CGMAC PRESENTATION OVERHEADS:
Cambridge Community Development Department
January 16, 1998
CRGM PETITION TOPICS ACTIONS
FAR, height, & density
120' height limit in RC-3, 03, BB, lB; 65' limit for C-2B residences.
housing linkage & inclusion
linkage, deferred inclusionary requirement.
district transition rules
public & design review.
some review refinements, deferred others.
21 locations to OS, Deferred on-lot open space & OS district FAR changes.
Incompletely Addressed Petition Purposes
Scale compatibility, avoid overshadowing
Minimize disruptive district transitions
Prevent worsening of flood risk
Encourage inclusion of affordable housing
Preservation of green space [added at meeting]
1. REDUCE FAR, HEIGHT & DENSITY
Prior Proposal: reduce business & residential FARs
- Adoption would reduce traffic volumes near development.
- Impact Citywide depends upon:
- where "displaced" jobs & housing actually locate.
- how much "outside" traffic would be attracted;
- how much lower densities would lower transit share.
- Adoption would probably result in:
- fewer building "tear-downs;"
- more nonconforming buildings (unless special provisions avoid that);
- uncertain impact on housing affordability;
- uncertain impact on job types.
- There are many powerful causes of traffic increases in Cambridge besides development in
- 14.5% per year auto registration increase in Cambridge;
- 0.3% per year increase in households;
- 1.0% per year increase in jobs;
- 2.0% per year increase in regional traffic potential;
- Life style changes.
- Simple FAR reduction reduces trips only by reducing future jobs, housing, and taxable
- Bulk control inexactly addresses traffic: trips vary hugely in relation to floor area
among business uses & locations.
- Performance-based zoning controls could more sensitively address congestion and less
heavily impact jobs, housing and taxes
Purpose: scale compatibility, avoid overshadowing
Establish uniform cornice line.
- Height reduction consequences vary in complex ways by district.
- Appropriate heights may vary within present districts.
Purpose: scale prevent worsening of flood risks
Apply 100-year flood zone rules to 500-year flood zone
Reduce flood zone FAR to 0.5.
- Proposals might result in lower larger footprint buildings.
- Proposals substantially reduce Alewife area building potential.
- Alewife flooding is a real but complex problem, and these proposals don't address real
- FAR only indirectly relates to flood displacement or groundwater recharge.
- 500-year flood zone controls provide small risk reduction at large "cost."
- 500-year flood zone poorly describes the relevant drainage area.
- More effective techniques are available.
2. ESTABLISH DISTRICT TRANSITION RULES
Purpose: minimize disruptive district transitions
establish Transition Control Plane
- The proposal is highly complex in application.
- Creates large disparities between height and FAR as allowed and that which is feasible.
- Appropriateness varies among district boundary conditions.
- Likely to increase variance requests.
- Deferral risks objectionable buildings being "locked in." Acting before
adequate study risks damaging later reversals.
3. PROTECT OPEN SPACE
Purpose: avoid excessive impervious surfaces, loss of open space
Revise on-lot open space dimensional rules.
Reconsider Open Space District FAR rules.
- On-lot dimensional rules address concerns directly.
- Dimensional rules significantly reduce achievable FAR on some parcels.
- Proposed Open Space District rules may constrain recreational facilities.
4. AFFORDABLE HOUSING INCLUSION
- Housing cost increases resulting from open space rules on small parcels might hurt
- Dimensional proposal is likely to increase demands for relief by variance and for staff
interpretation of complex rules.
Purpose: encourage inclusion of affordable units in housing
- [Petition] Provide 25% density bonus as incentive if half "extra" units
- [Department] Require developments over some size to include affordable units,
compensated by density increase.
TOPICS AND ITEMS
Topic 1. Reduce FAR, Height & density
Reduce FAR in Residence A, B, and C-1 zones.
Reduce FAR in Commercial zones.
Topic 2. Establish district transition rules.
- Transition and height rules.
Topic 3. Protect Open Space
- Revise Residential open space rules.
- Reconsider Open Space District FAR rules.
Topic 4. Affordable Housing Inclusion