Page 2 THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, March 8, 2019 ~ Op-Ed ~ Malden resident a proponent of cohousing M y wife and I have been citizens of Malden since 1985. We raised our family here. I am a retired Malden teacher having taught at Malden High School, Malden Middle School and for a short time at the Holmes School. I ended my public school career as the Brunelli House Principal some eight years ago. I am now the Principal at Pope John High School, the area’s Catholic high school. I am invested in Malden and I want the best for our city. I feel that this new initiative of cohousing is one that we as a city should welcome and in fact become a leader. I read the recent article in the February 15 Advocate about the Malden Planning Board recommending amendments to the city’s zoning that would define cohousing and establish rules that would allow cohousing communities to build in residential-offi ce zones. I commend the Board, and I encourage the City Council and the citizens of Malden to support these amendments. I would love to see cohousing come to Malden. It sounds like a great idea. Residents of cohousing have private condos with kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. But the units are smaller than usual, because residents 8 Norwood St. Everett (617) 387-9810 Kitchen Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12-10pm Fri-Sat: 12-11pm Sunday: 1pm-10pm www.eight10barandgrille.com also have access to lots of common space. A large meeting hall and space for such things as fi tness, crafts and music all mean that neighbors in cohousing interact with each other much more than your normal neighbors, especially in this day and age. The increase of social isolation in our society is no secret. Loneliness has been labeled a health epidemic as serious as smoking or obesity by insurer Cigna and former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. It has also been linked to premature death. Cohousing is an antidote to the trends that people are less likely to spend time with neighbors, to join organizations and to be as civically engaged as they were 20 or 30 years ago. (When’s the last time you waited very long to vote in Malden?) An average cohousing community spends several years gathering its members and getting to know each other before it ever develops a parcel of land and eventually moves in. Neighborliness and engagement are baked into the whole process. Cohousing began in Denmark in the 1970s and came to the US in the 1990s. Locally, there are cohousing communities in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain. Several more are in western Massachusetts. Along with neighborliness, energy effi ciency and a decreased reliance on cars are often core values. A 2016 New York Times article about cohousing cited research fi ndings that, compared to the rest of us, cohousing residents feel an improved quality of life after they move in, “vote at twice the rate of the average American” and feel a stronger connection to nature. Cohousing sounds like a winwin for the city and those wishing to make Malden their home. But Malden hasn’t been so welcoming. I am friends with a member of Bay State Commons, a cohousing group that has been trying to build 30 owner-occupied condos on Pleasant Street. That group’s experience shows why current zoning is a poor fi t for cohousing. Despite having the support of Mayor Christenson, several city councillors and the abutters to their site, the group’s requested variances for such things as average unit size and garage confi guration were rejected by the Board of Appeals. I was at the meeting and was beyond amazed. If Malden’s standard zoning can’t accommodate cohousing, then maybe a set of rules for this type of living is worth the trouble. The proposed amendments apply only to the city’s four residential-office zoning districts and do not alter most regulations, like the citywide three-story maximum for multifamily housing. I think of these zoning changes as a little experiment that could improve Malden. What have we got to lose? Just some good neighbors, I guess. Thomas J. Mahoney ’70 Pope John High School Principal Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day! Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner Served All Day Sat., March 16 Where everyone’s Irish for a Day! Try our $10 DINNER Menu w/ 2 sides House announces $1B GreenWorks Resilient Communities Investment Plan tate Representative Steven Ultrino joined his colleagues in announcing a new initiative to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help communities across Massachusetts adopt technologies – including clean energy, energy effi - ciency, and climate change resiliency measures – that cut greenhouse gas emissions, fortify infrastructure and reduce municipal costs. The initiative, which is known as GreenWorks, builds on a long-standing House approach providing concrete tools directly to communiS ties with an immediate impact. “This long-term investment will help Massachusetts cities and towns build sustainable and resilient communities,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. “Not only will cities and towns have the ability to cut greenhouse gases and lower long-term energy and operating costs, but they will adopt Massachusetts-made innovative technologies and put people to work on cleantech infrastructure projects.” “I am excited to support this investment addressing climate change in our local communities,” said Rep. Ultrino. “I look forward to working with our local offi cials in helping Malden attain these funds once they become available.” These competitive grants are for cities and towns to fund projects including, but not limited to energy-effi cient buildings, solar, micro grids, energy storage, electric vehicle charging stations, or resiliency infrastructure. Under the proposal, the Executive Offi ce of Energy and Environmental Aff airs will administer the grants through its agencies. “Under Speaker Deleo’s leadership, the GreenWorks plan represents an exciting opportunity to pursue innovative approaches to funding clean energy, energy effi - ciency, and climate change resiliency projects that will make a real impact in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said State Rep. Thomas Golden, Jr., the chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “I applaud the Speaker’s strong commitment to advancing Massachusetts towards a clean energy future, and I look forward to productive conversations in the House.” Speaker DeLeo unveiled the legislation during a visit to the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation. Located in Somerville, Greentown Labs is the largest cleantech business incubator in the United States. According to the Greentown Labs website, it includes “more than 70 cleantech companies” and has incubated * A Delta Dental Premier Provider Dr. Mario Abdennour, Dr. Bhavisha Patel, Dr. Priti Amlani, Dr. Bruce Goldman and team. “120+ startup companies,” which “have collectively created more than 900 jobs and raised more than $260 million in funding!”

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