Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hess-Mahan: Bike racks were not extorted!

I have tweaked the Board of Aldermen for extracting bike racks from Beacon Street as a special permit condition. Aldercritter Hess-Mahan weighs in with a defense:

Oy! "Extorted"? Really? Please!

The special permit laws provide that when a special permit granting authority (SPGA) approves a special permit, it may impose conditions that are intended to mitigate the impact of the project. That is exactly what the Land Use Committee and the Board of Aldermen, as the SPGA, did in this instance. The BOA granted a special permit waiving the requirement that B Street provide additional parking in Newton Centre for its proposed expansion. As a condition, Land Use proposed, and B Street agreed to require bike racks that were intended to encourage people to ride their bicycles to Newton Centre instead of driving their cars, thereby reducing the demand for parking spaces.

As the Chairman of the Land Use Committee, I have worked tirelessly with the planning department and my colleagues trying to erase the antiquated and incorrect notion that every special permit requires a "public benefit," which has no basis in the law and bears the indicia of paying "tribute" rather than providing mitigation for the impact of special permit projects.

Please do not unfairly malign our efforts to improve the special permit process. I am also working on amending the parking regulations. But until they are changed, we must apply the law as it is written.

My position continues to be that the parking requirement that necessitated the special permit application is a bad law. So, any condition put on its waiver is unwarranted.

But, Alderman Hess-Mahan deserves credit for his committee's continued good outcomes on parking waivers and for wrestling with these issues.

7 comments:

Ted said...

Thanks for the (back-handed) compliment. You will have to show me how to do strike-through sometime.

You would have to ask B Street whether they felt they had bike racks extracted from them. Some of the committee members would also like to have required the restaurant to rent spaces set aside for local businesses as well, but I thought that the bike racks were sufficient and more environmentally friendly.

A said...

extorted is a bit strong. Negotiated; and good work, ted!

Anonymous said...

Never happy are you Sean? I guess being an ass is your full time job.

Sean Roche said...

Part-time only. If it paid better ...

Anonymous said...

I love it, Sean uses extorted for what Ted did, but 'encouraged for his thinking. Throw some water out on him, with any luck, the movie was right and he'll melt.

from the other thread...

And who was it that advocated extorting additional space suggesting that Panera Bread give away its deeded parking spots before granting them the special permit? Sean, do you remember?

March 31, 2011 2:25:00 PM EST
Blogger Sean Roche said...

I'm pretty sure that I said that Panera shouldn't have to apply for a parking waiver, but if Panera was going to be encouraged to give something for the waiver, adding its parking spots to the shared lot would be a win-for-all.

Anonymous said...

So, you didn't believe in the waiver, but as long as it's on the books, let's come up with, and publicize, an idea that extorts (there's that word again) some real value from them. So, if you don't believe in fighting, but you see a fight, you'd really like the person on top to beat the other guy to a pulp. Whichever way the wind is blowing for you, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain what the issue is here? Sean thinks the law is stupid and should not be enforced ... or anything issued as a result of a stupid law is therefore itself stupid? Do the bike people like the bike racks or do they think the bike racks are bad?
Also why is he calling Ted Hess-Mahan "aldercritter"? Is this because of the Buck Fush t-shirt thing?
AR