A Sensible Set of Requirements

We are proposing changes that will prepare us for future climate impact and improve overall climate resiliency, community health and safety. Our proposal will expand the applicable zoning requirements within the existing floodplain to improve open space, infrastructure, and stormwater management and creates a Green Factor to increase the environmental performance of urban design.

Read the Facts

Climate change is real.  The impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more frequent and powerful storms, and rapid sea level rise, are increasing quickly. These impacts present a significant threat, both globally and locally across our entire City

Protect the Floodplain

Step One in our proposal is to update existing FPOD zoning requirements to address newer climate change forecasts and impact vulnerabilities. This is important to protect human life and property from the hazards of periodic flooding that are forecasted to increase. The proposed changes are in red

Establish a Green Factor

Step Two establishes a Green Factor value-based system to increase the environmental performance and quality of urban landscape and features. This will rate properties on reduction of stormwater runoff, the improvement of urban air quality, mitigation of the urban heat island effect

Key Points and Recommended Amendments

At the request of the Ordinance Committee Co-Chairs, we collected our top key points that we felt really needed to be addressed rapidly, along with suggestions for amending the original petition to focus those points.

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Our Main Goal

To protect the health, safety, and general welfare, to protect human life and property from the hazards of periodic flooding, to preserve the natural flood control characteristics, and the flood storage capacity of the floodplain, to preserve and maintain the groundwater recharge areas within the floodplain, and to provide a mechanism for a comprehensive review of development in the Flood Plain Overlay District and the design and location of flood water retention systems and their relationship to other surrounding development.

We will provide a roadmap for sustainable design and development to increase the environmental performance and quality of urban landscape features through the Green Factor, which is measured as a ratio of the weighted value of all landscape elements in relation to the total land area of a lot. This will prioritize landscape elements and site design that contributes to the reduction of stormwater runoff, the improvement of urban air quality, mitigation of the urban heat island effect, and improved well-being of residents and visitors.

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What Can You Do.....

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Contact City Councilors
Let them know you are concerned about climate safety and that:

  • We must not allow more buildings to be permitted and constructed under old and outdated standards. The Climate Safety Petition includes key points that need to be turned into written requirements before proceeding with these new projects. Clear and strong climate safety standards are needed now, so that the City’s Envision planning can include them in its final proposals.
  • Keeping residents and workers safe from expected changes in climate is no different than requiring buildings to be protected from fire or other hazards. The City does not permit buildings that lack fire safety or that don’t meet basic building codes. Protection from climate threats is equally important.
  • We are all concerned about the affordable housing crisis, but it is also important to the protect people living and working in new buildings from the effects of climate change.
  • The objective of the petition is to establish requirements that make new buildings safe for their occupants and for neighboring properties. The petition was never intended to stop affordable housing development anywhere in Cambridge.
  • Keeping the climate safety discussion going at City Council while we wait for the final report from Envision Cambridge, the first report from the new Urban Forest Task Force, and other city efforts ensures that we are able to rapidly and properly address these urgent issues.
Monday July 30th 5:30pm
Discuss the Petition in front of the City Council
City Hall 2nd Floor Sullivan Chamber
795 Massachusetts Ave.