Letter: New City affordability policy needed to keep JP diverse

July 5, 2013
By

I share the concern about the development of the two large parcels north of Forest Hills Square as well as the planned development of three acres between Ukraine Way and Walk Hill Street. (“Tenant vows to fight Hughes Oil redevelopment,” June 21.) My wife Martha and I have lived in the Forest Hills community for 40 years.

I do not think a Boston Redevelopment Authority planning study is necessary or useful, inasmuch as these lead to unmet expectations and resulting community frustration. Realistically, the financial and real estate markets are the driving forces.

But the new mayor must stand up and ask, not what, but for whom are these large, private, transit-oriented housing developments marketed?

We run the risk of driving out our low- and moderate-income neighbors, confined as they are to the edges and margins of the Forest Hills community from Williams Street to Eldridge Road and Archdale Road. We must think of our neighbors who rent at Burnett Street and Hyde Park Avenue and Washington Street, and ask how their families can benefit with these new developments.

The new mayor must state as City policy that any new housing for the Forest Hills community—which I define as one-third of a mile from the MBTA terminal—be one-third low-income, one-third moderate income and one-third market-rate.

This housing formula worked very successfully in the South End in the mid- to late 1980s when remarkable developments were designed and built.

This formula must be mayoral policy citywide. It must begin at the Forest Hills community if we are to preserve what is left of the character of Forest Hills and our allegedly diverse Jamaica Plain—the real diverse community my wife and I moved into in May of 1973.

Richard Heath

Jamaica Plain