Candidate for Ward 4
1. Do you believe we have a housing problem in Gloucester? If so, whom does it affect?
We need more housing in Gloucester, Massachusetts and across the entire nation. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “there is no state or county where a renter working full-time at minimum wage can afford a 2-bedroom apartment.” The national housing crisis is affecting everyone. As a community we need to work together towards a solution so future generations can afford a home in the city where they were raised. Each citizen plays a role in Gloucester’s future. How do we work together to create affordable housing throughout Gloucester – without damaging Gloucester’s natural beauty and without over burdening already densely populated areas of our city? This is a question that keeps me up at night. I want my children to be able to afford to live in Gloucester.
2. What are your definitions of affordable housing and workforce housing? Who do you see as needing affordable and workforce housing in Gloucester?
Whoever qualifies for affordable housing under the current income guidelines. Seasonal employees need affordable workforce housing.
3. Clustered housing: Do you generally support building more housing that is grouped, such as duplexes, multi-family, townhouses etc.? If so, where do you see possibilities in the city for more clustered housing?
I support building more housing. The specific type of housing depends on the building plan proposal and zoning regulations for each project. The city needs to partner with the abutters, neighborhood and local housing advocates to gain buy-in for specific locations. I strongly believe we all can agree we need more housing. The question is – how? Let’s work together to educate the community on the what, why, how of housing issues first, prior to proposing new housing locations. This will create more community harmony overall throughout the entire process.
4. When you speak with constituents (local business owners, employers, and workers) about income and housing prices in our community, what conclusions do you draw from those conversations?
The price of everything has increased, yet salaries stay the same. The economy is changing, and with it - housing and property prices are skyrocketing. We need to partner with our local city and state government officials to solve this multi-faceted, multi-layered issue.
5. What do you see as the major barriers in our community to creating more affordable/workforce housing? How do we overcome them?
Gloucester is a small island community. Buildable land is scarce. We need to keep areas green and protected for future generations, but we also need more housing. Working together united as a community, like we have done for the past 400 years, is the only way to overcome these barriers.
6. How have your experiences, personal and professional, shaped your views on housing and land use in Gloucester? And what have you done in the past to address these concerns?
I was born and raised in Gloucester. I am raising my family in Gloucester. Ensuring my children and their children can afford to live here for generations is very important to me. Listening to my constituents is also to me. When I began my first elected term on City Council, one of the major issues proposed was new zoning regulations. I listened to my ward’s constituents. A broad majority of my ward did not want these changes. I was elected to serve the people. I listened - and voted for the people. Most recently, a housing bid was requested at the 100 Gloucester Ave site. As soon as I learned about the proposal, I hosted site meetings to listen to the people directly impacted in the neighborhood. I partnered with the city on sharing both sides’ opinions: those opposed and those in favor.
7a. What do you think is the best plan for meeting the requirements of the MBTA zoning?
Partnering with local and state government officials on what ‘meeting the requirements of the MBTA’ means for Gloucester. My process is to learn, listen, inquire, partner with others, listen some more and then share FACTS.
7b. What are your recommendations to update zoning in Gloucester’s downtown train station area (and West Gloucester station area, if applicable) to bring the City into compliance?
Partnering with local and state government officials on what ‘meeting the requirements of the MBTA’ means for Gloucester – specific to the downtown train station area. My process is to learn, listen, inquire, partner with others, listen some more and then share FACTS.
8. Do you think that every neighborhood in Gloucester is contributing its “fair share” of housing supply for the city? If not, which neighborhoods do you think are not contributing their fair share, and how should the City address this inequity?
The city should partner with local housing agencies to create a city-wide education campaign on the what, why and how of our housing problem. A new survey should be done to account for all available, buildable land throughout Gloucester.
9. Where do you stand on two or three family homes across all neighborhoods to meet the housing needs of the average Gloucester worker?
I like to see housing plans prior to making a decision. If two or three family homes fit into the environment in a way that protects our green space, while partnering with the neighborhood - then it will work. Gloucester workers are smart, hard-working people and will make a decision that is best for them.
10. A recent attempt to propose new restrictive regulations on Gloucester’s Short Term Rentals failed to gain support due to lack of data and overall impact. What do you think the City can do, if anything, to restrict or limit short term rentals?
The item was withdrawn without prejudice. Before the city can do anything, they need to collect more data. Citizens that host AirBnB’s use it as a means to pay their mortgages, put their kids through college or may very well be their only income if retired. I respect both sides’ arguments and look forward to analyzing the data if it comes before City Council in the future.
11a. Housing policy is closely linked to other policy areas, such as transit, racial justice, environmental issues, and economic sustainability. What do you think of housing policy as it interacts with these other issues?
Housing disparity impacts so many areas of importance. It’s important as a city to work towards inclusive, accessible, affordable housing - that still honors and protects the environment I look forward to working together with the community to find a solution for this complex, important issue.
11b. Additionally, how do you think housing issues are affecting local businesses and employers?
Affordable housing will directly impact local business and employers.
12a. Are there other specific housing initiatives that you think the City should prioritize?
It is important to listen to all ideas, suggestions and recommendations from the experts -while also honoring and listening to the people of Gloucester.
12b. Do you agree or disagree that the City of Gloucester should do more to encourage housing production of all types, including both market rate and income-restricted? If you agree, how can the City encourage housing production?
As I stated above, I support building more housing. The city needs to partner with the abutters, neighborhood and local housing advocates to gain buy-in for specific proposed locations. I strongly believe we all can agree we need more housing. The question is – how? Let’s work together to educate the community on the what, why, how of housing issues first, prior to proposing new housing locations. This will create more community harmony overall throughout the entire process.