A controversial building moratorium on the City Council’s agenda next week is reportedly undergoing changes to make it fairer to several parties adversely affected by its passage according to someone with knowledge of the changes.
Many residents of Munjoy Hill are tired of the gentrification taking place on the Hill. They argue it causes well-documented excessive rent increases and can destroy the fabric of this community. The city’s failure to address the crises over the years has only exacerbated the situation.
City Councilor Jill Duson, chair of the Housing Committee, has failed to initiate policies that would address these long festering problems pitting neighbor against neighbor on Munjoy Hill – a community where homes are jammed in beside each other – occasionally because of relaxed zoning policies passed by the city several years ago. And so, some of the residents have overreacted to the crises – demanding unfair and unethical remedies to the situation in return.
A proposal that would create a 180-day moratorium on new developments in which demolishing the existing building is required has been initiated by District 1 City Councilor Belinda Raw. The “pause” would give the planning department time to reconsider changes to the zone. It is on the council’s agenda for Monday, December 18, 2017 with a vote scheduled to take place at that time.
However, an amendment to the proposed moratorium on the demolition and construction of certain residences on Munjoy Hill is reportedly a work-in-progress by Councilor Raw.
Although specifics are unavailable at this time, it is believed that exemptions to the 180-day moratorium will apply to applications already filed with the city’s planning office by December 4th – the date of the first reading of the proposed order at the city council meeting earlier this month. Although “the devil is in the details,” it could be a fair compromise rather than the continuation of an overreaction to a crises on the Hill that city officials and the Housing Committee, particularly, have ignored.
The properties located at 24 St. Lawrence Street and 25 Monument Street fall into that category. Neither owner of the properties targeted by Maggie Wolf, Paula Agopian and Karen Snyder is a wealthy developer looking to make a fast buck and get out – as has been suggested by some. Both building owners plan to live in the new condos they build. The Williams family has lived at the 24 St. Lawrence Street address for over fourteen (14) years.
Although neighbors on St. Lawrence Street are concerned about the changing fabric of the area, for some the possibility of loosing their views is a greater concern – a subject several refuse to talk about “openly” to the press. Some of these Hill residents were also opposed to the redevelopment of 58 Fore Street – over which some look, but not all of them. Some supporters of a moratorium claim these are historic buildings. However, this blogger could not find any evidence to support that claim. For example, neither George Washington, poet Henry W. Longfellow nor Governor Baxter ever slept in either building the proposed moratorium would adversely affect.
Please read post herein dated November 15, 2017 for more background on the controversy surrounding the property at 24 St. Lawrence Street.