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Old 05-17-2019, 06:14 PM   #1
stick n move
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Annexation

At the time Brookline being the first town in the US to refuse annexation from its larger nearby city (Boston) was championed and lead to many more towns doing the same. Looking back idk if it was a good thing. Do you guys think Boston should try to annex more cities/towns today? Today the actual city limits are nowhere even close to where the city limits are in practice.

I dont think really any benefits come from Boston being so small and the surrounding towns all being on different pages. I think it would be much more beneficial if Boston were to annex more cities/towns to greater match reality, grow the population, land area, and help with housing. The city is so small that it doesnt really have many areas far enough from downtown to build cheaper housing, and it effects transit as well. What do you guys think?
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:12 PM   #2
odurandina
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Re: Annexation

This reality + extreme provincialism is dooming Boston to mediocrity.
Every parcel is debunked for height by somebody......

the old Combat Zone is iconic.....
1 Brom too close to 45 Province St nimby's.....
that's too close to Beacon Hill......
too close to the Airway 27.....
it's too close to Bay Village......
that IS Bay Village........
that's Chinatown....
that's not Downtown.....
that's too close to the water......
that's bha; but the neighborhood is dead set against expension....
that's too close to Brookline.....
you will cast shadow on the Monastery....
they already wrecked it.... but the people will call that 'more reckless wrecking....'
sorry, too close to Fenway Park....
you can't even put a brownstone there....
nooo, it casts shadows on brownstones......
that's Mission Hill....
that casts shadow on duckboats.........
it casts shadow on the Charles.....
it's Allston..... no way!!
casts shadow on the Esplanade..........
people will be killed.....
that borders on West Roxbury....
that's Jamaica Plain (rtfm).....
that's Back Bay too close to Comm Ave....
the Friends of the Public Garden don't allow that....
That's Hyde Park.....
too close to sailboats.....
the dolphins will die.......
Southie residents won't allow that......
the loons running the asylum will be offended...........
Harbor Towers goons said no!!
That's not even in Roxbury.... it's Rozzie...
Amos Hostetter killed it........
rents in Eastie will skyrocket........
Church of Christ Scientist said no height there.....
the Archdiocese owns that.....
That's Southie not Dorchester.
That's Dorchester, man you can't........
there's a school there.....
that's John Henry's domain......
think of the children....
the streets are too narrow......
that's historic parcels there.....
it'll cause gentrification...........
the people in neighborhood doesn't want to see hotels built....
too close to historical mortars that get mold.........
it's a Bullfinch lands zoned @ 100 feet.......

Yes, Boston is doomed.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:44 PM   #3
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Re: Annexation

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Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
This reality + extreme provincialism is dooming Boston to mediocrity.

Yes, Boston is doomed.
I tend to agree. The traffic gridlock is the worst in America, the housing costs are at the very highest end nationally, and, yes, NIMBYs shoot down almost every effort to expand transit (Red Line to Arlington, etc.).
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:40 AM   #4
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Re: Annexation

Boston is not doomed, that being said it has the potential to be a lot better than it is today. If we decided as a city that our #1 priority was to have the best transit network in the country, that would solve most of the bigger problems like access to cheaper housing, traffic gridlock, more money in peoples pockets without a vehicle expense, all classes of society having equal access to high paying jobs, and a more connected and integrated city.

Idk how the “powers that be” do not realize that this is the answer. Transit, transit, transit. No we wont have more miles of track than NYC, but DC is constantly rated one of the top transit networks in the country. The commuter rail actually is EXTREMELY extensive, especially with the new Taunton/New Bedford lines coming. The thing is its cut in half and slow. If nsrl were done, it was electrified, and the towns/cities along it shifted back towards pivoting their cores around the station, and moving some stations into the core, it would be huge. People should be able to live in a new unit along the CR line built in their downtown core, and take a quick 1 seat ride to downtown. The commuter rail with electrification and nsrl really holds the keys to the region. If they do that and then red-blue, blue-lynn...etc it would be a game changer.

