Letter: Low-income housing should be priority on City lots

August 3, 2012
By

Regarding the City’s likely sale of lots on Boylston and Dalrymple streets for open space (“Three lots in JP to remain open space,” July 6):

The City policy for disposition of publicly owned vacant lots should be for highest and best public use.

If the City follows the lead of the community for gardens, then the lots should be sold at market rate and annual taxes should be levied on a for-profit basis. In this way, land lost for housing could still generate funds for the housing trust fund. The City already has this policy in its abutter lot program.

The City knows full well that public meetings on the disposition of vacant lots are heavily attended by “just say no” residents. No person advocating for low-income housing dares to attend these meetings. City Life and the Boston Tenant Coalition should be organizing this effort.

In Jamaica Plain, it is especially hypocritical, because in the past year we have witnessed enormous and welcome pressure against gentrification. Yet the 99 percent group seems to be silent about new low-income rental housing. (What they will do about Blessed Sacrament?)

Keeping buildable City lots open as a dog park or an asparagus patch is as much gentrification as a quarter-million-dollar one-bedroom walk-up.

Richard Heath

Jamaica Plain

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