In the end the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee was as divided as the rest of Egleston Square on the fate of 3200 Washington St. At its Wednesday meeting the Committee voted 5-5 on a motion to deny approval of the largest development in Egleston Square history. (One member of the 11 in attendance was ineligible to vote). Developers Dan Mangiacotti and Justin and Joseph Iantosca can now take that deadlocked vote together with what their attorney Joe Hanley said was "over a hundred-plus letters of support" to their regularly-scheduled Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on July 21. It was a packed house of over 60 people.
The comment period for 3200 Washington St. — the largest development in Egleston Square in half a century — ended May 1. There were 119 letters of support — many of them form letters — and 45 opposed. There were also two petitions, one in favor and the other opposed. It is an unprecedented development in scale, density and cost but also in community debate; there were two Boston Redevelopment Authority-sponsored public meetings and the comment period was extended three times (April 3, April 15 and May 1).
"The force of youth" it was called by organizer Maya Gaul, a lifelong resident of School Street. It was nothing less than an amazing and spirited rally for the soul of Jamaica Plain; never before seen in Egleston Square in this observer's 40 years in the neighborhood. On a mellow Wednesday evening, more than 50 youth and adults gathered in the Peace Park at Egleston Square to demand 100 percent affordability at the development of 3200 Washington St. Specifically, the group wants housing to be affordable for families earning $26,000 a year. The current proposal calls for 12 of the 76 housing units of a five-six story development to be what the city of Boston considers affordable.
A Boston Redevelopment Authority-sponsored public meeting about the planned development of the former Economy Plumbing evolved into a protest on the very future of Egleston Square. The day after the contentious Wednesday meeting, Mayor Martin Walsh addressed the Urban Land Institute — a group of which toured Egleston Square this week — on the need for a Washington Street planning process that combines "development and consensus." BRA Assistant Project manager Ed McGuire cautioned a packed house at the Egleston Square YMCA that "this has not been approved. [The BRA] is still reviewing this proposal." The 3- day comment period had been extended to April 15. "[Your] comment letters are a very important part of this process."
3200 Washington Street as proposed. Looking south. Credit: 3190 Washington St. LLC
A three-man development team plans to build the largest housing development in the history of Egleston Square; a community it describes as "a vibrant [one] that owes its vibrant identity to its diversity to ethnic, racial, age and economic patterns." 3190 Washington Street LLC, managed by Justin Iantosca with partners Paul Iantosca and Dan Mangiacotti, has acquired the 3/4 acre that includes Economy Plumbing and E+J Auto at Washington Street, Montebello and Iffley Roads. A three building, $20 million, 76 unit development is proposed, to include two 5-to-6 story buildings facing Washington Street.