Letter: A different, supportive view of 3200 Washington project

I have to respectfully disagree with my neighbor in her letter to the editor in your May 8 issue regarding the pros and cons of the development at 3200 Washington St. (“3200 Washington project sets a bad precedent,” May 8.)

Like her, I live very close to the site and will feel the impact of the change quite directly. I was initially very concerned about the size and scale of the project and what seemed at first like a too-drastic up-scaling and up-sizing of our relatively quiet neighborhood.

But after attending two neighborhood meetings, much thought and discussion, and studying the designs for the building and how it fits into the existing streetscape, I’m convinced that this development will be a positive for the area.

As fond as many of us are of Boston’s three-deckers, building denser housing near transportation (encouraging people to rely less on cars) is crucial to solving our current housing issues. We cannot magically expect developers—or anyone—to provide small-scale, affordable housing that also comes with free parking for cars. It’s just not feasible.

This project is replacing an empty and outdated light industrial building, not displacing families, and will rehab a six-unit building that’s been an eyesore and neighborhood trouble spot for years.

I would point out, too, that the lack of this kind of development on Washington Street and in Egleston has done nothing so far to slow the rising cost of area housing or the explosion of pricey new condos everywhere in the neighborhood. I’ve been dispirited by the tone of the opposition to this particular project, which has exceeded the requirements for affordability, is not converting existing housing, and offers rentals, not condos, when so many local “luxury condo” developments seem to slip easily under the wire without notice or concern.

While I’m very glad to see neighbors engaged on these important questions, I’d like to see the conversations around housing issues and neighborhood development be more constructive, creative, and solutions-focused.

Sarah Lydon

Jamaica Plain

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