|December 3, 2009|
|7:00 pm||to||9:00 pm|
From SOMERVILLE, MA City website: There will be a joint public hearing by the Board of Alderman Land Use Committee and the Somerville Planning Board regarding proposed amendments to the Somerville Zoning Ordinance to define senior housing types, add design guidelines, establish Senior Housing Zoning and Dimensional Requirements and incorporate relevant parking requirements.
WHEN: Thursday, December 3rd at 7:00 pm
WHERE: at the VNA facility at 259 Lowell Street
The proposed amendments would create a new principal use named “Senior Housing,” which will be deed-restricted living facilities intended for use only by individuals and families with members 62 and older or for individuals and families with disabilities under the age of 62. The Design Guidelines stipulate, “No dwelling unit shall contain more than two bedrooms.”
In preparation for this meeting, the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development reviewed several recent studies including about Elder migration trends, retirement communities, and Senior quality of life; and reviewed relevant ordinances and plans for 7 other MA cities, plus 5 other cities nationwide.
In addition, with the help of the Office on Aging, they held a “somewhat brief but informative conversation” with approximately 40 Seniors. Relevant to the Census data-driven information that Somerville’s Seniors are migrating out at a higher than average rate; and are also represented within Somerville at a lower than average proportion for both the nation and the state, this group’s members were asked what they thought the reasons for the migration might be.
2 responses were reported: “moving to Florida” and “moving in with family members (perhaps to assist with childcare.)”
The following housing attributes were also valued by this group:
- “real” kitchen
- access to public transportation
- access to shopping , doctor’s office, drug store, hair dresser, etc.
- pedestrian safety and access without barriers to community and neighborhood
- Open space on-site
- Gathering space on-site (open all day not just for scheduled events)
- Near current neighborhood and/or friends.
- They were not enthusiastic about the thought of living in a smaller space than currently occupying and indicated that it would be important to have space to gather within the building where they could visit with friends, play cards, etc.”
Reference: pp. 4-5, OSPCD Report, “Senior Housing Ordinance (all attachments) 10-22-09 FINAL.pdf” found at: http://www.somervillema.gov/alert.cfm?alert_id=253
OSPCD states that AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE SOMERVILLE ZONING ORDINANCE TO INCLUDE A SENIOR HOUSING USE CITYWIDE will “facilitate the construction of senior housing through:
1. establishing new definitions relating to senior housing, assisted living, congregate senior housing, and independent senior housing;
2. revising the lot area per dwelling unit to reflect the smaller unit size for senior housing, while keeping the bulk requirements of the zoning in place;
3. establishing design guidelines for senior housing to ensure that the needs of seniors are met with regard to the building design;
4. increasing the amount of landscaping required; and,
5. reducing the parking requirements, among other changes.”
The Mayor’s letter to the Board of Aldermen, the OSPCD Report and the draft Amendment to SZO for Senior Housing is found at: http://www.somervillema.gov/alert.cfm?alert_id=253
In addition to the Public hearing on December 3, 7 pm at the VNA Conference Room, the Public is invited to submit written feedback on this proposal.
What’s your take, dear reader? Do you think this proposed ordinance will be beneficial and responsive to the known needs of Somervillians?