Stephanie Muccini Burke Questionaire Responses

1. What are three issues you want to address if you are elected to become Mayor?

  • Medford Square Revitalization and development of the Riverfront. Additionally,
    a thorough review of zoning throughout all business districts
  • Review of Public Safety initiatives for greater visibility throughout the
    community along with options for a new Police Station. .
  • Review and incorporate policy changes to the operation of City Hall from an
    efficiency and customer service perspective

2. What is your understanding of climate change and what do you think Medford’s role
should be, if any, in preparing for climate change?

a. I believe that Medford, in concert with the region, should collaborate on research
and initiatives concerning climate change. Medford should play an active role in
the research and dialogue concerning the future. Medford should collaborate with
our research university in the city, Tufts University, to identify opportunities for
growth management.

3. Do you think that residents understand enough about our city’s government? What changes would you push for to increase or decrease that understanding?
a. No, I do not think that residents understand enough about our city’s government. I would propose quarterly ward meetings, similar to Resistat in Somerville, and education programs provided by the city concerning the following processes: budget, home assessment, procurement, zoning etc. Also, the City’s web site will be redesigned in a more interactive format so that efficiencies can be gained from automation. The City website will provide a forum and a blog for citizen comment as well as survey techniques to elicit and incorporate citizen engagement with dialogue and a concerted effort we will be able to broaden the understanding of government’s role in the daily lives of its citizens.

3. Do you support the Green Line extension to College Ave? Do you think Medford should
push for the extension to Route 16?

a. I am on record as supporting the Green Line extension to College Ave and the
Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s efforts to fund to Rt. 16.

4. Medford’s streets have become treacherous to walk, bicycle and drive on. What plan
would you push for to get all of our streets brought back to an acceptable level during
your term?

a. I would plan on aggressively utilizing annual Chapter 90 funds of roughly
$950,000 that the City is allotted each year to first focus on the main streets
throughout the community with special attention to crosswalks in and around
schools and senior housing. Community Development Block Grants will also be
leveraged to accomplish the greatest amount of construction possible. The City
will develop a program to fill potholes until permanent funding is approved.
Further, the condition of all roads will be incorporated into a detailed five and ten
year Capital Plan for the City that will be cooperatively prepared with input from
City Council, School Committee and citizens.

5. Are you familiar with “Complete Streets” policies? Would you encourage or discourage
the adoption of a “Complete Streets” plan for Medford?

a. Yes, I am familiar with “Complete Streets” I would encourage the adoption and
also a seat at the table for the Bicycle Commission in reviewing and
recommending projects to be undertaken. Also, if adopted, the legislature
appropriated $50 million to be allocated to communities that adopt a Complete
Street policy/ordinance over a five year period beginning in FY15. This could
augment road work needs mentioned in question 4.

6. Do you think Medford should adopt the Community Preservation Act? Regardless of
whether you believe we should adopt it, if it passes in Medford, what project would you
like to see among the first 5 undertaken?

a. I do think that Medford should adopt the CPA. If the funds were available today,
the first five projects that I believe should be reviewed by the committee are: 1)
Parks and playgrounds should be enhanced for accessibility for children, elders
and people with disabilities (ADA compliant). Playing fields should be upgraded
for safety and increased length of use. 2) Additional sprinkler parks and
community gardens should be built 3) The Historic Brooks Estate should be
preserved in compliance with the Preservation Agreement. 4) Chevalier Theatre
should be upgraded with air conditioning and new façade and 5) creation of
affordable housing units

7. The Mystic River is one of Medford’s great natural resources. Several organizations have
been collaborating to improve the paths along the river to provide connected routes for
recreational, transportation, and commuter walking and bicycling. One such path is the
proposed “Clippership Connector” between Medford Square and the middle school
complex at River Bend Park. What is your view about how the city should work with
stakeholder on such a path? Should the city help to fund such a path?

a. The City has been highly successful in obtaining grants to increase the
connectivity along the River way. I would pursue these grant opportunities
aggressively to continue the connectivity along the River. The City should be the
catalyst to include stakeholders and interested parties in the discussion on the
future of this path.

8. What is your position on affordable housing? What steps, if any, would you push for to
see more affordable housing in Medford? What would you do to keep Medford
affordable for lifelong residents?

a. Affordable housing and housing that is affordable are two goals that Medford
should strive to increase. An element of all housing production should encompass
an affordability component. An Inclusionary Housing Proposal should be
completed and moved for adoption.

9. Do you think Medford has too many or too few liquor and entertainment licenses? Should Medford’s entertainment licensing rules be changed? How and why?
a. I believe that there should be an unlimited number of liquor and entertainment
licenses from the state and the local licensing, via community input, should
determine the awarding of these licenses. There should not be a limit as set by
state statute. In addition, the licensing commission should adopt the “trial” rules
established for entertainment licenses. When on the city council, I initiated the
discussion that led to a home rule petition to allow for beer & wine licenses in our
community in concert with residents and small restaurants. We should not have
to travel to outside communities for our entertainment venues.

10. Surrounding cities and towns have “sidewalk cafes” as part of their lounge and restaurant businesses, including those where the front of the building effectively opens up to the sidewalk. Would you support changes to ordinances and regulations to allow that type of establishment in the city?
a. I was a supporter of “sidewalk cafes” when on the city council and continue to
fully support them. I think that they should be allowed by right without the need
for a special permit from the City Council as long as spacial requirements exist.
We should be trying to encourage small businesses by reducing obstacles and not
creating them.

11. What is one ordinance in Medford you would like to see changed? What change would
you push for?

a. There is a Massachusetts General Law that I would like to see amended: the
Owner Occupied Exemption. Currently, it is a fixed dollar amount based on the
average value of homes in the city. The fixed amount is applied to all properties
resulting in an added burden to owner-occupied properties valued over the breakeven
point and savings to owner-occupied properties below the break-even point.
I do not believe this was the law’s intent. The exemption should be pro-rata
which would benefit all owner-occupied properties. I offered an amendment
several years ago that failed to be voted on by the legislature. I would introduce
this again.

12. Do you think there should be changes to Medford’s zoning? What sort of changes?
a. A detailed review of all ordinances should be conducted to determine if the standards established are necessary or an obstacle to development for both residential and commercial. Medford Square should have its own unique zone that provides for a reduced need for parking spaces and setbacks among other changes. The sidewalk café ordinance listed above should also be amended.

14. Boston and Cambridge have energy disclosure ordinances:
“In 2013, the City of Boston enacted the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO). This Ordinance requires Boston’s large- and medium-sized buildings to report their annual energy and water use to the City of Boston, after which the City makes the information publicly available. Additionally, every five years, buildings need to complete an energy assessment or energy action; exemptions are provided for buildings that are already efficient or are making significant progress on energy efficiency.
Cambridge has a similar ordinance. Should Medford follow suit? Why or why not?
a. Yes, Medford should adopt such an ordinance, joining many US cities in the effort to conserve energy and water. Medford would phase in the requirement over several years, with a set compliance date for building owners to adopt a tool to measure energy use, water use and green house emissions. Initially the City would lead the way in reporting requirements in its buildings and release online these results. Adopting a reporting and disclosure ordinance is a protocol to guide building owners to operate energy efficient buildings. Medford will make all information available online so building owners can share and identify best practices. Energy audits benefit both the business community and the public by identifying opportunities to save resources in a sustainable way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *