Mark in the News

Somerville City Councilor Mark Niedergang Not Seeking Re-Election

12/11/2020 by Alex Newman, Patch Somerville

On Dec. 2, Tessa Bridge officially announced her candidacy for the Ward 5 City Council seat in Somerville. Though he has not formally announced it, current Ward 5 Councilor Mark Niedergang confirmed to the Journal that he is not running for reelection.

"I am grateful to have had this opportunity and grateful to have met and worked with so many caring, committed, smart and wonderful people," Niedergang said in a release. "I will serve out my full current term through the end of 2021. I look forward to continuing in my current role and working with you for the next year."

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Ward 5 Somerville City Councilor Mark Niedergang not running for reelection

12/7/2020 by Julia Taliesin, Somerville Journal

On Dec. 2, Tessa Bridge officially announced her candidacy for the Ward 5 City Council seat in Somerville. Though he has not formally announced it, current Ward 5 Councilor Mark Niedergang confirmed to the Journal that he is not running for reelection.

“I’m getting too old for this job, and the late night meetings are killing me,” said Niedergang, a passionate morning-person. “It’s time to give somebody else a chance. I’ve done a lot, and by end of next year, I will have been serving the city of Somerville as an elected official for 16 years. There are a lot of things I started trying to do that have been done, so it’s time for me to move on and have a little more rest and relaxation and most importantly, give a new person a voice.”

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Preparing for the worst

1/23/2019 by Jim Clark, The Somerville Times

At the latest regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Niedergang – along with order co-sponsor Ward 6 Alderman Lance Davis – called for the Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (Transportation and Infrastructure) report to the Board in writing no later than February 4 about physical traffic calming measures, and other traffic calming measures, to be deployed in the Ball Square neighborhood to slow the speed of cut-through traffic before the Ball Square Broadway Bridge closes, currently scheduled by the GLX Team for around March 1.

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Moving forward on calming and reducing traffic

1/9/2019 by Alderman-At-Large Stephanie Hirsch and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, The Somerville Times

“... Mark chairs the Board of Aldermen (BOA) Traffic and Parking Committee. (Mark also represents the BOA on the City’s Traffic Commission, a little-known five-member Board that makes many of the important decisions about specific traffic and parking details in Somerville.) Mark has tried to focus on not just the very long laundry list of traffic problems, but on the big picture challenges, like staffing and infrastructure investment, that affect how much progress we can make.”

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Somerville’s condo conversion law faces legal challenge

5/28/2017 by Katheleen Conti, The Boston Globe

“Somerville is hot in every neighborhood. It’s affecting the poorest parts of the city; there’s been huge increases in rent over the past couple of years, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight,” Alderman Mark Niedergang said. “I know a lot of people who’ve been hurt by this. People are being illegally evicted and three months later their building went before the board and now they’re high-end condos.”

... Niedergang said the aldermen are working on a new version of the ordinance in case the legal challenge to it is successful. For example, he wants to update how much displaced tenants would receive from the amounts that were set in 1985, which is now $300 or one month’s rent, whichever is higher.

... “From my perspective, the heart of the law is the part that allows us to regulate two- and three-families, and that’s where most of the conversions are taking place and the worst of the evictions,” he said. “That’s what’s happening here; it’s gentrification.”

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City to examine data on car ownership and parking issues

4/19/2017 by Jim Clark, The Somerville Times

... The order sponsor, Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, told those in attendance at the meeting, “What I’m really looking for here is data that would inform the discussions I think all of us ward aldermen have about development projects – and those Aldermen At-Large who are also involved – around parking issues in proposed new developments.”

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Should Somerville expand its citywide affordable zoning requirement to 20 percent?

Apr 8, 2016, Ald. Mark Niedergang (Yes) versus Ald. Jack Connolly (No), The Boston Globe

In the view of the vast majority of Somerville residents, the danger we face is that in 10 or 20 years, only rich people will be able to live here — unless we take bold action now. A 20 percent inclusionary affordable housing requirement is strong medicine, but we are battling to preserve the heart and soul of our community.

- Mark Niedergang ... click to read more

T Transformations: How The T Has Shaped And Will Shape West Somerville

May 6, 2016 by Reena Karasin, Scout Somerville

... This influx of students into West Somerville has caused significant problems, according to Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, whose ward includes some of the neighborhoods bordering Tufts.

“Tufts is a big issue in the city,” he said, noting many students’ “bad behavior” and pattern of driving up rents.

... Many students have also found ways around the University Accountability Ordinance.

“I know that it’s violated widely,” Niedergang said of the rule.

... Niedergang explained that Tufts students living off campus have already contributed to making West Somerville the most expensive place to live in the city.

“The city’s been trying to get Tufts to build more dorms for years, and basically Tufts has refused,” Niedergang said. “They don’t want to build dorms and therefore there’s a lot of pressure on rental and housing prices in West Somerville. I tell Tufts administrators all the time that they should build new housing when I run into them, and the mayor has also had very frank conversations with [Tufts] president [Anthony] Monaco. I’ve been told by administrators that it’s not one of the priorities.”

... Niedergang is currently pushing a citizens’ petition that would require 20 percent of the units in all new housing containing at least six units to be affordable.

“Lots of people are saying this shouldn’t be considered in isolation. My own opinion is we can’t wait. It could take years for [the zoning overhaul],” Niedergang said.

