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Mayoral candidates’ visions for development

Rob Consalvo

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I would improve the BRA with reforms to make it more transparent and I’m eager to bring in new residents who might have innovative ideas for planning and development into the BRA’s leadership ranks. As mayor, I will make sure the next director of the BRA is an innovative thinker who has experience in green development and climate change. I will make the city’s planning and bidding processes transparent by ending the practice of no-bid contracts and streamlining the permitting process to reduce the number of city agencies involved, and as possible move the process online to make it easier for residents.

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Q: How would you imake housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: I would create a Mayor’s Office of Ideas and Innovation to harness the creative brainpower of Boston to identify innovative approaches and new solutions to lingering problems like increasing affordable housing options. My Administration will collaborate with employers from the various sectors of the Boston economy, including financial services, higher education, health care and others, to establish low interest loans and other employer-assisted housing models, promote sustainable green development through smart growth and a transit-oriented approach along rail lines, work to preserve our existing affordable housing stock and continue to support, as a priority, important city-funded housing programs such as Leading the Way and develop a comprehensive plan to provide housing for middle-class residents who are priced out of luxury housing and don’t qualify for affordable housing.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: I have no problems with taller buildings in Boston, but I think each project is unique and I’ll make sure the planning and development process in open and transparent.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: We must proceed with caution with relation to reducing parking in our residential neighborhoods because we must take into account the many young families with children who need access to a car as well as residents in our southwest corridor neighborhoods who don’t work downtown. I support policies that make it easier for people to get around Boston without a car. I want to make sure every resident of Boston lives no more than a five minute walk from an accessible form of alternate transportation, by extending HubWay and Zipcar into our neighborhoods, installing new car charging stations for electric cares out in the neighborhoods and modernizing the MBTA system.

Bill Walczak

Q: Would you seek to chnage or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

I would not abolish the BRA. I believe that the current structure could work very well for the city with a few key changes. First of all, I would build up the capacity of the BRA to do intensive Master Plans throughout the city, particularly in areas with existing infrastructure strengths. The Master Plan process must be open, comprehensive, transparent and professional. Second, I would coordinate the planning with state government and other regional municipalities to ensure that we consider all of Greater Boston’s attributes as we prepare city plans. Boston is the center of our regional economy and we must start thinking, planning and acting regionally. Third, I would focus the BRA’s development capabilities and city budgets (operating and capital) to implement and support the Master Plans. The most important change to the BRA will be a primacy on planning for the city and neighborhoods needs, not the interests of developers. That is not a structure change but a philosophical change.

Q: How would you imake housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: Housing is really a Greater Boston issue. I will work with the state and other regional municipalities to build more housing. We really need to increase the metropolitan supply of housing to lower, or stabilize, housing prices. More housing supply outside Boston helps to moderate the city’s housing prices. It is absolutely necessary today to follow our region’s rapid transit lines and work to build new housing near transit stations-regardless of the existing political boundaries. Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is necessary in Boston and other Greater Boston municipalities. State government can play a very active role in supporting, and funding, this approach.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: I do support dense, high-rise development as long as it is properly planned and in the right locations. Certainly, we should build higher and denser at public transit stations. Such development, particularly mixed use development, can create very desirable neighborhoods and provide much needed housing for a range of income levels. One size does not fit all. Careful and thoughtful planning can certainly produce successful high-rise development.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: It depends on the location. If a development is built near public transit stations, then I could support a reduction in required parking spots. If, however, a development is in a section of the city distant from public transit, there is less likelihood that residents would use public transit. A real problem for many Boston residents is the availability of on-street parking. The key is to have comprehensive planning done throughout the city to tailor development, including parking requirements, to each individual situation.

Marty Walsh

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: As I travel around the city, it is clear that many people are unhappy with how development decisions are being made in Boston and its neighborhoods. As Mayor, the BRA, as we have conceived of it for over half a century, will be reconfigured and adapted into a 21rst century model of vision, transparency, and efficiency. Under my plan, the mayor will have less direct power; multiple current entities with similar responsibilities will be morphed into one creating tax savings and eliminating duplication; existing Boards will be merged; and individual citizens and developers will find a process that is more open, less arbitrary and far easier to navigate.

