Forest Hills process takes final steps

May 2, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

A working timeline has been devised for the final steps of a year-and-a-half-long community planning process that will end with the MBTA opening bidding on over 6 acres of land around Forest Hills Station.

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) member and JPNC Housing and Development Committee Co-Chair Francesca Fordiani announced the timeline at the April 29 meeting of the JPNC.

On May 2, according to the timeline, a public comment period will begin for the draft Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the parcels, along with Use and Design Guidelines that have been developed in a lengthy Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)-led community process known as the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative (FHII).

The public comment period will be open for four weeks.

On May 22, the MBTA will host a community information meeting to review the content and meaning of the ITB.

The MBTA plans to issue the ITB on June 27.

The BRA also held an FHII meeting to review a draft of the Transportation and Streetscape Improvement plan for the Forest Hills area that has been developed through the process on April 30.

There will be an FHII wrap-up meeting on June 26.

Close to 400 residential units and 64,000 square feet of retail space could potentially be developed on the parcels if the Use and Design Guidelines are followed.

Fordiani said she is concerned about the affordability component of the guidelines. Originally they called for 15 to 75 percent of the new residential units to be designated affordable, with a goal of 50 percent. Later, in part due to lobbying by the Housing and Development Committee, the range of 15 to 75 percent was removed from the recommendation.

Since then, it has been reinserted, Fordiani said.

“If the community feels there need to be strong affordability goals, the BRA needs to hear it from the community and not just us,” Fordiani said, “The BRA needs to hear from the community or else I need to be proven wrong.”

Vacancy

JPNC member Yawu Miller has moved out of JP, leaving a vacancy in Area C (Pondside/Jamaica Hills/Forest Hills). It was announced that anyone interested in the seat should present themselves at the JPNC’s May 27 meeting.