Save The Cambridge Skyline

Save Our Skyline is a citizens group dedicated to protecting  the Cambridge skyline by rolling back the recently passed sign zoning amendment.
Save Our Skyline is a citizens group dedicated to protecting the Cambridge skyline by rolling back
the recently passed zoning amendment affecting building signs.
The Sign Amendment

On September 27th, the Cambridge City Council approved an amendment to the city's Zoning Ordinance. The new law makes two far-reaching changes by adding:

  • A Building Identification Sign provision that allows illuminated signs at the rooflines of large buildings along the Charles River, in East Cambridge, and west of Alewife Brook Parkway.
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  • A General Waiver provision that gives the Planning Board broad discretion to waive zoning limitations on individual signs located below 20 feet.
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Although there was strong public opposition at every hearing held to discuss this amendment, the City Council voted 6 – 3 to enact it. (See How the City Council Voted.)


The Repeal Process

To roll back the amendment, Save Our Skyline launched a petition drive calling for the Building Identification Sign Provision and General Waiver provisions to be rescinded.

To succeed, the campaign was required by law to gather 7,554 valid signatures (12% of the 62,947 voters registered in Cambridge). From the initial set of petitions submitted on October 15th, the Election Commission certified 11,461 valid signatures.

Ultimately, the campaign collected signatures of almost 20,000 people over the full 20-day period that the law allows.

The City Council is obligated now to reconsider the amendment. They can vote to rescind it. If they do not do so within 20 days, a question will be put on the ballot so that Cambridge voters can decide. Should this happen, Save Our Skyline is prepared to sustain repeal efforts all the way through that election in 2011.


About Save Our Skyline

The Save Our Skyline coalition consists of Cambridge citizens who came together to educate the public, to advocate against passage of the amendment and, later, to repeal it.  They have written letters to City Councilors and Planning Board members, testified at public hearings, made phone calls, sent email messages, sent letters to local newspapers, and collected signatures. Save Our Skyline was founded by Terry Ragon, a 30-year resident of Cambridge, a philanthropist, and the founder and CEO of InterSystems Corporation, a software company that has been headquartered at One Memorial Drive in Cambridge for 22 years.