Q: How would you imake housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: Ideally, increasing the overall supply of housing should help to meet demand and moderate rent increases. The demand is so strong, however, that even as new apartments are built, rents continue to increase. As a result, the city is increasingly unaffordable for many of its residents. Indeed, at $1,850 per month, a household would need an annual income of about $74,000 to afford this rent (150% of the city’s median household income!).Even in neighborhoods with lower rents, such as East Boston and Mattapan, incomes of approximately $60,000 are needed to afford the rents. Low-, moderate-, and middle-income residents of Boston have few choices for good quality housing across this city. Boston must be a city that is both welcoming to residents of different incomes and insures long-time resident that they and their children can continue to live in the city. For this reason, we must redouble the City’s efforts to provide housing to a range of incomes through revamping the Inclusionary Development Policy, encouraging mixed-income housing near transit in all of Boston’s neighborhoods, and securing additional public resources for Boston’s lowest income residents. My experience and relationships with the state legislature will provide a boost to efforts to secure these resources.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: New development, in any neighborhood, must be at a scale that compliments existing structures and takes into account the needs and interests of neighborhood residents. Certain areas should be designated for more dense development, especially near existing high density areas, or adjacent to mass transit. These mixed-use developments not only provide the commercial and residential space needed for a thriving, growing city, but they bring new life to once-dead streets. Although not the scale of the downtown high-rises, strategic developments in our neighborhood business districts that combine commercial and residential uses create stronger and livelier centers for neighborhood life.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: This is a different issue when we’re talking about downtown than it is in the neighborhoods. I support changes in the zoning code that reduce the number of parking spaces required, but it must be done in a way that is takes into account a real assessment of demand and supply. Many zoning codes related to parking, both in Boston and elsewhere, were created at a time when car usage was expected. We must take a look at how demand for parking is changing, and get a more accurate account of the number of off- and on-street parking spaces. We can then provide real projections of need, given scenarios where we create walk-to-work neighborhoods and encourage increased use of public transportation and bicycling. Decisions related to parking requirements should not be made on a development-by-development basis, but should be part of an overall plan for each neighborhood, which coordinates planning, development proposals, as well as the day-to-day traffic and parking management functions of the Boston Transportation Department. A balance between the ongoing needs of residents and businesses, and an ideal, less car-oriented future must be found.

Dan Conley

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I would retain the current structure and function of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. However, as the only candidate in this race who has managed a large, complex public agency and been the final word on the decisions that are made, I can tell you that any institution or organization can be improved. Anyone who has followed my tenure as District Attorney knows that I stress core values like transparency, accountability and professionalism and use them not merely as buzzwords but as tools toimprove accountability and public confidence in the agency. In so doing, even when difficult decisions are seen as benefitting one party or adversely impacting another, there is a general acceptance that the process itself was fair and the decision was made on the merits.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has broad statutory authority which is its great strength and has helped usher in tremendous growth and opportunity for our city. When any power is applied without sufficient transparency, predictability, sensitivity and community input, it can lead to resentment and backlash. I believe that, were values like transparency, accountability and professionalism practiced consistently throughout the development process, which includes neighborhood residents actively engaged and included in an open and predictable process, public confidence in the BRA would improve without sacrificing its overall effectiveness.

Finally, even as we strive for a process that is predictable for developers and neighborhood residents alike andas professional and transparent as possible, it also makes sense to review what works and what doesn’t work with respect to current planning and development process, including the neighborhood review process, and would convene a task force to review and recommend changes. Similarly, as mayor I would advocate for the creation of master plans for each neighborhood, created with the input of neighborhood residents, businesses and stakeholders.

Q: How would you imake housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: Housing costs are a function of supply and demand. For years, Boston has been produced a truly impressive amount of new housing to meet demand, but Boston and the region are simply growing too fast. I support Mayor Menino’s plan to create 30,000 new housing units by 2020, but the state estimates that Massachusetts (mainly Greater Boston), will need 10,000 new units a year over the next decade to meet demand. These figures underscore Menino’s oft-used phrase that Boston can be a leader on housing, but it can’t be a loner. Other cities and towns need to share responsibility and it must go beyond market rate and housing targeted towards the middle. It must include affordable housing and other services for the poor and vulnerable.

While linkage and state and federal subsidies help to create affordable housing and the market meets the demand for high-end housing, creating middle class housing is especially difficult. Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy is helpful and important to help pay for some housing above affordable, but we need to look even further.

