Mayor to Present Parkway Overlay and Linkage Fee Program Legislation

February 22, 2012
By

Keeping with an inaugural promise, Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. will again present legislation to the City Council introducing the Parkway Overlay District and Linkage Fee.  The Mayor continues to work with the City Council, Board of Aldermen and business community to promote a long-term vision along Route 16 as well as developing strong investment in the community.

Working with the consulting group Parsons Brinkerhoff a global planning, engineering and construction management firm, the Mayor is determined to bring new life to the struggling Revere Beach Parkway.  By instituting an Overlay District, the City can ensure any new development along the parkway meet specific criteria.  With the implementation of this Overlay District the Mayor is hoping to add value to a primary gateway into the City.

In a survey conducted last year of residents and businesses in the City, 90% of respondents (out of 110 who participated,) noted appearance as the major problem along the parkway, with noting walk-ability, parking and types of businesses rounding out the top four issues.  Of those surveyed many would like to see restaurants, shops and community focused businesses along the Parkway and improving the appearance and walk-ability would add value to the area.

The Mayor is hoping this proposal will offer more benefits than restrictions for incoming development.  The elements of the overlay district define allowable uses of the property and also set new requirements, which build a new visual element for Route 16.  New requirements will place any new building closer to the street, with the majority of parking behind the buildings, giving the corridor a design similar to Station Landing in Medford or the Bio-Tech epicenter of Kendall Square in Cambridge.

Along with parking requirements, new developers will have to conform to open space plans, shared driveway plans and landscape and building design plans.

“This overlay district is a means to encourage smart growth in our city,” states Mayor DeMaria, “we want businesses and development that will enhance the quality of life along the parkway, not take away from it.  We’re looking to encourage development of office space, residential apartments with the convenience of restaurants and shops on street level.”

Linking it all together

Meanwhile, the Mayor is also looking to get additional investment from any new development by establishing a Linkage Program on new construction or significant rehabilitation of properties.  Mirroring legislation enacted by Boston, Somerville and Medford, a linkage program shares the costs of public facilities on new buildings or construction.

Developers participate in the program, usually in the form of a yearly fee, to help mitigate the impact of new or expanded construction on the city’s streets, parks and recreation facilities.  This fee guarantees investment in and responsibility to the city and as a means to give back to the community. Boston has had a program in place since 1983, while Medford began their program in 1989 and Somerville started their program in 2005.

With development potential along the Malden River, Route 16 and in Everett Square, the Mayor is hoping to put the city in the best position possible to attract development that enhances the city, brings quality employment and invigorates the local economy.

“The Linkage Program assures us that a business looking to come into Everett, is invested in Everett for the long term,” states Mayor DeMaria, “we need quality businesses who share the same vision as our current business partners, who are invested in community programs, who want to be part of Everett, not just pass through.”

The Mayor anticipates presenting the Legislation at the City Council meetings in March.