Anyways though I think annexation would help the city be able to do more with transit than it can now. The area is so provincial its a hinderance, and on top of that people do not even know whats best for them... like Arlington refusing the red line. I think it would be beneficial if literally in practice downtown Bostons own core werent all on different pages. Cities like Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Somerville, Medford, Malden, Everett, Brookline, Newton should become neighborhoods imo. Even lynn for the blue line imo. Screw it Dedham and Milton would add some far flung neighborhoods too... as many towns/cities within 95 as possible should be scooped up, the extra land and tax base would go a LONG way.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Annexation

Not sure annexation would be a solution for anything but it's highly unlikely that any of the bordering communities that fit the criteria for annexation would vote in favor.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: Annexation

Okay, no actual annexation, but how about making the metro area (out to about halfway between I-95 and I-495) one COUNTY with strong planning powers and funding from the member cities and towns. Combine the parts of Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties that fall within this metro boundary into one county called Boston County. This county would be established with muscle enough to override NIMBY objections to transit expansion and TOD at the transit and commuter rail stations. It's time to bid quant olde New England good bye and get our ass in gear with the 21st century.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:45 PM   #7
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Re: Annexation

Considering Chelsea rather opted for receivership by the State instead of be annexed by Boston in 1991, I don't think the future is bright for annexation. Especially wealthy towns that surround Boston like Milton/Newton/Brookline/etc have absolutely no incentive to ever actually join the City - they get all of the benefits by proximity, and don't have to deal with any of the drawbacks (school systems, zoning, etc).

I agree with Charlie - the path forward would be creating a strong metro level governance that could over time be phased in to help coordinate and override local governments.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:03 AM   #8
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Re: Annexation

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Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
Okay, no actual annexation, but how about making the metro area (out to about halfway between I-95 and I-495) one COUNTY with strong planning powers and funding from the member cities and towns. Combine the parts of Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties that fall within this metro boundary into one county called Boston County. This county would be established with muscle enough to override NIMBY objections to transit expansion and TOD at the transit and commuter rail stations. It's time to bid quant olde New England good bye and get our ass in gear with the 21st century.
Great idea. I think your on to something, that was the point of this thread for ideas.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:30 AM   #9
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Re: Annexation

Brookline will never even consider it.

Three words: Compare School Systems

Charlie MTA hits the nail on the head, though. What holds back almost all of Massachusetts is the outdated city/town model of having individual bureaucracies. Think of the duplication of police departments, fire departments, school systems and their attendant pensions, committees, etc all reinventing the wheel on their own. How many billions of dollars could be saved just by county consolidation? It’s an enormous fiscal weight around the ankles of the commonwealth. It’s as unnecessary and wasteful as police traffic details, OT abuse, outdated pension troughs, etc.

Massachusetts is already one of the best states to live in. Some very definite and pinpointed fixes would make it worldwide top level.

Last edited by shmessy; 05-19-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:35 AM   #10
stick n move
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Re: Annexation

Yea I think thats the answer. Thats why I made the thread was to get a discussion going and try to get ideas. I think that one is very good. I wonder what the processes are and how hard it is to change a county. Probably pretty hard, but if its worth it its worth it.

On top of that I think Boston needs to make it our #1 priority to build and maintain the best transit system in the US. We need to take pride in our transit system and being the best. Obviously there would need to be a purge first. Were now rated the worst traffic in the country. Thats not a throwaway statistic, theres going to be large numbers attached to that of lost prosperity. Over time that will add up to billions lost. Our actual rail system in the state is very extensive, it just needs to be vastly improved and utilized.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:13 AM   #11
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Re: Annexation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
Okay, no actual annexation, but how about making the metro area (out to about halfway between I-95 and I-495) one COUNTY with strong planning powers and funding from the member cities and towns. Combine the parts of Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties that fall within this metro boundary into one county called Boston County. This county would be established with muscle enough to override NIMBY objections to transit expansion and TOD at the transit and commuter rail stations. It's time to bid quant olde New England good bye and get our ass in gear with the 21st century.
They did that with London, just much more strongly... and completely abolished what remained of Middlesex County. They called the new country Greater London; Boston could do the same.

