Corridor ‘final draft’ plan announced

April 12, 2013
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S. HUNTINGTON—The final draft of the S. Huntington Avenue corridor guidelines created by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) was presented at an April 2 community meeting at the Hennigan School on Heath Street.

The guidelines, expected to be formally approved by the BRA May 16, address the types of developments preferred by the community and will be used by the BRA on pending and future projects. The four-month process of coming up with guidelines came at residents’ request due to controversial developments at 161 and 105A S. Huntington.

The 196-unit apartment building proposed at 161 S. Huntington would not be affected by the guidelines, because it is already approved by the BRA. But the pending “Serenity” apartment building at 105A will be covered, as will any future development at the former Goddard House nursing home at 201 S. Huntington, which is currently for sale.

Some residents expressed concerns that the guidelines are too friendly to the Serenity project, particularly by creating a “special height zone” that would not hinder the current plan for a 10-story building.

The Jamaica Pond Association, in a comment letter also sent to the Gazette, generally praised the process, but criticized the Serenity treatment.

“The language discussing the special height zone is completely out of character to the guiding principles,” the letter says.

As for the Goddard House site, any developments would be limited to five to six stories with a 20- to 60-foot setback from the street, much like the existing nursing home building. It also would be suggested to have landscaping and trees in its front yard.

The guidelines also address corridor-wide issues such as parking, traffic and the amount of affordable housing.

The BRA’s website for the study can be viewed at tinyurl.com/corridorstudy.