Boston Police removed several protestors during the Boston Planning & Development Agency's board meeting Thursday, March 2, prior to the board approving PLAN: JP/ROX, a set of guidelines that will direct future development and improvements to the corridor that connects Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. After 50 public meetings, several draft plans and a number of delays, the BPDA's board approved the plan, with a study area that encompasses Forest Hills, Egleston Square and Jackson Square, generally bounded by Washington Street, Columbus Avenue and Amory Street, and which is aimed at addressing housing, jobs and business, transportation, land use and urban design. But vocal opposition to the plan throughout the process has continually focused on preventing displacement while promoting affordable housing. About 10 protestors were removed by police during the board meeting at the request of BPDA Board Chairman Timothy Burke, BPD Officer Rachel McGuire told Jamaica Plain News. The protestors were not arrested.
The Boston Planning & Redevelopment Agency (BPDA) is expected to adopt a plan on Thursday that will guide future development and improvements to the corridor that connects Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. But PLAN: JP/ROX has drawn the ire of some residents who say it doesn't fairly address issues of displacement and affordability in the neighborhood, with some objectors camping out in Mayor Martin Walsh's office since Tuesday to express their displeasure with the plan. The PLAN: JP/ROX study area encompasses Forest Hills, Egleston Square and Jackson Square, generally bounded by Washington Street, Columbus Avenue and Amory Street. If approved, the plan would provide "recommendations for zoning amendments and implementation action items," for the study area, according to the BPDA's Board of Directors online agenda. The plan has gone through numerous drafts over the past year and a half, and the BPDA (formerly the BRA) extended the planning process on more than one occasion to provide opportunities for more public input. In February, District 6 Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley spoke about the plan and the process in an interview with Jamaica Plain News.
The city released an updated version of the Plan: JP/Rox, including a summary of recent changes, and the Boston Planning & Redevelopment Authority staff will be asking its board to approve the Plan to make it a guiding document for the area. BPDA and city staff are expected to brief BPDA board members at their meeting on Feb. 9th and seek their approval for the plan. This is not a public hearing, but it is open to the public and is being held at City Hall (9th Floor, Room 900). The BPDA board meeting starts at 3:30 pm and the agenda will be posted Tuesday.
Residents who were unable to attend the Jan. 18th public meeting about Plan: JP/Rox can still provide public comments through Jan. 25th. More than 180 people attended the Jan. 18th meeting to learn more about the final draft of Plan: JP/Rox.