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Group calls for end to limit on unrelated tenants in Somerville housing

Jan 27, 2016 by Danielle McClean, The Somerville Journal

Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, who attended the meeting, told the Journal he would be open to the idea of adding exemptions in the laws allowing permitted co-op or elderly housing situations with more than four people, with possible parking restrictions. But he said he would not want to get rid of the law altogether. ... click to read more

Nowhere To Runoff: Somerville’s Flooding Problem

Nov 18, 2015 by Emily Hopkins, Scout Somerville

“I think what’s happened in the last generation or so is that even more surface [has been] covered over by concrete,” says Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, citing the combination of increased development and lax regulations as a factor.

“We have the opportunity to get funding from developers for this. These folks are going to be coming in here, and they’ll be building stuff that people will use and enjoy, but they’ll also be making a ton of money. And so they need to do their fair share to help us out with this problem,” he says.

“We need that money. We don’t have $5 billion to redo the sewer system. If this doesn’t get planned out and prepared for, all of a sudden you’re up a creek without a paddle.”

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Neighborhood plan for Union Square proposes significantly larger build-out than SomerVision

Oct 29, 2015 by Dan Atkinson, The Somerville Journal doesn’t address one of the ongoing debates in Union Square’s development, according to Mark Niedergang: Will commercial development be given priority over residential development?

“I’m concerned if we don’t square away commercial development first, we’ll end up with a very different ratio than what we want down the line,” he said at the meeting. ... click to read more

Letter: Election endorsements from Somerville Municipal Employees Association

Sep 16, 2015 by Ed Halloran, SMEA president, and the SMEA endorsement committee, The Somerville Journal

After careful consideration of each candidate’s responses, the SMEA proudly announces its political endorsements for the 2015 fall elections as follows... Mark Niedergang (Ward 5)... click to read more

Wards Host Meetings As Zoning Public Comment Period Wraps Up

Mar 16, 2015 by Emily Hopkins, Scout Somerville

“It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion,” Niedergang said in an email to constituents. “I’m still learning about what’s in the current draft.”

Niedergang will host a community meeting Ward 5 tonight to discuss his concerns with the zoning overhaul and to hear thoughts from neighbors. Among other concerns, he’s worried that there’s not enough open green space required and that the affordable housing quota is too low. He also worries that the new public process may reduce the influence of community members on large projects.

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Three Members Urge Retirement Board to Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies

Jan 28, 2015 by Mark Niedergang, Peter St. Clair and Patricia Wild, The Somerville Times

... We support divestment for two reasons: (1) We believe that our children’s and the City’s future is in peril if humankind does not drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels; and (2) we want to protect our retirement and our pensions. We believe that fossil fuel companies are poor investments... click to read more

Housing affordability a monumental challenge that needs your support

Oct 30, 2014 by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, The Somerville Times

... The answers cannot come from elected officials and city staff alone—they must come from the community. If you have a perspective to lend, an idea to pursue, share your thinking with us. Apply to serve on the Sustainable Neighborhoods Working Group. We will also need your support as we seek changes that are likely to evoke organized opposition... click to read more

Board of Aldermen to scrutinize Condo Review Board

Jan 20, 2016 by Josie Grove, The Somerville Times

The City Solicitor’s office is being urged to review the process whereby developers are granted permits for condominium conversions. The Housing and Community Development Committee of the Board of Aldermen will be taking on the issue of condominium conversions, after Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang attended the December 11 meeting of the Condominium Review Board and found the proceedings troubling. ... click to read more

Green Line Extension project under review until May, Somerville may be asked to pitch in

Jan 20, 2016 by Jake Taber, The Tufts Daily

The MBTA’s proposed Green Line Extension project (GLX), which would string light rail from a rebuilt Lechmere station up through six new stops in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford – terminating at Tufts, at a stop behind Dowling hall – is still being reconsidered in the wake of estimates that projected cost overruns of up to $1 billion. ... click to read more

Recommendations report on affordable housing issued

Jan 15, 2016 in The Somerville Times

Committee of residents, experts, advocates, and industry professionals develop bold and innovative recommendations to address housing affordability... click to read more

Community fights to save GLX

Dec 31, 2015 by Danielle McLean, The Somerville Journal

Sarita Shresta said her business could really use the boost the Green Line extension’s planned Lowell Street station would provide to Magoun Square... click to read more

Outsourcing in Higher Education

Dec 3, 2015 by Nicholas Pfosi, The Tufts Daily

The company from which Tufts contracts its custodial services, DTZ, formerly UGL Unicco, has had a business relationship with the university since 2011. While custodians, union representatives and students demanded that the university make no cuts to the janitorial staff, members of the administration defended the decision to reallocate custodial labor and said that the terms of the reorganization were to be determined by DTZ alone. ... click to read more

Nowhere To Runoff: Somerville’s Flooding Problem

Nov 18, 2015 by Emily Hopkins, Scout Somerville

Suzahne Riendeau had owned her home on Cedar Street for about two years when she experienced her first bad flood in 1998.

“The closer I got to the house, the deeper the water got, until finally I got to my house. The water was about mid-thigh,” she recalls. ... click to read more

Somerville mayor: Community benefits on the table to keep Green Line extension alive

Sep 1, 2015 by Danielle McLean, The Somerville Journal

Mayor Joe Curtatone said he would not rule out sacrificing community benefits during the billion-dollar renewal of Union Square if the project's master developer US2 helps cover possible cost increases of nearly $1 billion to complete the Green Line extension. ... click to read more

Somerville looks to ban plastic bags while state looks to ban its ban

Aug 28, 2015 by Danielle McLean, The Somerville Journal

As aldermen continue drafting a city law that would ban businesses from providing customers plastic shopping bags at the checkout line, a bill making its way through Beacon Hill could put the brakes on such a measure. ... click to read more

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