SCC firmly supports the community’s hard work to reach an agreement between US2 and the Union Square Neighborhood Council for a CBA (Community Benefits Agreement). SCC’s top priorities through the CBA are: 1) to make sure the new development in Union Square includes timely and ample affordable housing, and 2) that the development provides quality jobs and career growth opportunities for low income residents in Somerville.
Last week, SCC’s CEO, Danny LeBlanc, gave testimony at the Planning Board’s Public Hearing to review the proposed D2 area within US2’s proposed plan. SCC took the position to support this permit in order to ensure maximum affordable housing, which could be at risk under certain scenarios. There is a plurality of recommendations on the table for what should be included in the permit, many of which do not include the degree of affordable housing that SCC knows the community needs. It is important that SCC play a vigilant role to support a permit that includes the full target of affordable housing, which could be lost without SCC’s presence and community support.
At the same time, SCC fully supports a CBA agreement that results in maximum community benefit. While SCC determined it needed to be present at this stage of the permitting to advocate for affordable housing, SCC has taken a firm position that it will not support a Land Transfer agreement until a CBA is reached.
Danny LeBlanc’s Testimony:
“On behalf of our board of directors, we support your approval of the D2 and D3 proposals that are in front of you and what we want to underscore about those proposals is the affordable housing impact. I want to point out that as proposed 450 units with 20% inclusionary – that’s 90 units of affordable housing and it’ll be by far the largest housing development under Somerville’s still new 20% inclusionary housing requirement. We also believe, based on some of the community benefits negotiations going on, that there would be opportunity for some additional up front affordable housing, correlated with the D2 development and we support that and are trying to participate in that as well. With respect to comments, we have been from day one part of coalitional efforts and we’re not explicitly part of the community benefits negotiations, but we’re aware of them, we know they’re going on. We think and hope that they are close, and we want to urge the completion of those, and as an organization, we support your approval of D2 and D3. We also support holding up the transfer of the land until those benefits negotiations are completed. We think they are close – we would like to urge everybody to expedite that so that we can all get moving on.”