Mystic Valley Parkway Green Line Extension Community Visioning Process Public Input Meeting #3: Recap of Q&ALand Use, Zoning and Development Q&A: 1. The Route 16 station area has very congested traffic and many accidents at the intersection of Boston Avenue and Route 16. How do these issues play into your visioning process (i.e. parking and pedestrian spaces)?As we are reviewing the various visioning scenarios, we will examine the traffic impacts on local roadwaysaround the station area. We fully recognize that future development in the area will have some impact on thetraffic circulation and volumes in and around the station area. We will also be making recommendations for theimprovement of pedestrian facilities, bike infrastructure, intersection crossings and the placement and type ofparking facilities (if any) in the station area. 2. Does the current zoning in Medford around the station area allow for “transit neighborhood” type redevelopment or would zoning changes be required?The current zoning of the parcels in Medford around the proposed station area would not allow the type ofmixed-use development highlighted under the “transit neighborhood” portion of the presentation on May 17th.The City of Medford does have a mixed-use zoning category within their zoning ordinance that could possiblybe applied to parcels around the proposed station. MAPC will be evaluating this option, as well as looking moreclosely at both the Cities of Somerville and Medford’s zoning ordinances to determine what is appropriate forthe station area. 3. How do the examples shown in the PowerPoint from Meeting #3 fit into the Route 16 area?The intention of the PowerPoint and the examples shown was not be prescriptive and say those specifically wouldfit in and around the station area. The purpose of the PowerPoint examples was to show different types andscales of transit oriented development (TOD) from around the Metro Boston region to provide the public withexamples of things that are being done in the region. The examples were meant to highlight pieces of differentdevelopments that lead to their success over the long term and see which elements, if any, might work at theMystic Valley Parkway station area. 4. Most of your examples of TOD showed one city projects. How does this compare to this station area where you have two cities involved?It can be a challenge to get municipalities to communicate and coordinate zoning in order to facilitate newdevelopment. Fortunately, the parcels in the station area that are in both Medford and Somerville are zonedalmost identically, which will make future development coordination much easier than if they were zoneddifferently from each other. 5. Have you overlooked a land use analysis of the existing conditions around the station area?MAPC is currently undertaking a full land use and zoning analysis of the entire station area and area within ½mile of the station itself. This information will be used to develop the vision for the station area, as well aspresented in the report MAPC provides to MassDOT and the Cities.
6. Have you quantified the multifamily housing and commercial development within the ¼ mile radius and/or potential underutilized parcels?MAPC is currently undertaking this analysis around the station area. This information will be used to develop thevision for the station area, as well as presented in the report MAPC provides to MassDOT and the Cities. 7. What type of TOD projects are envisioned for the station area?MAPC is working with the Cities and the public to determine what types of TOD projects, if any, are appropriatefor the station area. Meeting #3 was the first step in this process by gathering the public’s preferences andidentifying key community assets for preservation and change. 8. Would a phased mixed-use development process be implemented at the terminus (Mystic Valley Parkway) over several years?There are a number of different approaches that both cities could use to implement mixed-use development overtime around the proposed terminus at Mystic Valley Parkway. A phased mixed-use development stretched overmany years is one possible outcome. The purpose of the MAPC visioning process is to work with the public andboth cities to determine the desired outcomes for land use around the proposed station and gain a betterunderstanding of the potential benefits and impacts. 9. Would a master plan be created for this area?The MAPC planning process that is currently under way will help to serve as a master plan for this area byidentifying future development opportunities, land use and/or zoning changes, open space connections, andtransportation improvements. 10. What has transpired with the joint occupancy with the U-Haul that they offered? What’s your position on the offer?MAPC has been in contact with both the local and national leaders at U-Haul and is working with them toidentify potential multi-use options for the existing U-Haul building. It is unclear at this time if a station can beaccommodated along with the existing U-Haul uses. 11. How will the vision for the Route 16 area protect existing historical churches and buildings in West Medford and the Middlesex Canal Park?MAPC will evaluate the proximity of the proposed station to any historical buildings, landmarks or park space.Placement of these landmarks on state or federal historical protection lists limit their susceptibility to beingchanged.Economic Development Q&A: 1. What have you identified as jobs in this area? Please be specific as to the type of job and what income and education level you have identified as coming to the Route 16 area?MAPC is currently in the process of developing an inventory of jobs in the Route 16 area. It is very difficult topredict what type of jobs, income levels and education levels will locate in the area in the future. Those decisionsare predicated on market forces and the choices of businesses to locate in the area. MAPC would recommend amix of jobs that allow employees of various income and education levels to seek employment in the station area.
