Piecemeal Approval Process Lets Developers Off the Hook

180RCPD AerialThis week’s Cambridge Chronicle has a guest editorial by FPRA officers Jan Devereux and Doug Brown.

Here’s how it starts (read the full piece on Wicked Local Cambridge):

The Cambridge political landscape has changed this year with the election of four new city councilors and the appointment of a new city manager. There also has been a marked surge in activism among residents, much of it focused on development and urban planning issues. Along with councilors Dennis Carlone and Nadeem Mazen, neighborhood organizations across the city have begun to change — and elevate — the conversation about the goals, values and priorities that will inform the city’s new master plan.

As leaders of the newest resident group on the scene, we think this is a healthy change, and one that we aim to further through our work. For too long, the city’s permitting process has pitted residents against developers in an adversarial process that forces us to play “whack-a-mole” on a playing field that is far from level. Under the former city manager’s quarter-century regime, our volunteer Planning Board followed a narrow checklist approach to evaluating large projects that ignored some of the broader policy issues at stake. Too often, residents were cast as obstructionist when they tried to raise reasonable concerns about community benefits and the public good.

If you have not already signed the Carlone Petition to make the City Council the special permit granting authority, please do so here.

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