This week in the question of the week series leading up to the Sept. 4 election, State Rep. candidates Rebecca Stone and Tommy Vitolo talk development and Brookline.
The State Representative race is heating up as Democratic candidates Rebecca Stone and Tommy Vitolo vie for the 15th Norfolk District House of Representatives seat.
Vitolo and Stone each announced their candidacy after Rep. Frank Smizik announced in December that he would not seek re-election when his term ends January 2019. His retirement will end 18 years in the House.
After 12 years serving on the School Committee and 16 as a Town Meeting member, Stone has spent her career working across government, nonprofit, advocacy and philanthropy sectors.
Outside of his job working on energy, economic, and environmental topics for a research and consulting firm, Vitolo, a Town Meeting member since 2007, has worked on Brookline issues ranging from tobacco control and safe schools, to clean energy and transportation.
Every week until the election on Sept. 4, the candidates will answer a weekly question posed by the TAB. This week the candidates talk about development.
Question: How would you balance responsible development in Brookline with the needs/expectations of the state?
Vitolo: The 40B projects in Brookline are compressed. They’re compressed in space, nearly exclusively between Coolidge Corner and JFK Crossing, rather than throughout our Town. They’re also compressed in time – the Town staff and volunteer board members are overwhelmed by the quantity of proposals and the state-mandated time limits for review. I will advocate for change to allow for better spacing: physically spacing the developments throughout municipalities, and restricting the number of projects under simultaneous development.
Stone: Massachusetts needs affordable housing, better public transportation, and safe infrastructure. Instead, Brookline is facing massive, mostly high-end developments abusing Chapter 40b. This overwhelms north Brookline and its inadequate Green Line. It’s making Brookline unaffordable for our growing senior population and working families. My opponent voted to weaken the Town’s ability to negotiate better development projects. As State Rep, I will work with Brookline to improve 40b and support financing and partnerships to increase affordable housing.