My housing plan includes reconsidering density requirement and looking at micro-units as one source of workforce housing, ideal for areas where there is a need to create more dense residential clusters. It would offer financial incentives to middleclass homebuyers so the cost of updating old or dilapidated current housing stock isn’t a deal breaker for middle class homebuyers. It would also incentivize developers to create more family friendly housing, and reduce the cost of middle class and famiIy-friendly housing, by making city owned lots available to developers at low- to no-cost in order to reduce or eliminate the cost of the land.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: As a general rule I think we need to look at creating more density. Density is a word that has carried negative connotations for a long time, but if managed and planned correctly, density can add immeasurably to the vibrancy of a city. The city of Paris, for example, is roughly to same physical size as Boston but has three times our population. The key, of course, is planning and managing it correctly.

Micro-units, for example, are a way of increasing density without necessarily building skyscrapers. Micro-units provide small-space, efficiency living for single residents at an affordable price and so are a source of workforce housing worth pursuing. Micro-units are only about 300 feet and residents rely on shared spaces like large communal living rooms and outdoor spaces. But micro-units need to be properly integrated into a neighborhood. They only make sense in the right places, specifically areas where an overriding goal is to add lots of life to a neighborhood. Micro-units create denser clusters of people who form communities, patronize local businesses and so forth so their benefits go beyond even cost.

Clearly, such small space living is not for everyone, especially young families, so in some places reconsidering height to increase density is also necessary. But the goal here cannot be simply to create lots and lots of housing, but to build strong, sustainable communities. This means that housing development has to happen hand in hand with other development so that, whether it’s young professionals, young families, or empty nesters, there is a proper mix of services, entertainment and recreation options to support and sustain a community. Coupling housing development with transportation and other economic development not only makes it more attractive for residents but itself spurs further other growth.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: I believe this policy should be carefully tried and tested before it is too broadly implemented. Let’s start in neighborhoods where there is easy access to public transportation and demographics showing residents who are more apt or eager to take public and other forms of transportation.

I understand the rationale behind the policy shift. The number of registered cars in Boston has dropped off by about 14% in the last five years. Boston’s population is growing due to young people who are less likely to own car or even have licenses. They’re more inclined to want to walk or bike to work or take public transportation. In those places it makes sense not to force developers to create parking spaces that would go unused and instead apply those resources to create more open space and so forth to benefit a neighborhood. The policy is also clearly designed to create a healthier, greener city overall, which is good.

As in all things, balance is essential. For families with young children or people caring for an aging parent, their car is a necessity and a lifeline. And while many residents prefer to walk to work, many still also own cars that need to be parked somewhere. And in those neighborhoods where there is less easy access to public transportation, where competition for limited spaces remains fierce, and the local population is still growing, I would proceed with caution and would actively seek out the full input of neighborhood residents. Those might not be easy conversations. In many instances, city officials can fully expect that residents won’t tell them what they want to hear. But these conversations need to be had. It’s what leadership requires, and they are critical to building consensus and support over the long term.

Charlotte Golar Richie:

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: As Mayor, I would retain the planning function of the BRA and increase the transparency of the BRA’s development and planning processes. The BRA has had an historic role in the successful revitalization of Downtown Boston, now I want to leverage that experience and bring “transformational” projects to our underserved neighborhoods. I want more of our neighborhood commercial districts to thrive with planned developments that bring new businesses, jobs and workforce housing. Under my administration the upgraded BRA will have the same level of success with the business districts of our neighborhoods. In addition, it is critical that the BRA allocate just as much focus in neighborhood development as it has done with downtown development. I will have the golden opportunity to bring in a new BRA Director and charge he/she with developing a plan that consolidates the permitting process and assigns applicants a staff person responsible for navigating applications through a more streamlined system.

Q: How would you imake housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: The increased cost of living in Boston is one of the greatest challenges I will face as Mayor. Fortunately, as the former Director of the City’s Housing Development Agency, I have a well-documented record of producing over 18,000 units of housing with a significant portion of them affordable.

