1.) Do you support the creation of a Boston Planning Department?
I believe there is a disconnect between development and planning in the city of Boston, given recent redevelopment proposals such as moving City Hall to the South Boston waterfront, building a destination resort casino in East Boston, constructing a 1,000-foot tower in Winthrop
Square, and Harvard's plans to expand their campus into Allston. A stand-alone planning department could restore some balance, accountability and transparency to the city's planning and development efforts. At the same time, it would encourage a better public dialogue that considers the benefits and impacts of large-scale development plans in Boston neighborhoods.
2) Should height limits in the North Allston Strategic Framework be strictly applied to Harvard's proposed buildings?
Members of the community devoted significant time and thought to develop the North Allston Strategic Framework (NASF). The NASF should be treated as a genuine plan and any proposals for development should be required to adhere to the plan's established height restrictions.
Exceptions should only be made with the approval of the community.
3) Should City Council approval be required before a university can purchase property in Boston?
One of the biggest problems facing the city of Boston is that more than half the city is tax exempt ( i.e., government agencies, hospitals, colleges and universities, etc.), leaving the other half to shoulder the city's financial burdens. Every time an institution acquires a
property, that's one less taxable property for the city. With tax-exempt non-profits comprising a significant portion of Boston, that is significant money lost in city revenue. That hurts the City and many of its programs. That hurts individual residents already struggling to
pay their property taxes and stay in their homes. While I have tremendous appreciation for the valuable contributions that our area's colleges and universities make to our city, giving them a free pass for unlimited growth sets a dangerous precedent, especially when the expansion is for non-educational purposes ( i.e., campus Dunkin Donuts). Giving the City Council the authority to approve future university property purchases will hold institutions to strict standards and require them to demonstrate their need is greater than any potential negative impact on the community.
4) What are your thoughts about a possible Charlesview relocation?
My priority is to ensure that the residents of Charlesview have access to convenient, quality affordable housing. I am hopeful that the decision to relocate or redevelop onsite can be reached through an open process that meets the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
5) What should be the future of the Speedway property on Western Ave?
Although the DCR has oversight over this property, I am committed to working with officials at the state level to ensure the community's voice is heard and respected. I believe we can reach a compromise that permits the sale of this property, provides benefits to the community and preserves the property's historical significance at the same time.
6) How do you feel about the vacant Harvard-owned properties in North Allston and North Brighton?
All Harvard properties should be maintained whether they are vacated or not. Furthermore Harvard should strive to be a good neighbor by providing space to businesses that the community will enjoy and use. For instance, Brighton Mills has long served the North Allston and North Brighton communities and it is important that property, in addition to all Harvard owned properties, enhances the community.