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Mike Ross to try again to do something about students living off campus

Ross, who represents Mission Hill, and Mark Ciommo, who represents Allston and Brighton, want a City Council hearing to discuss how an estimated 60,000 students living off campus are driving up rents for permanent Boston residents. NorthEndWaterfront.com posts a copy of their hearing request - which warns that if current trends continue, another 45,000 students will be sucking apartments out of the pipeline by 2018.

The hearing could be the first attended by "city councilor for Northeastern" John Tobin.

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Comments

I wonder if Mike Ross is as much of twat in real life as he comes across in the print/on-line? The Harvey-Two-Face persona is wearing thin, eh? He appears to speak out the left side to universities about helping them, then seemingly goes off to suck the farts out of the assholes of every "constituent" bitching because Boston has changed since they were born. (Way back in approximately 1812.) (Before those damn evil students and nasty shadows starting RUINING everything.)

Why are only residents from the certain communities being invited to testify? That's not such a subtle intimation that the City of Boston is a-tired of the weepin' and wailin' from certain parts of the city.

Also: anyone think his fancy pants proclamation sucks? He only counts private post-secondary in the third fancy pants paragraph. In the fourth fancy pants paragraph, he switches to a stat counting undergrad only.

WHO THE FUCK PROOFREADS THIS SHIT!? !!?!??!!?!

This anonymous poster will self-destruct in 3, 2, ...

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Yes, Mike Ross really is an asshole in real life.

So much so that he uses (abuses?) his power as city councilor to push legal matters past where they normally would go. I believe he even tried using it to get out of parking tickets before, but finally got burned for that one. Didn't keep him from trying again to try and get jail time for college students who were just having a beer outside.

sucks that such a jerkoff will probably be mayor one day...

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I love reading about all the ways the city wants to keep students out of neighborhoods, but at the same time strives to keep young professionals from leaving the city. I'm not sure what changed from the day before I graduated in May to the day after, I but went from being a target of contempt as a student resident of Mission Hill to the focus of a city-wide initiative to keep me living in Boston...on Mission Hill.

Focus on the problem: I don't like parties keeping me up til 4am any more than the "permanent Boston residents" but there is no need to blame the high housing costs in the city on college students without looking at other factors.

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I don't like parties keeping me up til 4am any more than the "permanent Boston residents"

Amen to this. My last two years as an undergrad I lived off campus and the second year my neighbor was actually a professor at what will remain an unnamed college. They were by far noisier and more irritating than my upstairs neighbors who were students.

I left Boston for grad school but plan on moving back, but it's funny how going from 22 and a student to 22 and graduated automatically makes me an acceptable neighbor to the likes of Mike Ross.

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it's funny how going from 22 and a student to 22 and graduated automatically makes me an acceptable neighbor

Yup, almost as funny as when I went from a 30-something working adult to 30-something full-time undergrad and part-time working adult. Several of my roommates decided to go back to school at the same time, and we magically transformed from an acceptable apartment to an unacceptable one. "Congrats on going back to school and bettering yourselves, now get the F out of our neighborhoods."

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I imagine you are referencing Boston's "ONEin3" program, designed to keep people 21-35yrs old as residents of the city.

Such a great program in fact, that the city appointed leader Devin Cole can't even get a committee for his own neighborhood.

Also noteworthy, if you're actually in a neighborhood committee, you can plan events ONLY as long as they don't have any possibility to go against the Menino way. Or of course, if Devin himself isn't lounging in his parent's cape house instead of actually in his office to approve such things.

Pretty sure he is "bffl's" with Mike Ross as well.

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I was referring to ONEand3, and I'm a huge fan of that organization. That is the kind of message we should also be sending to college students. I don't see why you need to resort to personal attacks -- I couldn't even dream about building the network he has built of young people in the city, and he works hard to do it. Keep the negative personal stuff to yourself, please.

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I agree with the comment by #7. No need for personal attacks. Devin Cole has done an exceptional job expanding the ONEin3 Boston program out into the neighborhoods while maintaining the other core programs of ONEin3.

BTW-the neighborhood groups have done an amazing job bringing young people together in and across neighborhoods. The Dorchester group hosted many successful events from Neighborhood Nights to volunteering for Boston Shines to a Money Night where young professionals were able to have their financial questions answered. These are the kinds of things ONEin3 is doing!

And if anyone is interested ONEin3 Dorchester is looking for people to join!

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As someone who has worked closely with Onein3Boston in the past, these comments concerning the program and leader have no legitimacy. Onein3 works hard to fulfill their mission to keep the city of Boston attractive to the young professionals living here and through their programs, get them to stay here.
While I am sure the organization would appreciate your feedback, it is ridiculous to call out Devin. There is no need for a personal attack on a person that brings together people from all neighborhoods throughout this city. Devin works on behalf of my age group and I think we should be encouraging people who take on these roles that benefit our community.