As Mayor of Boston I would set a very aggressive goal of building 5,000 new units of affordable, quality housing in this City. Part of this can be achieved through changes in our Inclusionary Development Policy, which was developed and implemented during my tenure as Chief of Housing and Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. As Mayor, I would increase the percentage of units required to be affordable on new construction where certain conditions exist, such as the development of public land and/or public funding is sought. The cash-out payment for developers who do not provide on–site units rises with CPI and I would reassess if current rates reflect the true costs of constructing affordable units.

And lastly, should Boston be successful in attracting one of the State’s new casino developments, I would direct a portion of the City’s negotiated revenue stream to affordable housing. With this potential new source of revenue, I consider using the bond market to raise capital for the construction of workforce housing.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: There are clearly areas in the City where density is appropriate and should be encouraged. The Christian Science Property project being developed by Carpenter and Co. is clearly an appropriate site for high density as are several other downtown sites. The Fenway is also another example of using zoning regulation to achieve appropriate density. Steve Samuels has done a great job of working with the Fenway community and the City to build appropriately designed buildings that have become catalysts for neighborhood revitalization.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: As Mayor, I have to be forward thinking about our future transportation needs and infrastructure. I agree in principal that reducing the number of parking spaces in congested areas of the city is a good policy, especially if it helps our endeavor to create more space for affordable units. However, this policy must also be coupled with a full multi-model transportation plan that expands all options for increased public transportation. And my administration would carefully execute this policy so that it would not have any negative effect on our economy or functional workings of this city.

Felix Arroyo

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: Everyone deserves a voice in the direction of our city. The community should lead planning and planning should lead development. I believe that we must take the planning department out of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. By separating planning and development, we can ensure that planning, which would happen through a community driven process, happens before we develop and not allow developers to drive the process.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: When my parents first moved to Boston, like many families, they needed affordable housing. They found that at Villa Victoria in the South End. I believe everyone deserves a place to live. It does not happen by accident and it does not happen because we wish it so. It happens by intention. As a municipal government, we must provide incentives for developers to build affordable housing and encourage mixed use development that includes market rate, moderate rate, and affordable units. To reduce the pressure on Boston’s rental housing market, it is necessary to take a broad approach that increases the supply of affordable rental housing, promotes opportunities for home ownership as well as providing supportive housing for the homeless.

Banks also play a role in creating housing opportunities in the city. As part of my economic development plan “Invest in Boston,” we would ask the banks that the city is doing business with to report how much lending they are doing to qualified home buyers and their foreclosure information. By working together to promote good lending practices and helping residents and families have access to loans to buy a home or negotiating to help stay in their homes, we will create a stronger housing market.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: Boston is a city that has room for growth and new development, but that will look different in each neighborhood and I believe the process must involve the community. I also believe that everyone deserves a place to live and as Mayor, I will encourage mixed-used development that includes market rate, moderate rate and affordable housing and support the building of housing of different sizes so that households of all sizes can live in Boston. With community support, I believe we can utilize opportunities to develop in our city.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: We cannot talk about reducing parking until we ensure that everyone has equitable and safe access to other forms of transportation. Not all of Boston’s neighborhoods are the same and we do not have equitable public transportation throughout the city. Some of our neighborhoods rely on cars to get to school or work. We must understand the transportations needs of Boston’s neighborhoods and implement solutions that will improve our transportation infrastructure for the long term. Our focus should be on funding long-term investments in Boston’s infrastructure in a progressive way, improving public transit options for city residents and spurring economic development. We must also work to facilitate both bicycling and walking so that those who choose to do so can do so in a safe way. As Mayor, I will work with the Governor and the residents of Boston to ensure that we implement reforms and make much-needed investments transportation in a fair and just way.

John Barros

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I propose separating the City’s planning process from the BRA and assigning it to a City agency that would become responsible for making sure all City planning processes are fully transparent and accessible to residents and driven by the local community. This would produce plans that clarify what residents would supports so developers could make initial soft cost invests with more certainty.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: As Mayor I would make Boston a more affordable place to live with an emphasis on retaining families in all income brackets, young professionals and creating mixed income communities. The best way to ensure affordable units are built in Boston is by insisting developers meet the City’s 15% requirement for each project. Allowing developers to buy out of the current affordability requirements is creating neighborhoods with very little access and decreasing the stock of affordability while create new burdens for affordable developments in new projects. I would provide additional incentives using Tax increment financing, Tax abatements and density bonuses to increase affordable units.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: I support dense, high-rise development next to transportation nodes when the required 15% affordable units are produced locally, the linkage funds are used by the local neighborhood through a community fund, construction jobs go to local residents (including gender and racial diversity) and at least 35% of the construction contracts are awarded to minority and women owned enterprises.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: I agree that Boston would be a more livable city that retains and attracts residents and businesses if we relieve congestion on the roads. At the same time we would help address issues that adversely effect the climate and become a more environmentally friendly City. We should have less parking in places where we have more public transit. It makes sense to reduce parking in some parts of our City and not others.

