You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

2

6

▼  4th Inning 1 outs

letters | cambridge in transition

Giving councilors more authority would be a mistake

Paul McMorrow’s column “Building tension,” regarding giving special permit approval to the Cambridge City Council, failed to note that the city’s complex, idiosyncratic, and opaque regulations result from council actions in response to past development and citizen petition. The result is a backward-looking code adopted out of fear rather than hope. Giving the council additional authority would be a mistake.

Reforming land-use regulation in Cambridge is necessary. What is needed is a transparent zoning ordinance that is simple to understand, has fewer zoning districts, and allows for a greater variety of uses and density. Such a code should reflect Cambridge as it is and allow for additional growth.

Continue reading below

A new code should have a built-in control to limit actions that lead us back to where we are. Today half of the properties in the city do not conform to the code.

The absurdity of the zoning code was made clear when I saw a request on the city’s Board of Zoning Appeal agenda for approval to change the use of a restaurant space from selling crepes to selling Belgian waffles. Any code that requires such regulatory relief is a code that needs to be changed.

Terrence F. Smith

Cambridge

The writer is a city planner and the former director of government affairs for the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.