Redevelopment Authority Approved: Measure Now Headed to Board of Aldermen

The Everett Common Council voted 15-1 on two resolutions Monday night that effectively establish the need for a Redevelopment Authority and the mechanism for establishing one under state law, with only Councilor Joseph King voting against the measures.

The two measures, which were publicly presented last month in the Rules and Ordinance Committee, now head to the Board of Aldermen next Monday, where the administration hopes they will be passed.

Assistant City Solicitor David Rodrigues addressed the council briefly prior to their vote, explaining the administration’s decision to seek the establishment of a Redevelopment Authority (RA) and outlining exactly what the RA can and cannot do if established.

According to Rodrigues, “it is important to note that the casino proposal is not the catalyst” for the administration’s effort to create a Redevelopment Authority in Everett. Rather, the Redevelopment Authority was something the Mayor and his staff had planned to pursue following the establishment of the Lower Broadway Master Plan (LBMP) last November. However, the need to pursue an RA, and the authority’s it provides to a municipality was highlighted by the casino proposal and the schedule for doing so was hastened.

Rodrigues also pointed out that creation of an RA in Everett will not provide that authority with a budget, will not create paying jobs and will not give away authority for undertakings such as eminent domain, to an outside agency.

“Creating the RA actually empowers the Council, because it gives you a tool to authorize (those types of efforts),” explained Rodrigues.

Under state law, the RA, if approved, would be established with five board members, all of whom must be Everett residents. Four of the board members would be appointed by the Mayor, but with Council approval power, so if an appointee did not meet the Council’s criteria for qualification, they could vote to not accept a particular appointee. The fifth member, also an Everett resident, would be appointed by the Massachusetts  Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

None of the board members will be paid and any budget that is provided to the RA will have to be approved by the Council through it’s normal process for appropriating funding.

As for eminent domain powers and powers to purchase land on behalf of a developer, Rodrigues noted that all such actions would have to be approved by the Council, which it would do when it adopts an Urban Renewal Zone. The RA will only have the authority to take such actions as it deems are necessary and as are approved by the City Council during the Urban Renewal Zone process.

The process to establish and outline an Urban Renewal Zone will take the city between six and nine-months, once an RA is established.

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