Jennifer Susse authored this letter on January 20, 2020. Ms. Susse is a member of the Arlington School Committee and a Town Meeting Member. She closely follows the costs and demographic trends of school enrollment and of Town finances.
Seattle finds new tools to preserve neighborhood character in the Pike / Pine Corridor of the city. Arlington has its own neighborhood districts that are now being re-thought with new planning for the neighborhoods’ future. These include the Broadway Corridor, the Mass Ave. Transit Corridor and Arlington Heights.
from Karen Kelleher, Reporter
Minneapolis is the most recent governmental entity to disrupt the almost 110 year old idea of local zoning in America by overriding single family zoning. Zoning was developed in the the early 1900’s to control property rights and, in part, to limit access to housing by race. These early laws were upheld by the courts in the 1930’s and the use of zoning to control private property for the interests of the majority became common. Houston Texas did not adopt zoning, an outlier in the nation.
This report shows a number of great, livable neighborhoods in communities like Lexington, Cohasset, Great Barrington, etc. where under the municipality’s “official” zoning, the neighborhoods would be illegal and could not exist. These are neighborhoods that residents enjoy for a variety of special characteristics that would have been blocked in typical zoning. Zoning can result in a too homogeneous community, excluding the serendipities of co-location in a land use development process evolving over a great many years. Can we anticipate these synergies and include them to enrichen our town’s neighborhoods?
(published June, 2019)