“Something needs to happen,” says Costa
By Josh Resnek
Councilor John Hanlon sure knows how to get people thinking.
Halon has suggested a 5 year moratorium on building.
A 5 year moratorium on building – or anything for that matter – is a daunting prospect to behold.
The city council is taking up the matter in earnest.
The long road began Monday night at a council committee hearing and spilled over into Tuesday night’s council hearing.
As the oldest member of the council, Hanlon represents oldline families hanging on here, fighting against the winds of change, and wishing to have all the development stopped before everything about their lives disappears.
Councilor Darren Costa is new to the council game, but he brings to the council a vision that has been lacking and a lingua franca, a way of expressing himself, that is both concise and clear and delivered cleverly with earnestness.
Costa does not yet understand the power in his manner of presentation.
“The Ward 3 zoning ordinances are out of date. It is difficult to apply the logic of zoning to all of Everett,” he said at the committee meeting Monday night.
Costa spoke about the nuances of zoning here as he has found them from personal experience to be.
“There are some areas that urgently need new development. Elm Street can’t be treated like Broadway,” he added, referring to the disputed 12unit development now under consideration for the corner of Elm Street and Abbott Avenue.
“Twelve units is overboard,” he said.
Costa insisted there are differing concerns in certain neighborhoods that are valid.
Still, he said, “something needs to happen,” that is, to make things right from street to street, from corner to corner, from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Costa said the city government needed to carefully frame the issue of overdevelopment and of moratoriums.
“There are some areas that urgently need development,” he said. He described the Chelsea side of the Revere Beach Parkway as such a place.
He said that zoning must be carefully discussed.
“It’s hard to believe we can destimulate development,” he said.
Costa said a moratorium across the board “would not be good.”
He said he preferred zoning changes and a broader understanding of zoning.
The city’s land use lawyer, Attorney Silverstein, minced no words with Costa, Hanlon and Marchese.
“Citywide moratorium is a very blunt instrument. You don’t need that. For a moratorium needs to be tied to a planning study. You can just propose rezoning specific properties,” he told the councilors.
Costa said zoning should be a collaborative effort.
“I’m looking for a more proactive administration interest with planning and zoning board on writing and reforming zoning laws to create the city’s vision.
He said the council should have members collaborating with the city’s development chief Matt Lattanzi and Silverstein to create an initiative.
To that end, Costa and Councilor Stephanie Smith were named to become city council representatives to the zoning process at planning board meetings discussing future land use.
Also, Costa asked for zoning information – how many variances have been given out in recent years? What are the density figures? How many parking spots have been added?
“It would be good to see some statistics in the wards where we want to preserve the neighborhoods,” he said.
Councilor Al Lattanzi attended the meeting. He recused himself from voting due to instructions from the State Ethics Commission that he should not attend the zoning and planning discussion.
Lattanzi presently is the owner of a property being expanded to 16 units on Main Street.