(EDITOR’S NOTE: Special Town Meeting Article 1 asks “To see if the Town will eliminate multi-family housing in the central business and neighborhood mixed use districts defined in the Wilmington zoning bylaws.” If this article passes, no new apartments, condos or townhouses can be built in town. The one exception would be through the state’s 40B program. (The town may become susceptible to 40B projects if its affordable housing stock falls below 10% of its overall housing stock after the 2020 census.) 40B housing projects do not need to follow local zoning regulations. Such developments can be higher, bigger, and denser than what’s normally permitted.)Dear Editor,Many voices have been raised in recent weeks warning of the potential costs to Wilmington of additional multi-family development. Some have gone so far as to suggest that these costs, particularly in the form of increased school enrollment, could bankrupt the town. I believe the costs would be significantly lower than many fear.People have long assumed that an increase in housing units leads to an increase in the school population. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (the public regional planning agency serving the 101 towns of greater Boston) has looked at the data and last year published a study concluding that “the conventional wisdom that links housing production with inevitable enrollment growth no longer holds true.” Not only have demographic trends (with baby boomers’ children aging out of school and subsequent generations having fewer children) led to a sharp decrease in school enrollment generally, but those towns that have experienced an increase in enrollment have done so largely irrespective of housing production, as a result either of their highly desirable school districts (Belmont, Brookline, Lexington) or their much-more-affordable-than-average housing stock (Revere, Everett, Chelsea, Lynn). Wilmington’s school population has mirrored the general demographic trends, falling 9.14% from 2011 to 2017 (from 3732 to 3391 students).For those interested in reading more, the MAPC study is available at www.mapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/MAPC_HousingEnrollment_Final.pdf and general school enrollment data can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/infoservices/reports/enroll/default.html?yr=1011.Concerns have also been raised about increased traffic and other infrastructure burdens. While such burdens are undoubtedly real, they can be mitigated. First, multi-family development is not permitted as of right in any zoning district in Wilmington. Instead, in those two districts in which multi-family development is possible, it requires site review and a special permit. The Planning Board thus must be involved and determine, together with the developer, what mitigation measures may be appropriate. Second, multi-family development will generate revenue for the town (unlike other ideas that have been floated for large parcels of developable land, such as town acquisition or taking by eminent domain), which revenue can be used towards services many believe the town already needs, such as construction of a fire sub-station.Multi-family development can advance many of Wilmington’s stated goals. It can preserve open space, by allowing developers to concentrate units on a portion of a site, rather than having to build out the entire site with sprawling single family lots. It can also provide a greater variety of housing units, including those that may be more accessible physically and monetarily to our seniors.Given the robust Boston area economy, development will occur. Leaving development to neighboring towns may seem like a good idea, but likely will result in Wilmington bearing many of the consequences, such as increased traffic, while generating none of the revenue. Multi-family development need not undermine Wilmington’s character. Done correctly, it can improve the town.Sincerely,Megan CoslickLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedHOT BUTTON ISSUE: Should The Town Prevent New Condos & Apartments From Being Built? Could It Backfire? (Article 1)In “Government”LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fasulo Urges Voters To Support Article 2, Oppose Article 53; “Facts Don’t Add Up” On Sciarappa Village ProposalIn “Letter To The Editor”WHOA! Apartment Complex, 7 Retail Stores & Bank Proposed At Woburn St. & Lowell St. IntersectionIn “Government”
