FRAMINGHAM – 360 Framingham residents submitted a petition requesting the Mayor and Council adopt a temporary 9-month moratorium on multi-unit housing projects.
While Framingham has recently permitted or constructed more than 1,000 new apartment units, it has not studied and has no plans to mitigate the impacts of these units of municipal services, schools and roadways.
“A group of residents have been meeting and working on this petition for months. While we understand COVID-19 is a major issue facing our community, our group felt it was important to submit this petition to have our government start to think through the impact these apartments will have on our neighborhoods in this changing local economy,” said Bill Lynch, resident of District 7.
The petition calls for a temporary moratorium to allow current units to stabilize, study the impact of these units, begin the next phase of the traffic plan and allow leaders to refine plans for any additional units.
“Enough is enough. We need more planning and thought put into the impact of apartments before more are built in already dense parts of Framingham,” said AnnMarie DeMarini, resident of District 8.
A key part of this petition is a focus on funding the Traffic Commission and finishing the traffic study, which was one of the last major acts of Framingham’s Town Meeting.
“Traffic affects everyone in Framingham. The issues regarding safety are getting worse, especially in the neighborhoods where apartments are being built or considered. Finishing the traffic study and fully funding the Traffic Commission is an issue of equity and fairness. It is my hope this petition will give Framingham the pause button it needs to truly look at the traffic issues throughout our city,” said Mary Kate Feeney, resident of District 3.
The group has worked with Councilors John Stefanini of District 8 and Michael Cannon of District 4 on the petition.
By submitting this citizen petition, the residents request that the Mayor and Council convene a hearing and act on this matter within 30 days in accordance with Section 1(b), Article VIII of the Framingham Charter.
Petition Language submitted to the City Clerk and Council:
Whereas: Framingham has recently permitted or constructed more than 1,000 new apartment units; and,
Whereas: Framingham has not studied and has no plan to mitigate the impacts of these units on municipal services, schools and roadways; and,
Whereas: local traffic congestion affects all of us; and,
Whereas: Framingham has not assigned staff nor fully funded the Traffic Commission to complete a citywide traffic study, so-called phase 2; and,
Whereas: these new units have not yet been fully occupied allowing the market to stabilize; now,
Therefore, the Mayor and Council do adopt a temporary nine-month moratorium to enable current units to stabilize, to study the impacts of these units, including a traffic plan, and to allow leaders to refine plans for any additional units.
Be it ordained by the Framingham Council, as follows:
Temporary Cessation of the Acceptance of Applications for Multi-Unit Housing Projects
SECTION 1. The City of Framingham Zoning Ordinances, is hereby amended in Chapter II by adding the following new section at the end thereof:
A. Purpose. The regulation of housing projects by special permit raises novel and complex legal, planning, public health and safety issues, and the City needs time to undertake a planning process to consider amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding the regulation of said multi-unit housing projects. The City intends to adopt a temporary cessation on the use of land and structures in the City for the purpose of multi-unit housing projects by special permit, so as to allow the City sufficient time to engage in a planning process to consider various issues, impacts, effects in order to address the effects of such use for the welfare of its inhabitants, present and future, and to enact ordinances in a manner consistent with sound land use planning goals and objectives.
These issues and impacts may include, without limitation, vehicle traffic, the adequacy of the water supply and sewer systems, the condition and repair of public ways, proper staffing at the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, and the Fire Department, pending fiscal responsibilities for schools and the Library, the Subsidized Housing Inventory on which the City is currently at or above the 10% threshold and therefore exempt from 40B Comprehensive Permits, and any other municipal services that may be required.
B. Temporary Cessation. For the reasons sets forth above, and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Framingham General Ordinances or Zoning Ordinances to the contrary, the City hereby adopts a temporary cessation on the use of land or structures for multi-unit housing projects by special permit. In no case shall the City accept an application for a special permit for a multi-unit housing project. Said temporary cessation, and non-acceptance of applications for special permits for multi-unit housing projects, shall be in effect for nine months from the date of approval by the City Council. During the temporary cessation period, the City shall undertake a planning process to address the potential impacts of multi-unit housing projects in the City, and shall consider amending its Zoning Ordinance to address the impacts of said multi-unit housing projects. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to applications for and the use of land or structures for any multi-unit housing project for which a special permit application was filed with the City Clerk on or before March 17, 2020.
If any provision of this ordinance shall be held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, then such provision shall be considered separately and apart from the remaining provisions, which shall remain in full force and effect.
This ordinance shall take effect retroactively to the date of filing.
We, the undersigned, hereby respectfully request that the Mayor and Council convene a hearing and act on this matter with 30 days in accordance with Section 1(b), Article VIII of the Framingham Charter.
Editor’s Note: In full transparency, I signed the petition, as a resident of District 8. I have lived South of Route 135 since 2000.