ML-2.0 for one lot on the south corner of Gardner. It then becomes RG-5 until just before Grand St, not even 1 block, before it becomes BL-1.0. Its only BL-1.0 at the corners of Grand St, and after Grand its back to RG-5 for the remainder.

jeepcj85 said...

and by the way...im anonymous...forgot I had a google account

jeepcj85 said...

The entire City Builders site is currently zoned BL-1.0

Anonymous said...

For the record Jahn, the project was defunded on the west side but opened nonetheless. Also, there has never been a complaint about 2 June Street after the huge neighborhood meetings etc. In fact, if you read the Northeastern U. study, you'll see that the June St. neighborhood post-introduction of the new group home:

1. had property values on par with the fluctuations in the market.

2. enjoyed no appreciable difference in crime.

3. NEIGHBORS support it. The hidden truth is that neighbors actually are either indifferent to or support social services in the community. This was established through door-to-door surveying in the June Street neighborhood which determined support for group homes.

Anonymous said...

Bill Randell just keeps outing the schemers, and that's no joke !!!

:-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCu4ixuRLWU

Harry T
Worcester, MA

Bill Randell said...

Respectfully I think there is a difference between sitting social service agencies and the "affordable" housing development.

Everyone realizes that there is a vital role that our social service agencies play. As long as it is spread out and everyone is notified in advance as to what is being proposed, I think within reason it can fit into the neighborhood.

The "affordable" housing development has nothing to do with filling a need but is BIG business!!!

Paulie's Point of View said...

you are not gonna win with a cat who discusses issues anonymously..this alone speaks for the crowd that supports this stuff..he/she most likely does not live in the City Builder neighborhood.. few who speak like anom do....anyone with a vested interest in a neighborhood would not support this endless supply of housing to the large percentage of folks who give nothing back...and have infested Worcester

June Street original plan was changed after mucho opposition from the neighborhood and pols..you are nuts if you think any of us believe different..

1. how many sales have taken place around the June Street property for you to make this statement? Real Estate market has been down two years now..where do you get your stats

2. For someone not involved with the City Builders project how do you know that there have been no complaints on June Street? I know that a few abutters were upset about the spray painted gang sign that was on the white fence around the propert for one week last year....I also had breakfast with another property owner on the other side of the rotary last week and he would argue your statement..his biggest line to you would be "I live on the westside, to stay away from this shit"..again another example of westside limosine liberalism that I love to remind folks like my breakfast partner all the time about:>)

The funny thing about this issue is that even without this new project...our urban neighborhoods have already been infested with the creeps Mariano has pushed out of the projects..we have house after house loaded with sexy 8's...few of em' working households..our urban schools are crumbling and thus pretty much squeezing out the remaining middle class we have left in the urban core..it is a foolish debate..we have carried our weight helping the needy and it is time to start helping ourselves before we become Utica, NY....end the flow inward of non-productive folks..care for the elderly, helpless, sick and freeloaders we have..start working to correct our schools, create business and make Worcester and not just the westside a desireable place and then we can talk about doing more!

jeepcj85 said...

For the record Paul, The last 2 anonymous comments about June St are nothing to do with me. I am the formerly anonymous poster who has been talking about the City Builders project.

Also, Paul, if you real my last few posts (under jeepcj85) Im not sure how you can say that people who potentialy make $15-20/hr are freeloaders and give nothing back. It is true that there are many many freeloaders out there, but the truth is that if you make $15/hr you cannot afford to live in a 1bd apt in theis city alone nevermind with childrem. I really think a lot of you are lumping affordable housing in with section 8. For instance I used to work as a FEDEX driver. My first 3yrs with the company I wouldve been eligible for an apt in this building. I give back plenty. The fact is that in this housing market, someone who makes $35k a year can not afford to live alone.

Paulie's Point of View said...

Jeep...cause those of us living in these neighborhoods are only seeing these projects loaded up with endless streams of fatherless homes...boyfriend occupied adding nothing to the neighborhoods..more kid's not properly prepared in our already failing schools

I have used the corner of Piedmont and Chandler as an example..nice rehab but pretty much a small warehouse of human beings...park across the street at Sazon Latino Restaurant someday and watch who goes in and who goes out..more pizza delivery boys than folks getting up and going to work..walking to Suney's..Living Earth..Barney's Bicycle

I have no problem offering up affordable housing for folks who are contributing-blame folks like our Congressman who see fit to load these neighborhoods up with endless streams of unproductive folks but do so little for folks like you mention..I have made this statement many times..using the project at the corner of May & Main as an example! Unfortunately, I am seeing few if any projects locally that are doing this but I see mucho three deckahs loaded up with sexy 8's..most who are paying dollars a month on their part..I know for years I had tenants like this..sexy 8 paid $600.00 monthly..tenant paid $8.00:>)...none worked..no husbands..boyfriends who did nothing..kid's not being properly raised which was heartbreaking but what could I do???

I am tired of only hearing about his type of housing being built in the urban core..and I am fed up that his city and it's leaders who do not get it..for the most part Worcester has a late 19th early 20th century thinking about urban living and the poor..in my opinion:>)

I know many urbanists and I consider myself one of them who would argue till we are blue in the face about our ideas about urban living! It does no include the endless bullshit we see in Worcester and many oher loser cities like Utica, Lawrence, Fall River...ecetera!

You shouldn't be having children then if you can not afford to support them....plain and simple, unfortunately few follow this opinion of mine:>) If you can not afford a one bedroom apartment then you find a fellow tenant..this is not uncommon within most urban cores..can't walk into a laundry mat in Boston/Greater Boston without seeing a flyer from folks looking for a roomate!

