Winter Hill Plan Implementation

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Photo of a meeting in Winter Hill.

The Winter Hill Neighborhood Plan was finalized in November of 2016. It highlighted two major initiatives:

  • to rejuvenate Broadway as a commercial main street
  • to reconnect Winter Hill to the rest of the city, both physically and culturally

These two initiatives were set with a third major priority, to engage the Winter Hill community and involve community members in implementing the neighborhood plan. Progress continues on both initiatives and a range of related projects, and members of the Winter Hill community have been a vital part of the efforts undertaken so far.

Periodic updates are included below. For more information or questions, please contact the Economic Development staff, whose contact info is to the right.


Español: Para mantenerse en contacto con este proyecto, únase a nuestra lista de boletines por correo electrónico o vuelva a visitar este sitio. Para obtener información sobre este proyecto, comuníquese con 617-666-3311 o por correo electrónico SomerVivaEspanol@SomervilleMA.gov.

Kreyòl Ayisyen: Pwojè sa se yon fason pou aplike plan ki genyen pou katye Winter Hill la. Pou entèpretasyon sou pwojè sa, tanpri kontakte 617-666-3311 oubyen voye on email nan: SomerViv@SomervilleMA.gov.

Português: Este projeto trata da implementação do Plano de Vizinhança de Winter Hill. Para tradução em português sobre este projeto, entre em contato com 617-666-3311 ou por e-mail SomerVivaPort@SomervilleMA.gov.

The Winter Hill Neighborhood Plan was finalized in November of 2016. It highlighted two major initiatives:

  • to rejuvenate Broadway as a commercial main street
  • to reconnect Winter Hill to the rest of the city, both physically and culturally

These two initiatives were set with a third major priority, to engage the Winter Hill community and involve community members in implementing the neighborhood plan. Progress continues on both initiatives and a range of related projects, and members of the Winter Hill community have been a vital part of the efforts undertaken so far.

Periodic updates are included below. For more information or questions, please contact the Economic Development staff, whose contact info is to the right.


Español: Para mantenerse en contacto con este proyecto, únase a nuestra lista de boletines por correo electrónico o vuelva a visitar este sitio. Para obtener información sobre este proyecto, comuníquese con 617-666-3311 o por correo electrónico SomerVivaEspanol@SomervilleMA.gov.

Kreyòl Ayisyen: Pwojè sa se yon fason pou aplike plan ki genyen pou katye Winter Hill la. Pou entèpretasyon sou pwojè sa, tanpri kontakte 617-666-3311 oubyen voye on email nan: SomerViv@SomervilleMA.gov.

Português: Este projeto trata da implementação do Plano de Vizinhança de Winter Hill. Para tradução em português sobre este projeto, entre em contato com 617-666-3311 ou por e-mail SomerVivaPort@SomervilleMA.gov.

  • September 2022: 299 Broadway Proposal Proceeding to Permitting

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    After over a year of community conversations, the proposal for redeveloping 299 Broadway is proceeding to permitting. The project will now transition from conversations with the Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will serve as the permit granting authority reviewing the details of the project. Along the way, several other boards and commissions will be reviewing the project and providing feedback to the development team.

    Winter Hill Civic Advisory wraps up its advisory role for the time being.

    The Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee (Winter Hill CAC) has been meeting for the past several months with the team proposing redevelopment at 299 Broadway. The Winter Hill CAC is tasked with gathering community perspectives and synthesizing feedback regarding the direction of redevelopment within the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan area, like the proposal at 299 Broadway. Their findings are summarized in a formal memo. The Civic Advisory Committee will be on hiatus during the permitting stage of this project with the expectation that they will resume their role as advisors on this site and others in the urban renewal plan area in Spring 2023.

    The Somerville Redevelopment Authority issues a resolution in favor of proceeding to permitting

    The Somerville Redevelopment Authority has official jurisdiction over the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan and projects occurring within the urban renewal plan area. Agreeing with the Winter Hill CAC, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority has endorsed the project's advancement to the permitting process.