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Hi Slowman,

You're right, there's no committee currently running in Charlestown, which is too bad. Given that ONEin3 covers a lot of ground (Advisory Council to the Mayor, Boston Young Entrepreneurs, ONEin3 Money campaign in addition to the website and a bunch of active Neighborhood Groups), we have had to prioritize other things. That includes doing our best to support neighborhood groups and events in other neighborhoods even though it would be more fun for me personally to have a strong Charlestown group.

I'm not sure what you mean by "the Menino way". We've had plenty of people involved with ONEin3 who have been openly critical of the Mayor and even supported other candidates in elections. In fact, ONEin3 exists in part to provide an outside perspective that challenges the Mayor and senior staff. Our events are non-political, and that includes the Mayor. No politician speaks at them. No exceptions.

I can only assume you're referring to something specific when you mention me approving something or not.

For the record, I think it's kind of a low blow to imply that I do a lot of lounging around (I don't) and I'm not really ashamed that my mother resides full time on Cape Cod. It would be nice to have her around Boston, but she likes it down there. I also like it down there on weekends and holidays.

Anyway, Slowman, if you'd like to discuss ONEin3 or anything about being young in Boston, please drop me a line at [email protected].

Everyone else out there, especially Townies and Toonies, please get in touch. We'd love to have you involved with ONEin3!

Devin

PS. Anon, thanks for the kind words about ONEin3!

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This grad student is a much better neighbor than many of the surrounding neighbors. I shop in the neighborhood, am quiet all day holed up studying, or am asleep after 3 sam adams because I have no tolerance for booze anymore.

Good luck getting grad students back on campus.

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Mike Ross is so irritating. Makes me wish that when I still lived in Boston I lived in his district just so I would have had the pleasure of voting against him.

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NY Gubernator candidate Of the rent is too damn high party:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/187733/saturday-night-li...

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Who knew? Boston City Councilors aren't just elected officials, they're also economists! [sarcasm]

I love this line of thinking: If we get the college kids out of the neighborhoods, then housing prices will come down and "working families" (as the Mayor called them, just this past week) will be able to afford to live there.

Yeah, because, god knows, taking all those noisy, drunk kids out of the neighborhoods will surely make them less appealing to people. [sarcasm]

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Because, of course, schools can easily absorb 60,000 students with all that empty dorm space they have sitting around.

Who exactly would be driving the economy in A/B if not for all the students? The garbage pickers? The crazy people who sit around on Harvard Ave all day talking to themselves?

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Had I been given the option of on-campus housing for my last two years at Northeastern, that would've been great. But I probably would have moved off campus my last year, for the simple reason that on-campus housing is SO EXPENSIVE. I lived in a Back Bay studio for less than I would've paid per month for my own bedroom in an apartment with four other people on campus. And they keep building more housing to appease the surrounding community, but it won't keep more people on because the cost to live there will go up in order to pay for the new residence halls.

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And they'd have a much easier time absorbing the students on campus if hacks like Mike Ross didn't jump on every NIMBY bandwagon about campus development. Nobody wants off-campus students, just so long as no university builds another large dorm to cast shadows and create wind. Bunch of idiots.

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45,000 new renters means somebody has to build 15,000 new apartments. That means jobs, growth, holes filled in, revenue for the city. The only place to go is up, and greater density inevitably means more services, restaurants, public transit users, more property tax per mile of street. Why is this such a bad thing? Sure, it's harder to drive down Brookline Ave than it used to be, but I really think it's an improvement over what it was ten years ago. And I, for one, welcome our new student overlords.

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more property tax per mile of street.

there's "good" property tax and "bad". good is office, luxury towers, hotels and other "super dense" taxes that generate almost no new services. then you have "bad" - working class housing for real people or (gasp!) students or (horrors!) families with kids. the extra revenue of $3000 or so per unit ($1500 if owner occupied )is not seen as profitable for the city - so, they make it almost impossible to build that kind of housing. Plus, if they approve units like that, as opposed to downtown - there's not enough profit in the project to kick in to the BRA slush, oh wait, I mean affordable housing fund.

everyone knows that middle class housing and housing for new grads etc. is a problem around here - but even in the real estate boom you almost never saw anyone building this kind of housing. it's not an accident. It's a business plan.

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Rentals by definition are not owner-occupied. Shouldn't the city thus prefer to have rentals built which, as you say, can pay twice the property tax as condos?

I know that a lot of suburbs actively try to discourage building of housing for families with children because they don't want more children in their school system, but it seems to me that Boston has the opposite problem. We want to keep our schools open, and to do that we need more children. If Boston, through a lack of middle-class housing, becomes the exclusive preserve of those poor enough to get Section 8 and those rich enough to own luxury condos, that brings serious long-term problems for the city.

Maybe the price and thus tax PSF is higher in luxury towers, but the great may be the enemy of the good. The luxury condo market seems pretty saturated right now, but the demand is surely there for mid-priced rentals. The higher the tower, the less the land cost per unit and the more tax per mile of street. I say Vancouverize Boston, starting with the entire area from Longwood to Kenmore.

