Thats insane! Councilor Reyes said looking squarely at his colleague across the table. To put a three family dwelling on a lot thats only 3,800 square feet is just insane, theres no other word for it. I wont support that. The City of Lawrence seems to be going in the opposite direction the last several years. We would be setting a very dangerous precedent here if we start making exceptions like this."
Reyes also said he is concerned about clusters of people who have to live on top of each other and called for a more stable plan for housing in the city.
It was refreshing to hear Reyes take such a stand at a time when the mantra in the Hispanic community is to build even more low income housing regardless of the consequences.
And it is easy to understand why some in the community feel there is a need for more low income housing when the forces of low income developers and so called non -profits pack city council meetings to suit their own agenda.
The fact is, there is no low income housing crisis in the City of Lawrence. Lawrence is well above the 10% minimum state requirement for low-income homes. Surrounding communities are woefully inadequate in that regard. If there is a low income housing crisis it is in the surrounding communities of Andover, North Andover Methuen and Dracut.
But when (then) Lawrence City Councilor Michael Sweeney pointed that out a meeting lase year, he was called a racist by a fellow councilor. What he had proposed was elevating the lot size requirement for new home construction to 10,000 square feet per home. Members of the public who complained about overcrowding and lack of open space in the city were also branded racists when they tried to support the 10,000 foot requirement. But now Reyes, being of Puerto Rican heritage, escapes such demagoguery when he calls for larger lot size requirements which now allows a rational discussion to take place on the merits of the housing crisis in the city.
Reyes works in real estate and is well versed in the housing market as well as the need for housing in the city. He has a perfect opportunity here to help shape a master plan for housing in Lawrence. He also isnt caving in to the race baiting and hate mongering that has influenced his colleagues in the past and stifled a much needed debate on population and overcrowding in the city.
We have a real estate task force looking at this problem in the city, Reyes said. But we do need a master plan. I honestly believe that we can come up with a rational and reasonable plan to accommodate the need without cramming people on top of each other. Building a three family on 3,800 square feet just doesnt work for the city.
We have to keep a delicate balance, he continued, when we look at the need for housing in Lawrence. It has to be responsible and fair. I believe people should have a back yard for their kids to play, maybe even a place to park their car. We need a master plan that reflects this. It just makes no sense to crowd people in. Thats no solution. Music to my ears! Now if we could only get the majority of the City Council to understand this we would be well on our way toward a rational housing plan for the city. Of course the non profit poverty pimps will try to stop the efforts of Mr. Reyes.
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