Costa Questions Lack Of Cost And Analysis For Pope John Project

Does The Administration Do Cost and Analysis?

By Josh Resnek

The 140 units planned for a new affordable housing project at the former Pope John High School in North Everett prompted a raft of prescient questions from City Councilor Darren Costa.

Despite the mayor’s chief of staff Erin Deveney’s interminable, sleep inducing, monotonic dirge explaining the project’s benefits and the iteration of the project, Costa was left to wonder aloud whether or not the new project had in fact been studied sufficiently by city officials and had the neighborhood been questioned about what it wants?

Deveney rolled her eyes. She could not believe what she was hearing.

No one questions the administration except Councilor Mike Marchese since former Councilor Fred Capone left the council.

Capone spoke against the Pope John affordable housing project Monday night.

“The Pope John site could be used to relieve overcrowding in the public schools,” Capone said. “We should think twice about new housing projects. Excessive development is only making the situation worse.”

Costa expressed doubts and a bit of frustration about the city’s ability to perform cost and analysis information for larger projects that affect smaller neighborhoods.

He asked his questions of officials with a bold intensity not usually experienced inside the council chamber in its modern history.

It was as if he wondered aloud about the city’s ability to perform cost and analysis as though it doesn’t really seem to exist.

Costa speaks with intensity and intelligence. He asks questions that left most observers believing Costa is on to something, and that a new star is being born on a city council whose perfunctory existence has been surpassed by public speakers who do not fear the mayor and or the administration.

“Is cost and analysis done before these projects get going?” Costa repeatedly asked.

What a strange, never asked question from a public official on the city council to his col- leagues or those appearing before the council like Deveney and developers.

In staccato fashion, Costa’s questions came from his mouth like high velocity bullets. He asked about planning, and economic analysis conducted by the city.

He wondered about it.

Frankly, Costa made it sound like the city does not do its homework.

Costa made the case that he will not tolerate shoddy economics or at least that he will demand a closer look.

In many, many years this writer has not witnessed a new face on the council who speaks with such a measure of authority, scrutiny, and a brutal, unvarnished expression of honesty. Darren Costa looks and sounds like the real thing.

Can he stand out on a council where he is almost entirely a man alone?

During a go around with Deveney, the mayor’s chief of staff told the council that the new units going up at Pope John will not add new students to the public school system.

She said that all the new units would be housing Everett residents already living in the city coming from other units.

“This will help existing families. No new burdens will be created,” she added with assurance as though her comments were the bottom line. Costa must have wondered to himself about Deveney’s ability to do cost and analysis. Why?

Because Deveney didn’t give a hint of thought to the 140 or so rental units that will be left vacant when those folks move into the new Pope John project.

What happens when those vacant spaces are rented to families with children?

Does the school population again explode? Of course it does.

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