City needs to defend residents from abutters’ attorneys

November 3, 2006
By

Selfish abutters have now taken the frightening tactic of hiring attorneys to question density—in the guise of a fake concern for process—that demands action from the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) director and the mayor.

This has never happened before. It will have a far-reaching effect on every single non-profit developer in this city so long as the BRA remains silent while a group of unnamed homeowners hires attorneys to impede the public need for affordable homes.

The longer the city remains quiet, the more emboldened homeowner abutters will be. Advocates and non-profits have a difficult enough time as it is to build and preserve affordable housing in this city—particularly as the BRA and the Mayor’s Office prefer process over progress.

As I saw at Egleston Square (while on the staff of Urban Edge), two loud, angry opponents can intimidate supporters and slow a housing program down for months.

I request that the BRA convene a public hearing with the plaintiffs and at that time announce when the BRA and the mayor will provide equal representation for the 13,660 families on the waiting list for public housing.

Richard Heath
Jamaica Plain