2. What can we do to encourage small, local, independent businesses and development of the arts?All support and encouragement for small business development is most appropriate and most successful when itcomes from the local community itself. Many communities do not have an economic development or communitydevelopment component within their municipal infrastructure. In order to develop small business, it is essential forcommunities to have in-house, dedicated municipal staff capacity. A Main Streets program is an option thatrequires a lot of work up front, but can be very effective. One of the most successful Main Streets programs inMassachusetts, and also one of the only Main Street programs that is developing arts-based industry clusters isUnion Square Main Streets in Somerville. An Arts Overlay Zoning District can be the beginning, but only abeginning, to fostering an arts community. In most communities there s already a community of artisans who areengaged, but may not be well-organized and must be included in any planning process the municipality maywish to begin.Housing Q&A: 1. Do live-work units mean the small business owner also lives in the mixed-use building?Yes. Live-work units combine commercial or manufacturing space within the same structure as a residential livingspace for the business owner. These units have benefits including more affordable work space for the owner,virtually eliminating commuting costs and can help incubate small businesses that can later expand and occupylarger space within the community. 2. Who sets the affordable housing unit percentage in a development?A municipality can require by regulation or zoning bylaw that a percentage of units in a development must beset-aside as affordable housing (defined as housing for households earning at or below 80% of the areamedian income). The decision to include affordable housing in a development project might also be encouragedthrough the permitting process or in discussions between the developer and the municipality. Some policies thatmight be used to require affordable housing include inclusionary zoning, a 40R Smart Growth Zoning OverlayDistrict, or a community benefits agreement between the municipality and developer. Local, state and federalfunding sources can also be tied to the provision of a percentage of units reserved for affordable housing. 3. What is the price of the housing in the examples of TOD you showed?The examples of TOD shown at the May 17th public meeting included a variety of prices points to highlight thatthese are often mixed-income developments that include market rate housing units and housing that is affordableto lower-income households. Price points ranged from $135,000 for a one-bedroom unit at Station Crossing inMelrose to $450,000 at Station Landing in Medford. The price points of units that are reserved for affordablehousing are typically measured on Area Median Income (AMI) for a household, and that figure varies upon theAMI for the municipality. 4. Who will decide what land, or if, affordable housing will be part of the TOD?A municipality can require by regulation or zoning bylaw that a percentage of units in a development must beset-aside as affordable housing (defined as housing for households earning at or below 80% of the areamedian income). The decision to include affordable housing in a development project might also be encouragedthrough the permitting process or in discussions between the developer and the municipality. Some policies thatmight be used to require affordable housing include inclusionary zoning, a 40R Smart Growth Zoning OverlayDistrict, or a community benefits agreement between the municipality and developer. Local, state, and federalfunding sources can also be tied to the provision of a percentage of units reserved for affordable housing.
5. In the housing models, will multi-bedroom units such as 3 or more bedrooms be incorporated?It is difficult to predict the bedroom mix of a specific project in a visioning process such as this. These decisionsare usually made as developers are working with a municipality to formalize a development proposal. MAPCtypically recommends including a mix of 1, 2 and 3 or more bedroom units to provide housing opportunities forboth small and large households near a transit station.Transportation Q&A: 1. What about bicycle paths and racks?MAPC will be evaluating the existing bicycle pathways and facilities in the area and making recommendationson connectivity to the station and station area, as well as the placement of bicycle racks. The current stationdesign in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Route 16 includes bicycle parking.