In a victory for many in the Egleston Square, Jackson Square and Forest Hills corridor, the Boston Redevelopment Authority has agreed to a 3-month extension of the JP-Rox Plan process after several organizations in the study areas had asked for an extension.
On June 1, a joint letter from Brian Golden, director of the BRA and Sheila Dillon, Dir. of Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) was delivered to the 26-member JP-Rox Plan Advisory Committee announcing that decision.
The letter said in part:
"After carefully considering the thoughtful feedback that we heard from many groups of community members... we believe it is prudent to extend the Plan JP/Rox by an additional three months."
The JP-Rox Plan began with an enthusiastic full house kickoff on July 28, 2015. But some people have been disenchanted that the March 5 draft recommendations were not successful at forcefully addressing gentrification and that the BRA was not listening to residents who participated in the six workshops about the JP-Rox Plan.
The joint BRA/DND letter seemed to agree by extending the process until September:
"...the communities of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury [are] facing a housing crisis that can only be successfully addressed through community - driven strategic planning that accounts for the tremendous pressures facing residents and families. We stand committed to doing all that we can to minimize displacement so that we do not risk loosing the most valuable asset of the Plan JP/ Rox..."
Golden and Dillon made four commitments in the letter:
- We will continue to review the detailed analysis of the plan components. We will use the next several months to edit and refine the document as we move forward toward realizing the plan.
- We will place greater emphasis on social equity of the plan by leveraging policy tools and the mission of the new Office of Housing Stability to prevent displacement and create housing affordability.
- We will maximize overall housing production and identify strategies for reaching deeper levels of affordability through zoning.
- We will prioritize new housing resources including land acquisition and project funding.
The BRA/DND plans future public workshops as well as "smaller conversations outside organized meetings" to meet these commitments.
An advisory group meeting is scheduled for June 8 to discuss the process and outline next steps. This meeting is not a public meeting.