Chase Bank Complies with Protestors’ Preferred Renovation Designs

A group of protesting residents will get their desired and proposed renovation details for Chase's new branch on Centre Street after the bank agreed with the city to the community's demands. The group protested during Saturday's dreary rain outside of the new business at 701 Centre Street. Previously, Jamaica Plain residents, business owners and neighborhood associations came together questioning the process that allowed Chase Bank to make unpermitted renovations to its new location. On Dec. 13, Chase Bank representatives met with community members, staff from the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley's office, to find a resolution to issues that have been raised and understand the next steps.

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Chase Redoing Storefront After Renovations Out of Character Rest of Area

Jamaica Plain residents, business owners and neighborhood associations banded together questioning the process that allowed Chase Bank to make unpermitted renovations to its new Centre Street location. Led by a triumvirate of licensed architects, who were either chairpersons or members of the former Jamaica Plain Centre/South Main Street's Design Committee, the permit process was doubted. After doing their own research, Ed Forte, Michael Epp, and current Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council member Gert Thorn, learned that Chase Bank was doing work that required a design review, which had not taken place. They also felt that the renovations, specifically the metallic-look, was out of character of the area of 701 Centre Street. The trio wrote to a plethora of city departments, city officials, and elected officials, to voice their concerns.

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Review of ZBA Announced After BPDA Employee Pleads Guilty to Bribery

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said that the city has hired a law firm to review how the Zoning Board of Appeals conducts business after a city employee pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to influence the ZBA. On August 30, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that John M. Lynch, 66, a former Assistant Director of Real Estate at theEconomic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC), a division of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), pled guilty to accepting $50,000 in bribes from a Boston real estate developer. Lynch was supposed to use his official influence to secure a ZBA vote that favored the real estate developer on his federal tax return. The real estate development project was not in Jamaica Plain. Sullivan & Worcester LLP, a law firm outside of Boston, will conduct the review of the ZBA, starting with the rules and regulations in place that dictate how the board conducts business on behalf of residents, and those with matters before the board.

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BPDA Board Approves 21-Unit Stedman Street Project; All Units to be Rentals

The Boston Planning & Development Agency board recently approved a three-story, 21-unit rental residential building for Stedman Street. The project will consist of six one-bedroom units and 15 two-bedroom units, and four of the 21 units will be income-restricted.The income-restricted units are expected to be one one-bedroom and three two-bedrooms, said BPDA spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin. One of the affordable units will be for a household not earning more than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI) as dictated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). One unit will be for households not earning more than 50 percent of the AMI and two will be affordable to households not earning more than 70 percent of the AMI. Sited at 50 Stedman St., the building will be approximately 31,216 sq.

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General Heath Square Development Update Meeting on Oct. 17

There will be two public meetings to discuss the General Heath Square Apartments development and provide updates of the 4 story, 47 affordable units project on Oct. 17th. Uncharacteristic of most Boston developments, the project has remained the same size since at least 2015. It is a 56,290 square foot, 4 story, 47 affordable housing unit sited for 61 Heath Street in Jamaica Plain. The Boston Planning & Development Agency board previously approved the project that is regarded as a "transit oriented structure" with 10 units at or below 30 percent area median income (AMI), 30 units at or below 60 percent AMI and 7 units at or below 80 percent AMI.

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