    A little about this permitting process

    The 299 Broadway proposal will be seeking a Comprehensive Permit through the State’s “40B” permitting process. This is a slightly different process than the typical zoning approval for a new project, designed by the State of Massachusetts to encourage higher levels of affordable housing. The proposal at 299 Broadway will follow Somerville’s zoning code in most respects, but is planning to seek a few waivers that are integral to the project’s success.” A 40B project can seek waivers to the zoning code, similar to variances, at the same time that the project as a whole is reviewed, which is why the state designates the Zoning Board of Appeals as the permit granting authority for 40B projects rather than the Planning Board. If you would like to read about the nuances of the 40B process, please review this 40B primer from the Planning, Preservation, and Zoning Division.

    Public Feedback in the first step of the 40B permitting process

    The first step of a 40B process is for a project to receive eligibility status from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The development team from Mark Development and Beacon Communities is currently on this step and there is an opportunity to provide public comments directly to DHCD while they consider if this proposal is eligible to go through the 40B permitting pathway. The City of Somerville and members of the public have until Sat. October 8th, to submit comments to DHCD regarding the eligibility of this project. The Project Eligibility application can be viewed here, and the letter from DHCD to Mayor Ballantyne opening the public comment period can be viewed here.

    Comments on the PEL application can be directed to DHCD at the following address and/or email address:

    Rebecca Frawley Wachtel, Director

    Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

    DHCD

    100 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor

    Boston, MA 02114

    Email: Rebecca.frawley@mass.gov


    What happens after that?

    Following the 30-day public comment period, DHCD will determine whether to issue a Project Eligibility Letter for the proposed development at 299 Broadway. The application will also be posted on the OSPCD’s Reports and Decisions web page. Once an eligibility letter has been issued, Mark Development and Beacon Communities can submit a Comprehensive Permit (40B) application to the Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals, who will hold a public hearing to review the application.

    Additional notice will be sent digitally to the community and by mail to those in the immediate vicinity of 299 Broadway announcing the public hearing at the Zoning Board of Appeals. All members of the public are encouraged to participate and follow the discussions occurring at the Zoning Board of Appeals.


    Questions?

    If you have questions on any of this please contact Rachel Nadkarni, rnadkarni@somervillema.gov and Emily Hutchings, ehutchings@somervillema.gov.

  • April 2022: Ground Floor Activities Survey & Upcoming Meetings

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    Thank you for following this work! We have a few updates to share.


    What kind of activities and businesses are you excited to see in the future Temple Square when the Star Market is redeveloped?

    The City of Somerville and the Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee would like to hear about what would make Winter Hill’s business district more complete for you. Are there types of businesses, community center activities, and general outcomes that you would like to see in the future?

    • Retail businesses (grocery, bank, clothing store, etc.)

    • Service businesses (salon, tax advisor, fitness studio, dentist, etc.)

    • Places to get together (restaurant, café, dance class, meeting space, etc.)

    • Activities and Outcomes that are important to you (places that promote immigrant cultures, places that pay employees well, places that are toddler friendly, a space to hang out with friends, keeping existing businesses strong, etc.)

    Share your ideas in our online survey! | Comparta sus ideas en nuestra encuesta digital | Pataje lide w nan sondaj sa a sou entènèt nou an! | Compartilhe suas idéias em nossa pesquisa!

    Over the next couple months, we will also be out and about in the neighborhood with additional ways to answer the survey on paper and talk with our engagement team. The results of this survey will be reviewed by the Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee (CAC) and the results will be shared with the team at Mark Development.


    Upcoming Meeting with the Mark Development Team on Tuesday April 12th

    Please join the 299 Broadway development team, the City of Somerville, Ward 4 Councilor Jesse Clingan, and Councilor at Large Jake Wilson for a virtual neighborhood meeting to discuss a proposed modification to the internal program of the 299 Broadway development.

    WHEN Tuesday, April 12, 2022

    TIME 6:00 – 7:30 PM

    Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/broadwaynewmeeting

    In this community meeting, the development team will present a modification to their internal program elements for the proposed redevelopment of 299 Broadway and 15 Temple Street, Somerville, MA (the Old Star Market site) as a mixed-use project. There will be an opportunity to discuss the ideas and the implications for the permitting process and timeline. Feedback received will be used in the planning process.

