JPNC Asks BPDA Whether Mayoral Executive Order Invalidates Cooperation Agreement with Developer

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) recently sent a second letter to the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) requesting information on the status of a cooperation agreement between the city and the developer of a South Huntington Avenue apartment building, and inquiring whether the cooperation agreement may be null and void due to noncompliance with a mayoral executive order from 2000.

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council originally wrote to the BPDA on June 28, 2017, asking about the status of several community benefits proposed by the developer of the Serenity apartment building at 105A South Huntington Ave.

The JPNC initially believed that the developer, Cedar Valley Holding LLC, violated its agreement with the city by subletting 24 apartments to a corporate rental company. In the letter, the council quoted a June 2013 memorandum that outlines that “the lessee must be a person living in the unit and may not sublet or assign the apartment. There will be only one lease per unit.” It also stated that lessees may not be full-time graduate students. But the city has since said that language did not appear in the final cooperation agreement.

The council wrote another letter Aug. 23 to the BPDA, in which chairman Kevin Moloney noted the JPNC at its Aug. 22 meeting “…discussed the fact that almost two months have elapsed since that letter was mailed to [BPDA Director Brian Golden], there has been no letter or e-mail from you in response to the three issues set out in detail in that letter.”

BPDA personnel are now scheduled to appear at the JPNC’s November meeting, said Bonnie McGilpin, spokesperson for the BPDA, who told Jamaica Plain News that the BPDA reached out to the JPNC after receiving the first letter.

But that offer may not appease the JPNC. Moloney told JP News, “There was not, nor is there, any agreement on the part of the JPNC to substitute an appearance in November for the specific request for a written response from the BPDA director to the issues detailed in the June letter and the additional issue set out in the [August 23] letter.”

In the Aug. 23 letter, Moloney also pointed to a mayoral executive order from 2000 that may put the validity of the cooperation agreement and the project into question.

According to the JPNC, the executive order reads: “The [BPDA] shall not enter into [a] Cooperation Agreement until the [Impact Advisory Group] members have been given fifteen (15) days to review the draft Cooperation Agreement and provide comment…”

Moloney’s letter contends that “prior to the signing of that agreement, the members of the Impact Advisory Group (IAG) for the project were not given the 15-day notice and comment period required by the 2000 Executive Order.”

Responded McGilpin, “The questions the JPNC have outlined regarding the Impact Advisory Group have just been brought to our attention, and we are reviewing. IAGs play an important role within the Article 80 process to guide development projects in every neighborhood, identifying impacts and determining appropriate mitigation.”