CCC had an important victory at the Cambridge City Council meeting February 28, 2022 with a 5-4 vote to send a policy order intended to eviscerate architectural preservation efforts, specifically Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCDs – Policy Order #11/35) to the City Council’s Neighborhood and Long-Term Planning (NLTP) Committee (chaired by Councillor Dennis Carlone) for further study and revision. The plan on the table would have eviscerated existing the architectural preservation work of NCDs, making it more difficult to create these districts, and enabling their easy termination. See also our related: Neighborhood Conservation Districts - letter (2.27.22).
Huge thanks to Councillors Dennis Carlone, Patty Nolan, Paul Toner, Quinton Zondervan and Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. This will allow for thoughtful discussion of the issues within a context that would enable us to preserve not only this important local preservation vehicle but also to update it in a manner that will be consistent with Mass state 40C legal guidelines while updating the language if needed. The alternative plan (and votes) were to either to fast track the problematic policy order through the Ordinance Committee, or move it instead to the Housing Committee (proposed by Councillor Burhan Azeem, and supported by Councillors Mallon, McGovern, and Simmons) focusing on larger housing concerns (walls, roofs, affordability), rather than on preserving our rich fabric of historic buildings, and adding new districts, specifically here, our rich Each Cambridge area that was the historic home to so many of our Irish, Italian, and Portuguese émigré community and the diverse domestic and commercial buildings that have been long part of this community. Opposition to this effort largely has been aligned with developer interests, in relation to the increased number of laboratories coming into this and other parts of the city. What we know in Cambridge (and elsewhere) is that Neighborhood Conservation District allow change where needed and tend to keep sky rocketing housing prices more in balance. Read our blogpost: Does Housing Really Become Less Affordable within Conservation Districts - Actually No NCDs also provide a forum for neighbors to provide input into changes being proposed.