Share KZENON / SHUTTERSTOCKRecent headlines, like the Trump administration’s efforts to ban travelers from certain countries, have raised questions in education circles about whether U.S. politics are having an impact on foreign student enrollment at American universities. I spoke with KERA’s managing editor Eric Aasen about a recent international enrollment report and what local university officials are saying.The enrollment studyIn a new report called “Open Doors” by the Institute of International Education, the overall number of international students grew 3.4 percent during the 2016-17 school year over the previous academic year.That brought the total number of international students to nearly 1.08 million – or 35,000 more students – than the year before.The number of new international students enrolled in fall 2016 declined by 3 percent – or 10,000 students – from the previous year. This is the first time in 12 years the number of new international students has declined.The report cites a number of reasons for the drop, including global and local economic conditions and higher education opportunities in a student’s home country. Enrollment in North TexasSome schools have seen a decline in their enrollment of international students.“We did notice and we’re told by colleagues abroad and even faculty here that there is quite a bit of talk about ‘What is happening in the United States?’”At the University of Texas at Arlington, the total enrollment number is up, but the number of foreign students is down by more than 400.UTA has the highest enrollment of undergraduate international students this year, but the number of graduate international students is down 14 percent.Troy Johnson, vice-president for enrollment management at UTA, said:“We did notice and we’re told by colleagues abroad and even faculty here that there is quite a bit of talk about ‘What is happening in the United States?’ and ‘What will happen in terms of the future opportunities for students that study there or students that even finish degrees? Will jobs and all be available?’”At the University of North Texas, foreign student enrollment was down 9 percent this fall versus last fall, according to university officials.Lauren Jacobsen, interim director for international students and scholar services at UNT, said:“We’ve seen an increase in global competition for international students, so students have more options now than they have in the past in terms of going to education in Canada or in the UK or Australia. They’ve all increased their recruitment efforts.”How local universities are respondingUTA has hosted town hall meetings with help of the university’s Office of International Education and the Division of Student Affairs. UTA’s president visited China this fall to promote the school and develop the relationship with education officials there.At UNT, President Neal Smatresk wrote a letter to students and faculty that said the school was “deeply concerned about the well-being” of those on campus. The letter welcomed students and said diversity is the school’s strength. It included a list of resources, such as counseling and legal services.
A federal grand jury has returned a nine-count racketeering indictment for 14 alleged members of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang, bringing the total number of BGF members and associates indicted in federal court since April 2009 to 118.The indictment, which was unsealed June 11, charges the 14 men with conspiring to violate federal racketeering and drug trafficking laws. Two defendants also are charged with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and attempted murder in aid of racketeering. Four defendants are charged with using a gun in relation to violent crimes; and one defendant also faces charges of drug trafficking, possession of a gun in furtherance of drug trafficking and illegal possession of a gun.“Federal, state and local agencies have joined to target leaders and key members of violent gangs operating in Baltimore City,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Today’s indictment alleges that the Black Guerilla Family gang is an organized criminal enterprise with leaders and members who deal drugs and commit violent crimes. Anyone who joins a criminal gang can be held accountable for all crimes committed by fellow gang members.”According to prosecutors, the defendants—mostly Baltimore residents—worked together to further the business of BGF through a pattern of criminal activity from at least 2012 to the present, engaging in murder, extortion, robbery, and retaliation against a witness or informant.The men also were charged with trafficking heroin, cocaine base (crack), cocaine and oxycodone to customers in the Baltimore area, including the area of Pratt and Payson streets, a BGF-controlled drug shop at Baltimore and Catherine streets, on Lemmon Street, and also to customers in Howard County, Md.The list of defendants includes:Timothy Michael Gray, a/k/a “Mike Gray,” “Uncle Mike,” “MG,” and “M”, age 47,Robert Nedd, a/k/a “Pizza,” and “P,” age 44Mark Bazemore, a/k/a “Uncle Mark,” age 30Marshall Spence, “a/k/a “Uncle M,” age 33Irvin Vincent, a/k/a “O,” and “O-dog,” age 26, of Hanover, Md.Glendrict Frazier, a/k/a “Glen” and “Uncle Glen,” age 51Timothy Hurtt, a/k/a “Uncle Tim,” and “Tim,” age 44William Harrington, a/k/a “Boosie” and “Boosey,” age 34Tyrone Franklin, a/k/a “Bones,” age 35Troy Kellam, a/k/a “G,” age 29Calvin Palmer, a/k/a “C,” age 21,Davon Robinson, a/k/a “Veeto,” age 26,Michael Smith, Jr., a/k/a “Mikey,” “Lil Mike,” and “Mik,” age 29, andDaquan Burman, a/k/a “Day-Day,” age 20.The defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison on the racketeering and drug conspiracy charges, and additional years on some of the other counts.