Joseph Robert Orlando
Candidate for Ward 3
1. Do you believe
we have a housing problem in Gloucester? If so, whom does it affect?
I do believe there is a housing shortage in Gloucester. This shortage preliminary effects, Low Income families, Elderly and Disabled.
2. What are your definitions of affordable housing and workforce housing? Who do you see as needing affordable and workforce housing in Gloucester?
Affordable housing is generally 30% of your household income, that doesn't currently exist in Gloucester Ma. Workforce housing is generally known as Middle class families. Which has been squeezed out of existence due to our current economy. My personal opinion is that both are greatly needed by much of the population in Gloucester Ma.
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 suggest more affordable cluster housing would benefit the city of Gloucester Ma. My first choice would be The East Gloucester School site which is now unoccupied due to the students moving into the newly built East Veterans elementary school. There is also available land in the pines area of East Gloucester and West Gloucester, Cape Ann Industrial Park is another possibility.
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 biggest concern I find when talking to Business owners is their rents going up causing their prices having to go up. They are not able to pay more wages to their employees as a result of this families have to work more than one job just to pay rent. Many employees I spoke to are extremely tired most of them were born and raised here and wanted to raise their families here. The Covid epidemic was a great big hit to all families and put them in debit. With the lack of affordable housing and their rents doubling its putting them more in debt. City business is the backbone of our community, they create jobs for locals. They encourage economic growth; they get more money circulating in our local community. They keep taxes close to home. The local taxes paid to our city helps pay for community improvements such as schools, green space, and public transit. Our local businesses are a portrait of our local economy. Local businesses tend to be more involved with the residents of our community.
5. What do you see as the major barriers in our community to creating more affordable/workforce housing? How do we overcome them?
Lack of areas for housing to be built, Lack of corporation with abutters to approve of affordable housing in their neighborhood. The residents of all our communities need to come together as a unit to solve these issues.
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?
My personal opinion is to many large buildings that would have worked beautifully for affordable housing / workforce housing were built as condominiums and high-priced rentals. I have to ask why the City of Gloucester who owned the property on which the Fuller school was located at didn't build affordable housing there for the residence of Gloucester. The only thing I have done in the past was listen and speak up which I did to no avail. This is one of the reasons I'm Running for Ward 3 Counselor.
7a. What do you think is the best plan for meeting the requirements of the MBTA zoning?
This is one question I can honestly say I have not heard a lot of information about. I feel I need to do my due diligence in order to form an opinion.
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?
My answer to this question is see question 7A.
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?
We are an old school community with committed Property owners that have long lineages of family and lifelong relationships across the city. I believe these property owners keep their rents as low as possible. Considering the high increases of property taxes, water & sewer rates. I have seen multiple corporations allowed to come into the city and build hundreds of Condominiums and Cluster homes only to have them leased out for a minimum of$ 2000.00 or up. These Corporation's goals are to make as much profit as possible. That is their right. This Beautiful city has a limited amount of buildable land. Before anymore high-priced cluster housing is allowed to be build. The Citys Government needs to make sure there is unlimited amount of affordable housing to accommodate our workforce & families. This housing crisis needs to be addressed immediately by the City Government. All the input from Gloucester residents needs to be heard.
9. Where do you stand on two or three family homes across all neighborhoods to meet the housing needs of the average Gloucester worker?
My opinion is if the zoning laws need to be changed to allow all neighborhoods the ability to build or convert their property to allow two and three family apartments to gain extra housing for affordable/workforce families. I feel the zoning laws have to be equal across every Neighborhood. Obviously, areas zoned for single family Housing have to allow their neighbors to build a one, two or three family homes without having to deal with red tape or their neighbors bring a motion to The City Council to amend the zoning laws to allow an exception for their neighborhood. It has to be for every neighborhood. No exceptions.
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?
My opinion is the rentals funded by State and Federal government should be mandated to require a minimum one-year lease or more. Summer, Winter and Private rentals need to be left to the discretion of the owners of said properties.
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?
My opinion is we need smart growth approaches. Cleaning up and reinvesting in existing neighborhoods. Providing housing choices for people of all income levels, household sizes, and stages of life. Improving transportation and give residents who don't drive more mobility. Improving access to jobs and services by creating development that's walkable and transit accessible. Enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. In other words, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. Everyone Should have the opportunity to enjoy the positive outcomes of equality.
11b. Additionally, how do you think housing issues are affecting local businesses and employers?
High housing costs in the immediate area surrounding all business limits the number of workers who can afford to live nearby and therefore limit employers' ability to hire across all levels from a local labor force.
12a. Are there other specific housing initiatives that you think the City should prioritize?
My opinion is that even though The Gloucester Housing Authority and Hud doesn't fall within the City of Gloucester's jurisdiction or the states for that matter. The City of Gloucester does have the right to request a public hearing with Governor Healy and the Federal housing commission to inquire why their properties are not being maintained for suitable living conditions. There are many apartments sitting empty when they are desperately, needed to house our elderly. disabled. And low-income families.
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?
I agree with one stipulation. Affordable and Workforce housing has to have top priority over market rate housing.