Feb 20 Update: Snow shoveling & zoning overhaul; Public Hearings; affordable housing task force


February 20, 2015 Update

In this edition:

  • “Getting through Snowmageddon together”
  • Upcoming Public Hearings & meetings
  • Overhauling the City’s Zoning Code
  • Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group's first meeting

“Getting through Snowmageddon together”

  • help get our sidewalks shoveled
  • contact Constituent Services, 311, 617-666-3311, [email protected]

Since my last update to you it’s been all snow all the time. The quote above is the title of the editorial in the February 19th Somerville Journal. It’s a nice piece, encouraging us to chill out, help each other, and keep our heads up (except when we’re walking around the City on the snowy sidewalks)!

The Administration and the DPW have done an excellent job of clearing the streets working incredibly hard and long hours.

Ward 5 residents have been shoveling out sidewalks, street corners, fire hydrants, and catch basins. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard on this. Walking around one does notice that some businesses and residents are breaking the law by not shoveling. They are doing harm to senior citizens, disabled people, parents with young children or strollers, and others who cannot get around if the sidewalks are not clear. I urge you to help the City inspectors who do the ticketing by calling or emailing

On February 25 (see below for details), the Board of Aldermen (BOA) is re-examining the time frame for shoveling. At the Public Hearing, anyone who wants to can speak about snow shoveling or snow removal issues. Or, you can submit your comments by emailing John Long, the City Clerk, at [email protected]. Please share with me any thoughts you have about what is a reasonable time frame for shoveling sidewalks. I have also posted about this on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mark.niedergang where you can share your thoughts with others.

Following the Public Hearing, the BOA Committee on Legislative Matters, of which I am a member, will meet on March 19th to consider and hammer out a proposal to the full Board for changes to the snow shoveling ordinance.

Upcoming Public Hearings & meetings on snow shoveling & zoning overhaul

  • Public Hearing on Snow Shoveling laws Wednesday, February 25, 7 PM at City Hall
  • Public Hearing on the proposed City Zoning Code overhaul Thursday, March 5, 6 PM at City Hall
  • Ward 5 Information Meeting and Workshop on the proposed City Zoning Code overhaul Monday, March 16, 6:30 PM, Visiting Nurses Association, 259 Lowell Street, 3rd Floor Community Room

Overhauling the City’s Zoning Code

In my update of January 2nd, I wrote to you about the Administration’s proposal for a comprehensive overhaul of the City’s zoning code, and the public process by which it will be considered by the Board of Aldermen. Any change to zoning requires a two-thirds vote of the BOA, i.e., eight Aldermen. You can find information about the proposed new zoning code at http://www.somervillema.gov/zoning/

The Public Hearing is an opportunity to share with the BOA and the Administration any concerns that you may have about the proposal or about the zoning for any particular property. Property owners should also submit a form if they want to request a specific change to the proposed new zoning for any particular address.

At the Information Session at the VNA on March 16th, you can learn more about the proposed changes, to ask questions, and to discuss specific properties and areas.

Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group to meet Monday night to begin its work on the affordable housing crisis

I am delighted to be Co-chairing this Group with Dana LeWinter, the City’s former Housing Director. I am excited that this group of 29 experienced, diverse and well-qualified people will have its first meeting this Monday night, February 23 at 6:30 PM at the Argenziano School cafeteria, 290 Washington Street. The meeting is open to the public. The Mayor announced this affordable housing initiative in October and I have been anxiously awaiting appointment of the committee and getting the work underway. After all, Somerville is experiencing an affordable housing crisis, with gentrification and displacement of lower- and middle-income residents happening every day. The City’s response has been too long coming and there is no time to waste. The Mayor proposed some bold initiatives for the SNWG to explore. You can see a news release that lists the Working Group members and describes the scope of it’s the work: http://www.somervillema.gov/news/sustainable-neighborhoods-working-group-selected


Mark Niedergang

Ward 5 Alderman


[email protected]

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