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Residential housing comes on to the tax rolls at the current rate exclusive of the exemption (so actually my point about $3000 v. $1500 in incremental revenue should be corrected). For example, if a new unit of housing comes on to the market valued at $250,000, it will generate about $3000 in incremental/new taxes at current rates regardless of occupancy. If someone who occupies it then qualifies for the residential exemption of say $1400, their taxes are reduced to $1600. However, the actual tax revenue to the city remains unchanged and the burden is shared by all of the other owners of residential property - mostly divided among landlords, but a small portion of this is passed along to owners of more expensive properties as well - generally those over $750,000. The closer you are to $750,000 in value, the less benefit from the exemption you enjoy. (that's pure math and unrelated to my opinion that the residential exemption is simply capitalized at the point of sale by competitive bidding, especially for lower value homes)

I agree with you on increasing density - however, I think we are better served on many fronts by spreading this among 3-5 story buildings around the city on top of all the "storefront streets" in virtually every neighborhood west of Mass Ave. My opinion - Boston has a unique "brand" with its human scale and if you turn it into Manhattan North, Coastal Chicago or Vancouver East - it loses a lot of that appeal.

The point about kids is well taken. The percentage of students in our public schools relative to population is already one of the lowest in the state - perhaps second behind Cambridge which is off the charts (about 5% I think - Boston about 9% and most communities in the low to mid teens)

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I couldn't agree more:

I agree with you on increasing density - however, I think we are better served on many fronts by spreading this among 3-5 story buildings around the city on top of all the "storefront streets" in virtually every neighborhood west of Mass Ave. My opinion - Boston has a unique "brand" with its human scale and if you turn it into Manhattan North, Coastal Chicago or Vancouver East - it loses a lot of that appeal.

The real problem with this approach is that the neighborhoods you've identified lack public transit infrastructure for the new residents you'd get. We would need to turn the Farimount, Needham, and Allston/Brighton portion of the Worcester line into rapid transit lines at a minimum, which will cost a lot more than the new tax revenue. I think we should do this, but we need to also designate some Vancouver zones. Longwood/Fenway/Kenmore is ideal for this, as is the Seaport. Build up the towers where it makes sense, move to 3 story commercial property as the norm in places like Roxbury/JP/Roslindale/Dorchester, and leave Hyde Park and West Roxbury as they are.

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Not sure Longwood Ave can take the traffic. There's a giant development slated to go up over the pike and more to come on Boylston.

My only real issue is that I think that HP and WR have plenty of potential - for example HP's proximity to 128 offers ideal opportunities to potentially capture biz from suburban office parks while building up surrounding areas into denser concentrations esp. along rail lines. WR can easily take a few 3-5 story storefront buildings on Centre Street. With empty nest boomers that can't maintain their houses any more physically or financially fleeing the burbs for the city, we will need a range of housing solutions - especially ones close to shopping and transit.

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That's a good point about Hyde Park.

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Scuttlebutt is that's the real reason they're closing the schools in Hyde Park - so they can sell the campus to IBM for an office park.

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Why would they build here instead of Cambridge, Waltham, Lexington, or Burlington?

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"Not sure Longwood Ave can take the traffic."

Then build some apartment buildings without off-street parking. And allow stores in these neighborhoods as well.

Boston has thousands of pre-war apartments without parking, and people are perfectly willing to live in them. But it's not legal to build that way any more.

Most of the problems with density are related to cars, not people.

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Tax the bejesus out of private car use and on-street parking.

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I think commenters should be a bit more civil. If you want things to change then take action. Councilor Ross has stopped by this board before and I'm sure he'd like to come again. I know that I've been rude in the past (to lots of people) and I often regret it. Or, if you're going to be rude (and mean) then have the guts to put your names on your posts.

Here's my facebook group devoted to opening a dialogue between college students and the Boston City Council. Or, as I call them, 'Haters'.

(Is that rude?)

http://www.facebook.com/editgroup.php?gid=16133310...

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Councilor Ross all but turns a blind eye to the violence that goes on in his neighborhood, Where "residents" armed with guns, knives, and bats prey on college students.

Whats worse, a loud party, or a kid getting $15,000 of damage done to his face because a group of "residents" decided they wanted his wallet and then also wanted to kick his face in while he was unconscious. Stories like that conveniently fall through the cracks...

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If people think too many apartments are taken by students, there are 4 options:

1. Build more dorms
2. Build more apartments
3. Get the universities to agree not to increase their class sizes
4. Repeal the recent Boston law that prohibits more than 4 unrelated students from living together

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Problem is that, with the number of colleges and universities in town, it's not like the students are gonna be leaving Boston anytime soon - it's sort of a defining characteristic of the city, and they make up a pretty good portion of Boston's economic life. I'm glad city hall has recognized that young people in general are a good thing and that ONEin3 is out there to try and make young people (and most students, who fall into the age range) good neighbors and good civic participants and good consumers.

Very few of the student renters getting out into Allston/Brighton or Mission Hill or lower Allston have any real idea of what their rights as tenants are. A more educated renting populace can help keep both rents down and landlords accountable by pressing their legal tactics. A/B wouldn't get such a bad rap if half the buildings in the neighborhood weren't about to fall over from lack of maintenance and absentee landlords.

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