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Support the People and Neighborhoods (SPAN) of Cambridge

Whereas six years ago in Cambridge’s Growth Policy Document the City government put forth a vision to guide Cambridge into the future; and

Whereas essential parts of this vision are a vibrant, stable, diverse population, an environment where families with children can thrive, and good housing available for different kinds of households at a wide range of income levels; and

Whereas these goals continue to have the support of a broad range of residents; and

Whereas continued, rapid development as allowed and encouraged by the City’s policies and zoning regulations has greatly increased the City’s tax revenues but has also expanded the number of personnel in local businesses and institutions at a rate that threatens the diversity of Cambridge’s population and the vitality of its neighborhoods; and

Whereas continued rapid growth in personnel adds to the demand for housing in Cambridge, drives up market rents and reduces the supply of housing affordable by households of low and moderate income and thereby reduces the City’s economic and racial diversity; and

Whereas this growth has brought traffic that taxes the capacity of our streets, causes undue congestion and disrupts life in residential neighborhoods; and

Whereas this development has increased the need for public open space and at the same time sharply diminished the opportunities to create new playing fields and recreational open space to meet this need; and

Whereas development and other construction have been associated with recent increases in the frequency and extent of flooding in the area of the North Cambridge flood plain; and

Whereas the City Council in 1997 endorsed a two year rezoning study, and the Community Development Department, Planning Board and Citywide Growth Management Advisory Committee have been working on that study for the past year; and

Whereas the City’s Acting Assistant City Manager for Community Development has stated that comprehensive revision of zoning limits (floor-to-area ratios) by October 1, 1999, is a feasible goal for the rezoning study; and

Whereas the City Council has passed an Interim Planning Overlay Petition (IPOP), which reduces the volume of large commercial developments while the rezoning study is carried out; and

Whereas these interim limits are due to expire on October 1, 1999; and

Whereas a resumption of rapid commercial development under current City policies and zoning regulations, in spite of possible financial benefits to the City government, will in the end undo all of our efforts and hopes for Cambridge’s future as a living city with thriving neighborhoods and a rich mix of people;

Therefore, we, the undersigned

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