Editor's Note: Author Tim Reardon is on the Board of Directors of Egleston Square Main Street and a member of the PLAN JP/Rox Advisory Group. Since before Mayor Walsh’s inauguration, community organizations in Jamaica Plain have been asking him to create a plan to guide development and expand housing opportunities along the corridor from Jackson Square to Forest Hills. Unfortunately, after an extended 18-month process, the city is on the verge of adopting a plan that may turn out to be worse than the status quo. The draft of the plan released in October had its shortcomings, but it represented a reasonable, rational balance of our community’s diverse views about housing and neighborhood change. Since then, city staff have been subject to intense, private lobbying by a small group of insiders and protesters intent on discouraging development.
Several local community and business groups will hold a meeting Wednesday morning to encourage the city to "even the playing field" for small business owners. The meeting was called by leaders from JP Local First, Egleston Square Main Street, City Life/Vida Urbana and the JP Neighborhood Development Corp. It will be at 10 a.m. at the Egleston Square YMCA, 3134 Washington St. Business owners are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be with Karilyn Crockett of the city's Main Streets program and Lydia Edwards of the Office of Housing Stability.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority is hosting an expo this Wednesday, Sept. 21, to update the public on the final draft of PLAN: JP/Rox. PLAN: JP/Rox is an ongoing planning study of the area spanning Forest Hills, Egleston Square and Jackson Square. The boundaries are generally Washington Street, Columbus Avenue and Amory Street, so the plan mostly encompasses Jamaica Plain, but does include Roxbury as well. The goal of the study is to engage with the community to determine future development uses of the area. The plan, which Jamaica Plain News has covered extensively during the past year, has its supporters, who appreciate efforts to plan for inevitable development in the neighborhood, but it has also drawn feedback from vocal opponents who do not think it goes far enough in protecting affordable housing or neighborhood character, among other concerns.
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council is leading two community meetings this week to discuss the future of the Arborway Bus Yard. Specifically, community input and ideas are being sought for the future of the site, and for how to get the state and MBTA to keep their promise of putting affordable housing on the site. For almost 20 years, the MBTA has "temporarily" kept buses at the location at the corner of Washington Street and the Arborway. State Rep. Liz Malia, D-Jamaica Plain, has continually worked on redeveloping the Arboway Bus Yard, "The reality is acres on the Arboway Yard are abandoned and underutilized since around 1986 and we can’t get the city and state to partner to do something substantial," said Malia earlier this year in an interview with Jamaica Plain News. The first meeting on Tuesday, Aug.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority will be hosting a special meeting for the Stonybrook neighborhood on Thursday to discuss the Plan JP/Rox. BRA representatives will provide an overview of their draft plan with an emphasis on portions that will have the most impact on neighbors. The Plan JP/Rox planning process is entering its final phase and this is an opportunity to learn about the proposed zoning recommendations, discuss, ask questions and provide input. This public meeting will be held at Doyle's back room at 3484 Washington St. at 7 to 8:30 pm.