Planning Board to continue discussing Federal Realty’s affordable housing waiver

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal

Tensions were high at Thursday night’s Planning Board meeting, as Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) again asked the board for an affordable housing waiver.

Multiple aldermen and dozens of community members stood up in the Aldermanic Chambers April 24, urging the Planning Board to deny the request. Though the board fully intended on voting on the waiver, they decided to continue the discussion and reconvene on May 18.

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Federal Realty seeks affordable housing waiver in Somerville’s Assembly Row

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

Assembly Row developers say an increase in the amount of affordable housing required by the city may cause a halt to their project, at least temporarily.

Last May the Somerville Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance requiring 20 percent of residential development to be affordable units, an increase from the previous 12 1/2 percent.

The ordinance stemmed from what aldermen call a citywide housing crisis, resulting in the displacement of many residents who can’t afford the rising rents and property values.

On April 6, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), developers in Assembly Square, formally asked the Planning Board to waive the current affordable housing ordinance and allow them to build at the 12 1/2 percent established when they started the project in 2005.

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