John Connolly

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: The BRA is in need of significant reforms to make it more transparent and accountable. Stakeholders involved in the development process should have their proposals evaluated based on the merits, not based on whom they know. We need to have term limits for BRA board members. We have to end the conflict of interest between planning and development. We need a process where the community has real input, where we are focused on the economic future of Boston, and where we drive development from a plan, not the other way around. And we need to stop the practice of zoning by variance -- if the exception becomes the rule, then the rule needs changing.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: We need a housing plan that will prioritize a holistic approach aimed at increasing affordable housing and middle-market housing in Boston. We need to give young artists, young professionals, and young families a path from rental to ownership and from one bedroom to two-to-three bedroom units. This requires a development, zoning, and permitting process that is driven from a thoughtful plan, a transparent process, and a customer friendly, efficient city government. We also need to tap available city, state, federal, and private resources, including Boston’s linkage and inclusionary development programs, and we need to speak out about the negative effects that federal housing cuts have on families and advocate for restored funding.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: Boston is a city without a lot of buildable land, so we need to find opportunities to build new developments that respect the fabric of surrounding communities. In appropriate places and with meaningful community input, we should not be afraid of height. We need to make a priority of transit-oriented development that includes housing, retail, and commercial space, so that housing is accessible to stores, jobs and educational opportunities. Discussions about height and density are also a reminder that we need development in Boston to be driven from a thoughtful plan. I believe we can strike the right balance if we reform the BRA to put a stronger emphasis on real planning that gives residents of Boston a voice in the process.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: One of the biggest challenges we face in Boston is the high cost of housing. Reducing parking requirements, in appropriate places and with community buy-in, could be a key strategy for lowering construction costs and creating a true middle-market for housing in Boston. This is not one-size-fits all; in certain neighborhoods there is a real parking crisis that we must work to alleviate. Finally, we must recognize that any successful strategy must improve other modes of transportation.

The number of registered automobiles in Boston dropped 14% in the last five years, a time when the population of the city has been growing. This means there are likely to be opportunities for us to reexamine parking requirements, but we need to do it in a transparent way with meaningful community input.

We need to make alternatives to driving as safe, reliable, and affordable as possible. The next mayor must participate in the transportation funding debate at the State House. As mayor, I would strongly advocate for state investment in upgrading our transportation infrastructure in Boston to maintain and strengthen the existing MBTA system, extend service hours, and ensure that every neighborhood has equitable transit access through innovations like bus rapid transit and diesel multiple units.

We need to make Boston bicycle and pedestrian-friendly. I will support the promotion of “complete streets” design to incorporate cycling into the plans for our roads and make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers to travel together. As a City Councilor, I sponsored the resolution that designated more than $5 million to help create the Hubway bike share program. I support expanding Hubway into neighborhoods farther from downtown in order to connect residents to transit and business districts, and I would allocate funds in the City’s capital budget for the construction of cycle tracks in Boston.

Charles Clemons:

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I would maintain BRA’s focus related to economic development but would fundamentally change its structure (City Council Approved Board inclusive of Community representation–Oversight), and create a distinct separation from the City Hall. A routine audit process would be developed to ensure fiscal accountability. The City currently has a Neighborhood Development Department that could focus on community housing development.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A. Three-fold. First, establish a required living wage to increase the income levels of families. Secondly, stimulate job growth by partnering with existing businesses and potential businesses in under developed neighborhoods. Third, increase the number of affordable units and partner with developers and community organizations to ensure the percentage of affordable units are maintained through-out the development process.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: Density, land use, energy use, and social implications of high rise buildings has caused urban planners, as well as myself, to seriously consider mid-rise level buildings, to increase the development of parks, reduce energy usage, and reduce the social implications of high rise building. I believe in the utilization of public transportation to reduce greenhouse gases, if you limit parking spaces urban dwellers are more likely to take alternative forms of transportation.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: I believe as urban density increases a reduction in automobile usage will reduce greenhouse gas effect on the environment. I support the development of more parks to improve social interactions. I support the increase use of public transportation, bike riding, and walking as alternatives.