    This meeting will have live interpretation in Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese.

    For questions, please contact:

    Councilor Clingan at aldermanclingan@gmail.com (External link)or by phone at (617) 290-1904 or

    Councilor Wilson at jwilson@somervillema.gov(External link) or by phone at (617) 468-8969

    Flier in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese


    The Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee has been formed

    The Winter Hill Civic Advisory Committee (CAC) has now been formed. This group of diverse stakeholders has signed on to help expand community engagement for the redevelopment of the City-owned properties beyond the usual channels and assist with collecting and synthesizing feedback received from the broader Winter Hill community.

    If you have an idea, question, or concern about the redevelopment at any stage in the process, you can always bring them to the Civic Advisory Committee's regular meetings, which are held virtually on the second Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:00 pm. Meetings are held on GoToWebinar and the registration information can be found under the "key dates" section of the Winter Hill Plan's webpage. The committee had a first introductory/organizational meeting on February 10th and an engagement scoping discussion on March 10th, materials from these meetings can be found under "Key Dates." The next meeting, Thursday April 14th, will be a site walk and observations will be summarized at the May meeting.





  • November 2021: CAC Applications Extension - Zone Change Application

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    Forming a Civic Advisory Committee

    The deadline to apply to the Civic Advisory Committee has been extended until Monday November 29th at 11:59 pm. We have received many fantastic applications but have to date received no applications from Haitian Creole speakers. Anyone who wishes to be considered should apply, and we particularly encourage those who speak Haitian Creole at an intermediate or fluent level to apply to join the group. Please share this with your networks! Applications can be submitted here.

    We expect the Civic Advisory Committee to begin meetings in January 2022.



    Mark Development Application for 299 Broadway

    Mark Development has submitted a zone change application to the Somerville City Council. A public hearing was held on the application on Monday November 8th. Minutes and a recording of the meeting are now available and written comments are still being accepted by the City Council. Comments to the City Council can be submitted to cityclerk@somervillema.gov until Friday, November 26th.

  • October 2021: Join the Winter Hill URP - Civic Advisory Committee

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    Join the Civic Advisory Committee – Apply today!

    The next step in implementing the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan is to form a civic advisory committee to inform the project implementation from now through construction.

    There are many steps in the redevelopment process and this committee will be a sounding board for the neighborhood through each phase. We are looking for a diverse group of Winter Hill residents, business representatives, and institutional leaders who are excited to gather ideas from the community and share updates with their neighbors.

    If you love connecting people to what’s happening in Winter Hill and are excited about this transformation, we hope you’ll consider applying.

    Scroll to the “Apply to CAC” tab or click here to learn more about the committee and to apply.

    Applications are due November 1st, 2021 at 11:59 p.m..

    Fliers are available in English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.

  • July 2021: Urban Renewal Plan Approved by the State

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    There are a few updates to share about the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan.

    State Approval Earlier Than Expected

    The Urban Renewal Plan has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Their review went far faster than anticipated, just 30 days. This does not mean any immediate change but does mean that we can move forward. The next step is to convene a community advisory committee, and the organizational work to set that group up is ongoing. We are continuing to work toward the first meeting of the advisory committee in September.

    Visit SomerVoice.SomervilleMA.gov and select the Winter Hill Plan Implementation project for details and to review the approved plan.


    July 22nd Neighborhood Meeting on Star Market Development Proposal

    There is a new development team looking at 299 Broadway, the former Star Market site. They convened a neighborhood meeting on Thursday, July 22nd to share their proposal. Meeting was held Thurs, July 22nd, 6:30 - 8:00 pm. This meeting was organized and prepared by Mark Development. This was not a City of Somerville led meeting, and is being shared for informational purposes only.

    Link to Slides | Link to Video

    POST MEETING UPDATE: Comments and questions for the Mark Development team can be emailed to dash[at]adamdashlaw.com. If you would like to share your comments with the City of Somerville, please include Rachel Nadkarni, rnadkarni[at]somervillema.gov as well.


    What does all this mean?

