Good evening, I’m Dan Levine, a resident of Colony Woods. I love my neighborhood for the people, not because of the houses. In fact, it’s a textbook example of a sprawling single-family subdivision with homes set back far from the street on too-large lots. Colony Woods was built this way in the 1960s and ’70s to meet Town regulations. The developer further codified single-family housing as the only allowable form and set minimum house sizes and minimum prices using covenants that are laughably dated today, including banning chickens and pickup trucks.
I could use my time tonight to share the wide consensus among advocates, researchers, and policymakers from the AARP to the NAACP, from the Sierra Club to the Biden Administration that land use reforms are long overdue because of the structurally racist history (and present) of single-family zoning, because environmental sustainability demands compact transit- and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, and because lack of sufficient housing supply at all price points is a major driver of the current affordable housing crisis. But you know all of this. Instead, I applaud the eight of you on Council who consistently have the courage to make policy decisions that benefit the town as a whole—on missing middle, on the Legion site (which is not a park but will be a park and affordable housing thanks to you), on Jay Street affordable housing, and more—despite well-organized opponents who use deeply cynical tactics.
I support the missing middle policy proposal because I want my neighborhood, and others like it across town, to make room for additional neighbors so that we become a more inclusive, transit- and pedestrian-friendly, environmentally sustainable place to live. Although the proposal being considered tonight is not as bold as it originally was, due to the opposition, I think it is an important step forward. Thank you for your leadership.