Michael Ross

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I believe that the BRA needs three major reforms to ensure that it is effectively serving the City.

1. The BRA must plan first, then build -- That means bringing together community stakeholders and planners to determine the kind of development the neighborhood wants. It brings the community together to create a vision for their neighborhood and makes development easier and more predictable for builders.

2. Affordable housing policy and development powers should be moved to the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) -- Affordable housing is a principal that should never be negotiated away by the city. Too often when a development project goes before the BRA, the percentage of affordable housing required by inclusionary zoning becomes a negotiation tool to get a project through the approval process.

3. The BRA must have a more regional and international gaze on economic development -- We have to start thinking about Boston as a regional economy and magnet for international economic development in order to grow our economy and create new jobs. Too often, the BRA has targeted companies in Cambridge to lure them across the Charles River with tax breaks, only to have Cambridge do the same back to us. This is a race to the bottom that shortchanges our collective, regional ability to grow and attract talent. As Mayor, I would work with Cambridge to travel to China or Silicon Valley to trumpet Boston as a region and bring new business to our area. Just because a company is located outside our city borders doesn’t mean we don’t reap the benefits of employees living in Boston, spending their money in Boston, and inevitably doing business with other companies in Boston. Boston is a world class city and the BRA’s gaze should reflect that.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: Affordable housing is a principle. That means we can’t negotiate it away to help get a project through the approval process. We need more on-site affordable housing. As Mayor, I would move the affordable housing policy and development powers from the BRA, where there is too little transparency in the process, and place them within DND. DND is a city department that ultimately reports to the City Council, ensuring that there is oversight of our affordable housing policies.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: I support increased increased density and increased height where it makes sense. I represent Boylston Street in the Fenway neighborhood, which used to be lined with surface parking lots, gas stations, and fast food restaurants. A group of community members believed that we could do better than that, and so together we began a planning process to determine what the community wanted to see in that neighborhood- what types of commercial uses and density of housing; how many affordable units new developments needed; what type of building massing and building height. Because we planned first and the community articulated what its vision was, the process of developing Boylston Street was faster and easier because of the predictable planning that existed. We can and should do that in every neighborhood in the city, which will lead to increased heigh and density where it makes sense.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: I agree with the goal of reducing the amount of space in our city devoted to parking, but we can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. As I said, we need to switch to a plan first, build second mindset -- that includes working with neighborhoods to figure out where it makes sense to reduce the number of required spots. I’d favor clustering these kinds of developments near public transit hubs.

Charles Yancey

Q: Would you seek to change or abolish the Boston Redevelopment Authority?

A: I would change the responsibilities of the BRA. I would separate the planning from the development functions. The BRA has a conflicted mission of promoting development while serving as the planning agency for the City of Boston. Unfortunately, the perception is that planning follows development proposals. There appears little relationship between planning and development in Boston. A new City of Boston Planning Department, independent of the BRA, will insure separation of the two roles.

Q: How would you make housing more affordable for low- and middle income individuals and families?

A: I would require a percent of all new housing to be affordable. Too many people are being priced out of the housing market in Boston. I believe that the City of Boston should use its authority to implement inclusionary zoning to create mixed income housing with at least one third for affordable units. Expiring use publicly subsidized housing development should continue to provide affordable units.

Q: Do you support dense, high-rise development in Boston’s core, or should it be curtailed?

A: I would support mixed use development from government Center to the South Boston Waterfront. I would support dense high rise development in these areas. I believe that with effective planning Boston can accommodate an increase in the number of dense high rise development in our city.

Q: Would you continue with the BRA’s policy of reducing the amount of parking required with new developments projects?

A: I would not follow the BRA recommendations to reduce the number of parking spaces. I believe that we can strike a balance between the need to discourage automobile use and a reasonable accommodation for tourists, visitors, commuters and residents. I support expanded public transportation in addition to moderate increases in the number of local and satellite parking spaces as development proceeds.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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