    While City staff continue to move toward implementing the urban renewal plan and engaging the Winter Hill community in that process, the goal has been to spur redevelopment of the site. The City has been and continues to be open to working with a development team that purchases the site if their plan is consistent with the urban renewal plan and supported within the community. Economic development staff will be on hand at the development team’s meeting to address questions about how the processes relate.

  • June 2021: Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan Process Updates

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    The Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan was adopted by the City Council in April 2021.

    As a recap, the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan is a tool to spur the redevelopment of the vacant Star Market site and adjacent properties. The Urban Renewal Plan will allow the Somerville Redevelopment Authority to use eminent domain to lay out a pathway for redeveloping it, which could include taking the property.

    The urban renewal process operates within strict controls, ensuring that property owners are properly compensated, current tenants are assisted in their relocation, and that the community is involved in setting the priorities for the future development. The Urban Renewal Plan was itself an action item of the Winter Hill Neighborhood Plan and additional engagement with community members was undertaken to ensure there was support for using urban renewal for this site in 2019/2020. The resulting Urban Renewal Plan, which received positive consensus from community members, outlines broad strokes of what the future of the site should be and envisions the formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee to help refine the parameters for redevelopment.

    What’s next?

    As of June 2021, all local approvals have been completed. The Urban Renewal Plan was reviewed and approved by the Somerville Redevelopment Authority, the Somerville Planning Board, the Somerville City Council, and the Mayor of Somerville.

    The plan has now been sent to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. It is expected that the state review and approval will take two-to-three months (until approx. August/September 2021). While the State is reviewing, City of Somerville staff are working in the background to get ready to form the Citizen Advisory Committee this fall.

    The Urban Renewal Plan has a 10 year implementation time frame, beginning with 2021.


    In case you missed it…Archive of Winter 2021 Project Announcements

    The text below had previously been published at the top of the project webpage. It has been republished here in order to archive it and make space for ongoing updates.

    From June 2019 through March 2020, City staff hosted meetings, 1:1 conversations, and office hours to explore whether the community would be interested in the City using eminent domain to take the vacant Star Market property and other nearby sites. The general consensus, from nearly a hundred participants, was yes.

    As a result, City staff has prepared a Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan draft. Download the PDF of the draft here, or read a summary of what’s included here.

    To become adopted, the Plan must be approved by four different bodies:

    SRA: The SRA adopted the plan at their September 16 meeting. Comment letters can be read here.

    Planning Board: 11/5/2020 at 6:00pm: The Planning Board will discuss the Urban Renewal Plan and determine whether it is consistent with SomerVision. Register here.

    City Council: 11/18/2020 at 6:00pm: The City Council will discuss and hold a public hearing regarding the plan before voting on whether to approve the plan. Register here.

    State’s Department of Housing and Community Development: Once the Plan is approved by the required local entities, the State reviews it to ensure it meets legal requirements.

    How to Participate

    There are many opportunities to weigh in on the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan draft:

    1. Email comments for the SRA. -- The SRA has approved the plan.
    2. Attend upcoming meetings, particularly the Housing and Community Development Committee Public Hearing on 11/18 at 6:00pm. Written comments may be submitted to cityclerk@somervillema.gov.
    3. If you have not already, sign up for our email list to get updates on this project.

    Relocation Benefits Info Session

    Parties displaced by an urban renewal plan are entitled to relocation benefits per state law. If you want to learn more about these benefits, join us for an info session on Tuesday, December 1 at 11am. Email EconomicDevelopment@Somervillema.gov for the registration information if you're interested in attending.


  • Oct 2020 Update: The SRA approved the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan

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    by Lauren ,

    At their September 16, 2020 meeting, the Somerville Redevelopment Authority voted to approve the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan. The Plan will now need to be approved by the Planning Board, City Council, and State. The SomerVoice project page will be updated as soon as dates for these meetings become available.

  • Aug 2020: About the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan Draft

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    by Lauren ,
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    After over a year of public meetings, community conversations, and online engagement, the draft of the Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan has been released. Thank you to everyone who has participated in the conversation for your help in shaping this document.

