JPNC Zoning supports Hyde Park Ave. project

The proposed redevelopment of a vacant property at 38-42 Hyde Park Ave. was approved by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) Zoning Committee last week, pending the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the neighbors.

The developer of the project, City Realty Group (CRG), plans to turn 38-42 Hyde Park Ave. into a three-story building with six residential units above a first-floor commercial space. There is currently a one-story building at the site, which used to be the home of Yang’s Martial Arts Association. It has been vacant since that business moved to Roslindale in November 2012.

CRG stirred controversy in the neighborhood last year by attempting to evict tenants by means of massive rent hikes, including a popular local restaurant, in an Egleston Square building while simultaneously trying to develop the Hyde Park Avenue property.

Zoning Committee Chair David Baron said in an email to the Gazette that state Rep. Liz Malia, Maria Christina Blanco of City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), and Nichelle Sadler from City Councilor Tito Jackson’s office all asked that the Zoning Committee defer taking any action on the matter until the MOU was signed.

“Everyone seemed to agree that decent progress had been made so far by City Realty… after actions by the JPNC and others to hold [it] accountable for the many legitimate complaints of commercial and residential tenants … The developer [came] to the table and worked on the issues by listening to and engaging with the community in good faith,” he said. “However, given the litany of concerns that has been raised about this property owner, Rep. Malia and some other community members initially asked that no action be taken by the Committee.”

But the Committee “heard mostly very positive things from abutters about this specific project,” Baron added.

CRG has scaled down the project from four to three stories and nine to six units after working with Tess Pope and others from the 4 Ws Neighborhood Association, Baron said.

Gazette calls to Pope, Blanco and CRG asking for details on the contents of the MOU were not immediately returned.

The Hyde Park Avenue project’s original date with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) was deferred to Feb. 10 after a massive showing by community members at a Sept. 16 protest and Sept. 17 Zoning Committee meeting, targeting CRG.

The 4Ws Neighborhood Association’s area includes Woodlawn, Wachusett, Weld Hill, Walk Hill, Wenham, Varney, Leland and Barlow streets; Hillside Avenue; Craft Place; and part of Hyde Park Avenue.

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