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Feb 27th, 2020
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  1. Christopher —
  3. We know what happens when conservation districts are misused. Growth and renovation become harder. The housing supply gets smaller. Affordability goes down.
  5. But home values go up for current owners. Way up.
  7. A neighborhood conservation district is being studied in East Cambridge, and we need East Cambridge, Wellington-Harrington, Port, and Kendall Square residents to attend a Neighborhood Conservation District Study meeting to ensure East Cambridge doesn’t become even less affordable.
  9. East Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Meeting
  10. Monday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m.
  11. East End House
  12. 105 Spring Street
  14. The study began after a few owners in East Cambridge got together and petitioned the Historical Commission for a neighborhood conservation district for East Cambridge. In their public materials, they cited increasing their home values as a reason to impose a conservation district on the neighborhood.
  16. The Commission agreed to the study, and it launched in January. Rules are being drafted that could increase rents and barriers to home ownership for generations to come. The meetings aren’t well publicized, and are mostly attended by homeowners and serial meeting-goers.
  18. The Commission wants to decide on goals for the district on Monday. We need you there to make sure a Conservation District does not worsen our housing crisis. Every voice is going to matter.
  20. On Monday night, the community can choose from two different paths. One would impose on the neighborhood a litany of onerous rules and regulations that would make development and renovation expensive and time-consuming. The other path would use a lighter touch to balance growth with conservation.
  22. Like our entire city, East Cambridge has a storied history that needs to be respected. Conservation districts can rely on existing laws to preserve truly historic architecture, including the city’s recently strengthened tear-down ordinance or landmarking tools already in place that have been put to effective use in East Cambridge.
  24. ABC would also like to see the Historical Commission:
  26. Rely on education, information sharing, and public assistance through grants from the Historical Commission to empower residents to knowledgeably and consensually protect the historic features of their properties.
  27. Create zero new regulatory or cost barriers to living or working in East Cambridge for renters, new home buyers, immigrants, entrepreneurs, long-term residents, local businesses, or anyone seeking to contribute to the fabric of our community.
  28. We need all hands on deck for this one, so bring friends! Respond to this email to let me know you’re coming.
  30. If you can’t make it to the East End House on Monday, there will be opportunities to speak up at future public meetings. You can find a schedule here, as well as more information about the study.
  32. Hope to see you on Monday night!
  34. Dan Eisner, A Better Cambridge
  36. PS: If you haven't yet become an ABC member in 2020, now is the time. We need your support!
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