    Project Area

    The proposed Project Area is a 2.8-acre site that includes two vacant lots on Sewall, the vacant Star Market, the Winter Hill Liquors building, the Elegancia Salon building, and the pharmacy. The Plan proposes the following for each of the Disposition Parcels in the Project Area:

    • D1: The SRA would convey this property to the City to create a new green, open space.
    • D2: The SRA would convey this property to a mission-driven affordable housing developer to create an affordable housing project that matches the character of Sewall St.
    • D3: This parcel would have a robust community process to explore possible concepts on the site, to identify which developers may be good partners for redeveloping the site, and to recommend to the SRA which project to ultimately move forward with. The Neighborhood Plan calls for a mixed-use development with commercial on the ground floor, residential on upper floors (including 20% affordable units), and a publicly accessible pedestrian route connecting Broadway and Sewall.

    Two residential households and four businesses would be displaced as a result of the proposed Plan, but would be entitled to relocation benefits as mandated by the State. (If a private developer redeveloped these buildings, no such relocation benefits would be required.) We don’t anticipate any displacement happening before 2024, and it would likely be later depending on how long the community process takes and potential phasing of redevelopment construction. The City has retained a relocation benefits expert to provide information and answer questions from these parties.

    We talked about a variety of different sites that could be included in the Urban Renewal Plan, but many community members expressed that the vacant Star Market should be the biggest priority. We can still amend the plan to include new sites in the future if needed, the plan would just need to be approved by the SRA, Planning Board, City Council, and State again. Staff believe that the corner buildings are an important part of the plan despite being in sound condition because, without them, the development may not be feasible due to the shape of the parcel.

    Objectives

    The objectives of the Plan are to:

    • Improve Winter Hill’s identity as a neighborhood-oriented main street commercial district.
    • Create green and open gathering spaces to support community life and the environment.
    • Ensure a pedestrian- and bike-friendly experience.
    • Minimize displacement by building additional affordable housing.
    • Pursue redevelopment that produces equitable outcomes in the neighborhood.
    • Redevelop vacant and underutilized properties into uses that better meet community needs.

    Community Process for Redevelopment

    As discussed in a previous SRA Meeting, this draft plan includes a detailed process for the selection of a developer for the D3 site that prioritizes community engagement and involvement. A Citizen Advisory Committee would help us ensure inclusive and extensive community conversation about the future of the site and will assist the SRA in identifying a developer and concept for the site. This process of deciding what the community wants from D3 would happen after the Urban Renewal Plan is officially adopted.

    Process for Approval

    To be official, the Urban Renewal Plan needs to be approved by the SRA, the City Council, the Planning Board, and the State. See the project page for updates on where in the process the plan is currently.

    Tips for Sharing Your Feedback

    Right now, the SRA and other bodies will be considering whether to approve the Urban Renewal Plan and if there are any necessary edits that should be made to the Plan. Focusing your feedback on these two questions will be most helpful.

    If you are sharing written feedback, please include LDrago@SomervilleMA.gov to ensure your feedback is compiled and preserved appropriately.

    If you are providing verbal feedback during a public comment period of a meeting, please remember that comments are limited to two minutes. Having a good idea of the two or three points you want people to remember is a great strategy for making the most of your time. Of course, you can provide written feedback to further elaborate on your points too.

    We will be updating the project page on how to best share your input as the Plan progresses through the approval process. Don’t forget to sign up for our email list for updates as well.

  • Winter 2020: Upcoming Meetings about Winter Hill Plan Implementation

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    by Lauren ,
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    The City is gathering feedback about whether an urban renewal plan might be the right path forward for Winter Hill, particularly for the Star Market site. If an urban renewal plan is the next step, are there other sites that should be included in the Winter Hill neighborhood? We are listening to community input through early February and we would like your perspective at one of our upcoming meetings.

    All are welcome at the following events to ask questions or share feedback in person. None of the information has changed since our December 17th meeting, so you can pick which session to attend or simply weigh in online. Please note some upcoming dates have shifted!

