No to Normandy Tower

A call for your voice to be heard:

No to more luxury towers without a citywide plan

No to more uncontrolled parcel-by-parcel development

YES to Citywide Plan that prioritizes affordable housing

On Monday night, May 18th, the City Council will hold its final vote on the Normandy/Twining residential tower in Central Square. We have opposed the scale of the building (195 feet, 18 floors and a wall along Mass. Ave.) as well as the re-zoning of both an entire city block for the advantage of this one developer and part of the residential side of Bishop Allen Drive for parking. We don’t believe the city is getting enough for this giant give-away – 40 affordable and 7 middle income units out of 232 luxury apartments; this is an invitation for other developers to look for the same kind of deal. Only Councilors Dennis Carlone and Nadeem A Mazen have opposed the project to date.

At the same time that the City Council is poised to create two “special zones” for this developer, the administration has finally drafted a call for consultants to create a Master Plan for the city over the next 3 years. Two years ago, more than 1000 residents signed our petition demanding no major up-zoning without such a plan. The city’s leadership has consistently postponed moving forward on a Master Plan, resulting in thousands of expensive residential units like Normandy to be built, permitted or proposed during that time that will further gentrify Cambridge into a city with many relatively wealthy people and continue to displace low and moderate income individuals and families.

We ask you to speak now – in person and in writing. The Cambridge Residents Alliance continues to oppose approval of the Normandy/Twining up-zoning (see our objections at Instead we call for a Master Plan process with an immediate priority assessment of our housing needs to increase equity and socio-economic diversity in Cambridge NOW. There should be no approval of new large developments, including the Normandy/Twining tower, without this analysis. We also call for the City to use its own resources to sharply increase affordable housing now.

We have presented these and other priorities (“early deliverables”) for the citywide plan to the administration in response to the draft Master Plan initiative. We hope you will cite some of these points in any comments on your opposition to approval of Normandy/Twining and what we must have in a Master Plan process:

Early deliverables that we have supported include:

  • Preliminary housing plan that will serve during the time of the planning process, and be revised at the end of the process that includes initial target population size and socio-economic mix;
  • Preliminary plan and a final plan on using city-owned land, including the parking lots and general city revenues, to maximize affordable housing; assess possible public/private partnerships, 100% city-financed housing, and lease or sale of some city land holdings;
  • A revised target population size and socio-economic mix for the city in 2030 that assesses regional growth and international investments in land and construction in Cambridge;
  • A plan to deal with development proposals during the planning process;
  • Early priority given to the Fresh Pond/Alewife area due to the poor planning which has resulted in over-building, and to the potential for rapid development of the remaining land, especially within the quadrangle;
  • Assess the reality of climate change in the short term as large buildings that contribute most to environmental degradation are constructed in flood zones;
  • Conduct the Comprehensive Planning process in a democratic, community-based manner and complete it in 18-24 months, not 3 years from the hiring of a consultant.

What you can do:

Speak at City Council Monday, May 18, 5:30pm, City Hall

            To sign up for public comment on Monday, 617-349-4280 between 9 and 3

If you don’t want to speak, please come to show your concern.

Email the City Council                    to:       [email protected]

    copy the City Clerk                          cc:       [email protected]

    copy to help count the emails         bcc:     [email protected]

                                                                   subject:   OPPOSE Normandy Tower up-zoning     Working for a Livable, Affordable and Diverse Cambridge

  Questions? Email [email protected]




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Cambridge Residents Alliance