JPNC creates Forest Hills committee

May 23, 2014
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The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) voted to create an ad hoc committee about various developments proposed and already underway for the Forest Hills area at its April 29 meeting.

“The idea is to take into account the multitude of construction projects already approved, some en route, some already started” and have a unified point of contact for officials and developers to address community questions and concerns, JPNC Chair Kevin Moloney told the Gazette last week. “The people in the Forest Hills area are just beginning to understand that there’s an enormous amount of activity going on.”

Developments underway would create as many as 540 new housing units in a quarter-mile circle around the Forest Hills MBTA station. The 2008 Forest Hills Improvement Initiative (FHII), created with Boston Redevelopment Authority support, allow for several hundred more on yet-undeveloped parcels.

The area is also the site of the Casey Arborway project, which will demolish the Casey Overpass and replace it with a street network by 2016. And there is also the potential for the permanent Arborway bus yard to begin construction, assuming the MBTA finally funds it.

The ad hoc committee can have up to five JPNC members and up to 15 community members on it. They will be chosen at the next JPNC meeting, planned for May 27, Moloney said.

Some residents have previously said that Moloney and JPNC member Bernard Doherty are exceeding their authority and trying to reopen debate on the Casey Arborway project, which both men prominently opposed.

“It’s not a power grab. It’s what I see as the council’s responsibility. Make the community aware of what the impacts of the projects are and make sure the powers that be, developers, the city, the state, are coordinating with each other,” Doherty told the Gazette last week. “The council is trying to serve a legitimate purpose. This is really serious construction. What are impacts on quality of life for people in this community?”

The JPNC’s website is jpnc.org.