September 2022: 299 Broadway Proposal Proceeding to Permitting
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
100 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02114
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.
If you have questions on any of this please contact Rachel Nadkarni, firstname.lastname@example.org and Emily Hutchings, email@example.com.