The MWRA and MDC were created for this purpose, and it's a goal worth pursuing.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:49 AM   #12
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Re: Annexation

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Originally Posted by bakgwailo View Post
Considering Chelsea rather opted for receivership by the State instead of be annexed by Boston in 1991, I don't think the future is bright for annexation. Especially wealthy towns that surround Boston like Milton/Newton/Brookline/etc have absolutely no incentive to ever actually join the City - they get all of the benefits by proximity, and don't have to deal with any _________
Poor people. Just say poor people.

both posts; spot on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
Okay, no actual annexation, but how about making the metro area (out to about halfway between I-95 and I-495) one COUNTY with strong planning powers and funding from the member cities and towns. Combine the parts of Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties that fall within this metro boundary into one county called Boston County. This county would be established with muscle enough to override NIMBY objections to transit expansion and TOD at the transit and commuter rail stations. It's time to bid quant olde New England good bye and get our ass in gear with the 21st century.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:21 AM   #13
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Re: Annexation

So how does this work here? How does the state go about creating a new county?
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:57 AM   #14
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Re: Annexation

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Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
Poor people. Just say poor people.
Poor people zoning??
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:37 AM   #15
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Re: Annexation

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Originally Posted by Charlie_mta View Post
I tend to agree. The traffic gridlock is the worst in America, the housing costs are at the very highest end nationally, and, yes, NIMBYs shoot down almost every effort to expand transit (Red Line to Arlington, etc.).
Count me on the fence. Annexation in other cities often just left to some communities being chosen by the centralized authorities to become oppressed ethnic ghettos or industrial wastelands.... or at best neglected.

Look at the West End destruction for good examples of why a strong local government is better than centralization.

Brookline and Cambridge did just fine without being turned into Alston, Brighton, Roxbury or Dorchester.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:18 PM   #16
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Re: Annexation

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Count me on the fence. Annexation in other cities often just left to some communities being chosen by the centralized authorities to become oppressed ethnic ghettos or industrial wastelands.... or at best neglected.

Look at the West End destruction for good examples of why a strong local government is better than centralization.

Brookline and Cambridge did just fine without being turned into Alston, Brighton, Roxbury or Dorchester.
It cuts both ways. On one hand, Cambridge doesn't have an interstate through it. On the other, Arlington doesn't have a subway running through it. Sometimes hyperlocal government "saves" a community and sometimes it allows a community to be petulant and avoid taking their medicine.

I don't have all the answers, but I'm not from Mass originally and I'm endlessly perplexed by the hyperlocal government here. I think Greater Boston would greatly benefit from having a county that can do a better job than Beacon Hill at brokering deals between municipalities. I don't know exactly what powers it would need to have, but some kind of legislative body that reflects the interdependence of the municipalities inside 128 would be great.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:39 PM   #17
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Re: Annexation

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It cuts both ways. On one hand, Cambridge doesn't have an interstate through it. On the other, Arlington doesn't have a subway running through it. Sometimes hyperlocal government "saves" a community and sometimes it allows a community to be petulant and avoid taking their medicine.

I don't have all the answers, but I'm not from Mass originally and I'm endlessly perplexed by the hyperlocal government here. I think Greater Boston would greatly benefit from having a county that can do a better job than Beacon Hill at brokering deals between municipalities. I don't know exactly what powers it would need to have, but some kind of legislative body that reflects the interdependence of the municipalities inside 128 would be great.
Maybe we could call it the "Metropolitan District Commission" or the "Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority" or the "Massachusetts Water Resources Authority" or the "Metropolitan Area Planning Council"...

Snark aside I agree there does need to be some straightforward way to supersede local zoning, but the current methods (40B, Dover amendment, DEP) are far too ad hoc and after the fact and don't lend themselves to good comprehensive forward planning. I would rather see the above agencies get together for recommendations to the state legislature and representatives from affected communities in a carrot and stick approach to override local zoning in particular instances where a regional approach is needed for transportation, infrastructure and regional growth related planning.

I would be very much against just abdicating power from the legislative branch to some appointed commissions... we already do too much of that and it is a recipe for corruption, abuse and ineffectiveness.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:04 PM   #18
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Re: Annexation

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It cuts both ways. On one hand, Cambridge doesn't have an interstate through it.
Neither does JP, which lead the charge along with Cambridge to stop the interstate expansion.
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