The Boston Redevelopment Authority said a planned development with 20 condos and commercial space at 3371 Washington St./197 Green St. had divided community opinion. They’ve asked developer Walter Craven to rework the design.
One way to judge the neighborhood’s attitude toward the project is reading the “comment letters” the city received in response to the current plans.
Of the sixteen comment letters received, ten were in support, although some of those ten were not from residents of the neighborhood. All businesses and property owners in the vicinity who commented were in favor.
“Green Street is starting to come alive,” wrote one business owner, saying the three spaces for businesses “can only mean new prosperity and life to our neighborhood.”
Another merchant echoed that feeling:”The proposal definitely shows new life for our end of town…rejuvenating Green and Washington streets.”
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Mystery Petition Draws 46 Signatures in Support
The most interesting of the written statements was a two-and-half page petition signed by 46 people who lived, worked or owned businesses in the vicinity of the planned development. The statement was in favor of the proposal. It was not known who circulated the petition, however.
There apparently is no union in the Union Avenue Neighborhood Association. Number 10 Union Ave. is opposed while number 8 is in support.
“I live directly behind the development,” the resident of number 8 wrote.”I may be the only abutter directly affected. I would like to voice my support.”
Behind number 10 sits the twin woodframe house number 10R and that resident supports the development too: “I am a very close abutter,” she wrote. “I support Walter in his project. It is going to help this area come alive.”
The owner of the brick apartment building at 3350-3356 Washington Street at the corner of Glen Road wanted to help a friend of 30 years, writing: “It seems fair to me that a man who has helped build JP into what it is today gets to reap some of the benefits of the current trend towards gentrification that has been taking place in our community.”
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Mayor’s Plans Could Impact Next Proposal
A Brookside Avenue resident was worried about the precedent that he feared was being set by this development. He wanted to “avoid a situation in which for-profit developers are awarded height and set back variances at odds with the neighbors…this has never happened in our neighborhood.”
It’s unknown how a push announced last week by Mayor Marty Walsh to allow greater density and less parking along the Orange Line in JP might affect the next version of Craven’s proposal.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority is certainly correct when it noted that the “it’s clear that the community is divided about the proposed development.” One Union Avenue resident wrote that the developer has made no changes in his plans while another wrote that the developer has made “numerous changes.”
One writer said that the project would spoil “the quality of life for [our]Union Ave neighbors”. The 46 signers of the petition “fully support” the statement above their names that “the proposal would be an asset to our community.”
“We appreciate the input of residents and leaders in the public meeting last month,” wrote the BRA in its statement. “We’ve asked Mr. Craven to go back to the drawing board and rework the design of his proposal to address the concerns that have been raised.”
In this writer’s opinion, that input would have been strengthened if the resident(s) who circulated the petition had identified themselves on the document and if the leaders of the Union Avenue Neighborhood Association had signed their letter.