Most comments called for affordable housing

June 27, 2008
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We are writing regarding the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative, which was facilitated by John Dalzell of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in preparation for the sale and lease of MBTA land near the Forest Hills T Station. We have been active members of the working group that helped to plan the seven large community meetings to date and have actively participated in all of those community meetings. We have also done a great deal of outreach in our neighborhoods to ensure the process was as inclusive as possible.

We appreciate the effort the BRA has put into gathering community input into the design guidelines for the development of the Forest Hills area. We also want to ensure that the community’s input is recognized.

In the MBTA’s Invitation to Bid, the guidelines called for a range of 15 to 75 percent of the housing built to be affordable. When the BRA invited comments on the MBTA’s Invitation to Bid, the working group requested an itemized breakdown of responses so we could better understand the community’s desires. According to the summary of comments provided by the BRA—including comments listed as format letters and unique comments—between 4 and 5 times as many people wrote saying 50 percent of any housing built on T land be affordable compared to the number of people who wrote there should be less affordable housing.

The current Design Guidelines call for “a goal” of 50 percent of any housing to be affordable. As the development of the Forest Hills area moves forward we want to be sure that everyone knows how strongly our neighbors support that goal.

Pam Bender, Edward Burrows, Francesca Fordiani, Carol Pryor
Jamaica Plain