I disagree with you on he 35K...I have a few (2) bedrooms that are top noch housing that I rent at $800-900 per month...and I know a few landlords who do the same..we keep the rents affordable as long as we get good people..I gave up on sexy 8's..working with groups like Worcester Common Ground years ago...I work hard and I wanna be associated with folks who do the same...

Read yesterdays Boston Globe...black youth murder on black youth 35% increase..when is this going to end??? The same Professor Fox of NorthEastern University suggests MORE MONEY be thrown at the issue...when does human decency to another come into the picture..we stopped expecting this from folks years ago! Just like we stopped expecting a huge segment of the population to pull it's own weight!

Most of what you read on his blog is from very frustrated folks who have also given alot like you have and have lost alot..not sure if you have:>)

Bill Randell said...

jeepcj89 and paul:

Great points... Got to agree with Paul on Newton Square...

The neighborhood asked alot of questions and alot of changes were made. That goes back, however, to neighborhood involvement when these projects are proposed.

At the same time, if you think this has no effect on the value of abutting real estate? Of course it does!!!

JeepCJ89, one of my biggest concerns is that although there are 6 inherent Section 8 vouchers with the underlying project, there is nothing to stop this from this from being 25 Section 8 apartments... Based on the difference in the rents, there is an inherent bias for the developer to rent to a Section 8 tenant versus the guy, or girl, working for FedEx who qualifies under the low to mod income guidelines.

Bill

Paulie's Point of View said...

"JeepCJ89, one of my biggest concerns is that although there are 6 inherent Section 8 vouchers with the underlying project, there is nothing to stop this from this from being 25 Section 8 apartments... Based on the difference in the rents, there is an inherent bias for the developer to rent to a Section 8 tenant versus the guy, or girl, working for FedEx who qualifies under the low to mod income guidelines."

Bill more than me but we both have real life experience knowing that these projects do not have the oversight that they should and I have no doubt about what Bill states will happen...a developer is gonna take out as much cash as he can and with little regard for the neighborhood..I see nothing but a flood of sexy 8's if Wild Will's calculations are correct..

Paulie's Point of View said...

and lets face it...other than Jeep..I know my FedEx guy is not gonna live in a building with 24 sexy 8's and he being the one working cat...especially if they live like they live in my neighborhood...

How come we see so few that work living in these three deckahs in my neighborhood that has three deckah after three deckah filled with non-working folks and few if any working folks??


We can't make this integration work in the three deckahs..how can we do within 25 units??

Gabe said...

I know that for me I am pretty fed up about it. The reason I have been so quiet on my own blog the past couple months is because I am so angry and frustrated that I can't really write what I have to say in an objective manner that isn't going to be more of a problem than it is a solution.

Like Paulie I am not just here temporarily. I am living where I live because I want to make it my home. My apartment isn't somewhere I am living until I can come up with enough scratch to buy in Holden or Fauxlden.

When I get enough money I will buy here, and I will buy in Urban Worcester. At least I hope so.

Lately I have been getting so frustrated at the entire way the majority of Central Mass looks at urban living, from politicians and their constituency, to developers and property managers, to law enforcement, to the people that live in the core themselves.

The majority of Central Mass sees the whole idea of urban core residency as a temporary stopover to an eventual other finality and not the destination itself.

I mean where is the synergy?

Is there one desirable place to live in urban Worcester where commercial and residential coexist?

Why the hell is this? Why do people that live here and just take for granted that if a money transaction is going to take place a vehicle of some sort is going to have to be involved?

I was driving down Belmont between Plantation and Lake on my way to work today and looking at the strip of commercial there. How many of those businesses are there as a direct tie in to UMASS? The entire world in a half mile radius of UMASS should revolve around that place.

One of the biggest teaching hospitals in the country if not the world no? And we can't get any visable economic spin off from that? No visable pedestrian vibrancy?

I am about fed up folks. My urban Worcester experiment might almost be over.

Anonymous said...

Pajama people are ruining Ireland, from todays NY Times, those scumbag Irish are ruing the inner cities:

More dire, however, is the condition of the permanently unemployed in Limerick’s festering ghettoes, where experts say the unemployment rate touches 70 percent. During the early years of the economic revival, the government did its best to spread money to such areas, which are a feature of urban life all over Ireland.

IN fact, it was through social housing projects like these that Mr. Dunne got his start as a developer. But as the investment returns in the private sector became quite obviously more lucrative, the attention paid to so-called social estates like Moyross, on the northern outskirts of Limerick, wavered.

Crime, gangland disputes and a sense of anomie flourished as Moyross and other similar projects evolved as cocoons of poverty and hopelessness amid the riches and celebration of the Irish miracle.

“This place missed out entirely on the moment,” says Stephen Kinsella, an economist at the University of Limerick. “There has been no accumulation of wealth here.”

Walking through the garbage-strewn, empty roads on a cold, misty afternoon, Mr. Kinsella points to the shuttered houses and the mothers still dressed in pajamas taking their children home from school. Social workers in Moyross refer to the “pajama index”: the more men and women one sees who do not take the time and care to dress for the day, the worse the economic situation tends to be.

Paulie's Point of View said...

"the mothers still dressed in pajamas taking their children home from school. Social workers in Moyross refer to the “pajama index”: the more men and women one sees who do not take the time and care to dress for the day, the worse the economic situation tends to be."

>>>economic situations do not override a person's pride for themselves..I've been to Limerick City many times...always been a tough town! This is not new news or because of a decling economy in Ireland