Stonybrook Neighborhood Group Urges Members to Speak Up About PLAN: JP/ROX

Editor’s note: Author Susan Cibulsky is a member of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association’s Washington Street Corridor Subcommittee.

PLAN: JP/ROX is about the future of the Washington Street corridor. The Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) PLAN: JP/ROX proposes vastly increased density between Forest Hills, Egleston Square, and Jackson Square, which threatens the character, diversity, and quality of life of neighborhoods along Washington Street and Columbus Avenue. Current infrastructure cannot sustain such increased density, yet infrastructure expansion is not accounted for. Moreover, PLAN: JP/ROX does not provide for the creation of enough truly affordable housing.

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) agrees that Boston needs more housing. Toward that end, we have worked with developers, through many hours of neighbors’ volunteered time, for BPDA approval of large residential projects (former Flanagan & Seaton site; 76 Stonley Road). However, PLAN: JP/ROX needs further refinement to meet its stated goals of guiding balanced growth and maintaining neighborhood character.

The BPDA has responded to some neighborhood concerns, for example, by:

  • Removing the density bonus area (DBA) from Stedman Street
  • Reducing the 15-story DBA at Washington and Arborway
  • Reducing maximum height on Green Street from 5 to 4 stories

The SNA asks the city to make additional improvements:

  • Increase the proportion of new housing that is affordable; make affordable units more affordable
  • Reduce maximum height to 4 stories on Washington Street abutting Union Avenue
  • Make 15-story buildings contingent on transportation study and better design guidelines
  • Establish transportation, stabilization, and good jobs plans

Here is how you can help:

  1. Attend the public meeting and ask BPDA to make these improvements. After multiple postponements, the BPDA Board will be asked to vote on the Plan soon.

    The next public meeting for PLAN: JP/ROX is:

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 5:30-8:30 pm

    Anna M. Cole Community Center, Mildred C. Haley Apartments

    10 Lamartine Street Extension, Jamaica Plain

  2. Submit a comment by 5 pm on January 25, 2017:
  • Robert Ellis

    Ms. Cibulsky, why don’t you petition the city, state, and/or federal government to create affordable housing instead of trying to force private developers to create it a few units at a time? Is it because your real intent is not to create affordable housing, but to hamstring any development through unrealistic demands that can never be satisfied?

    Your writing seems intelligent so surely you must understand that it is not economically feasible for private developers to create enough affordable housing to have any real impact on the housing market. The government has unlimited resources (for example through tax increases, bond issues, etc.) and could create hundreds or thousands of units of “truly affordable housing” right in the heart of JP. Why don’t you agitate for that?

    • Lisa Marie Garver

      I’m really getting tired of this argument being pushed. The “why dont you A B, C” instead argument.

      Rich neighborhoods/communities have TOTAL control over every single change that is made in their neighborhoods. From what color your house can be to what kind of decor exists on your lawn, wealthy neighborhood associations have a longstanding history with discouraging development that doesn’t suit their idea of the neighborhood.

      Why is it so hard to wrap your mind around the fact that people that live and work in this community want development to consider the character and core values of the neighborhoods effected by JP/ROX plans?? Whats funny is that they/we don’t have nearly as much power and control as a wealthy neighborhood association. Poor communities all over the us get turned over and the most effected are always people of color.

      • JayV

        I don’t think anybody here is fighting to reduce community control over what new develops get built, but more-so that this community disagrees in terms of our ideal neighborhood we want JP/Rox to be. At the same time, fighting density is counterproductive in respects to actually getting affordable housing built (an environmental friendly one at that), a mere 1 story, give it a damn break. This is exactly why poor neighborhoods remain as that, piss poor. focus on getting more retail in impoverished neighborhoods, removing trash, more green energy projects, expanding fluid transit, and upward mobility. These ideologues hounding developers over density and their preferred “character” are literally destroying our outer neighborhoods.

      • David

        what core values and character of the neighborhood are you trying to preserve that brand new buildings will have a negative impact on? you just don’t want new people to move in to the neighborhood? that doesn’t seem right. anyone should be able to live wherever they want if they can afford it and desire to live there.

        • Lisa Marie Garver

          David, Sue, myself, and other community members including “the long haired guy with the back pack” have attended the most recent JP/Rox community event. Therefore, they have been busy preparing and are now resting or preparing for more work to be done.

          To be clear, no one is saying “NO NEW NEIGHBORS” in fact no one is saying flat out no to new housing.

          I plan to answer your questions soon but I just got back from the event and I’m trying to put my thoughts together. I know that Keep It 100 is also working on a peice for this site. I like that you are answering questions rather than making assumptions and calling names. But I encourage you to stay open and listen. The situation is complicated and important for people who can’t afford to live wherever they want and who make JP as beautifully diverse as it is…

  • Hi Susan, please be more specific in your asks from BPDA. How much affordable housing will you accept? And at what AMI rate? What kinds of ” transportation, stabilization, and good jobs plans” would be sufficient to get your support? You are very specific about reducing density at a number of key areas, yet fail to be specific in the areas of affordability and new studies. All of these items are costly and have consequences for future development. What specifically will get you and others to support a JP/Rox plan?

    • David

      Susan, where is your response please? I too am curious about the questions posed to you. Perhaps under your plans there would be more affordable housing, but who it be paid for by? perhaps you can find the private developers these tax credits that everyone keeps raving about. I think the long haired guy with the mustache and back pack is constantly bringing them up in the meetings. He mentioned that city councilor jackson wrote a letter to obama and it was going to be taken care of. Can you follow up with them on how they are going to solve the affordable housing crisis locally?