    Community Meeting with Portuguese Interpretation
    This repeat of our 12/17 meeting will be held mostly in Portuguese, but all are welcome.
    Thursday, January 23 | 5:00pm-7:00pm
    Brazilian Times Office, 311 Broadway, Somerville, MA

    Winter Hill Community Meeting
    Co-hosted by Ward 4 Councilor Jesse Clingan and Winter Hill Brewing Co., this repeat of our 12/17 meeting is specifically targeting business and property owners, but all are welcome.
    Monday, February 3 | 4:00pm-6:00pm
    Winter Hill Brewing Company, 328 Broadway, Somerville, MA

    Don't forget that you can also submit your feedback online. There are also opportunities to ask questions and suggest ideas for what you'd like to see in the neighborhood.
  • Dec 2019: Which sites could be included in a Winter Hill urban renewal plan?

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    by Lauren ,
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    The conversation about an urban renewal plan in Winter Hill started because of the vacant Star Market site in the neighborhood. As we collect feedback about this, City staff would also like input on what other sites the community may be interested in focusing on as part of an urban renewal plan. In this post, we highlight some of the possible sites that could be included in a Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan and what was imagined for these sites in the Neighborhood Plan. Download this PDF to see all of the renderings and images for each property.

    Star Market Site

    Although we refer to the Star Market site as such, this site also includes the Walgreens, Winter Hill Liquor Store and Brazilian Times building, and the Elegancia Barber Shop.

    The Neighborhood Plan calls for a five-story development on the whole site that allows for 200 new housing units with 28,000 square feet of retail and a half acre of publicly accessible open space. Recently, a private developer was interested in this site but was not ultimately able to make the deal. The developer, after conversations with the community, imagined a 6-story project with 310 housing units, 25,000 square feet of retail, and 1 acre of publicly accessible open space.



    Whitcomb Place

    This site includes the vacant Walgreens, CareWell Urgent Care, and Winter Hill Bank. The Neighborhood Plan envisions a new development that would connect Broadway to Heath Street for pedestrians and incorporate .4 acres of open space. The new buildings could be four stories with 130 housing units and 8,700 square feet of retail. The idea would be to contemplate the four-story buildings adjacent to the property while still preserving the character of Heath Street.


    Brewery Block

    The Brewery Block includes the Winter Hill Brewery Block, Citizens Bank, the Post Office, and some surrounding properties. The idea is not to do a major redevelopment on the site, but rather to focus on fixing the street network. Many different property owners are involved in this site. The Neighborhood Plan calls for a reconfiguration of the area to allow for better circulation of people and cars, additional open space, and maybe the building of a house or two. The Plan also imagines preserving the post office building, Winter Hill Brewery, and the residential building while redeveloping the single-story commercial building and the Citizens Bank property. The redevelopment efforts could be four or five stories with about 80 units of housing and .2 acres of open space, as well as current ground-floor retail.


    Foss Parking

    Another opportunity site identified in the Neighborhood Plan is to transform the City-owned parking alongside Foss Park into additional open space that can complement the park. The Neighborhood Plan imagines how incorporating the pavement into Foss Park could provide more space for assets in the park and a more environmentally-friendly and beautiful walk along Broadway. There is space for some small businesses that could provide concessions for the park and an opportunity to increase the gathering green space.


    If this site becomes a part of a Winter Hill Urban Renewal Plan, the existing community process to rethink Foss Park would play a big role in determining how to use this potential extra space. Interested in participating in that conversation? Check it out here.


    What happens to the property owners and tenants of a property that ends up in an urban renewal plan?

    Inclusion in an urban renewal plan makes it possible for the Somerville Redevelopment Authority to take a property, but that doesn't necessarily happen right away. When a property is taken, the property owner is paid a fair market value, which is determined by a specific legally prescribed process.

    Any tenants--businesses or residents--who would be displaced through a taking receive financial and site search assistance to relocate. Businesses who do not wish to be relocated can be bought out.

    How can you get involved?

    We are seeking input from the community about whether we should pursue an urban renewal plan at all, and whether any sites besides Star Market should be included in such a plan. Visit the SomerVoice project page for up-to-date information about how to share your input.

Page last updated: 06 Oct 2022, 10:53 AM