Meeting set for 64 Allandale project; developer responds to concerns

A community meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 6 for the 64 Allandale St. project, which has drawn concerns over its impact on the Allandale Woods.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the developer Jacqueline Nunez responded to those concerns, saying that the project will rid the property of invasive plant species and be a benefit to Allandale Woods.

The property at 64 Allandale St. is on the border of West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. It is part of the West Roxbury Neighborhood District, as a matter of zoning, according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

Nunez, a Dorchester-based developer, has filed a project notification form (PNF) with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for a 20-unit development at 64 Allandale St.

The proposal calls for building 16 new townhouses and creating four units at an existing house already on the property. The townhouses would be built in five different clusters, snaking down towards Allandale Woods and replacing a verdant landscape. The townhouses would range from three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half stories. The project would have 47 parking spaces, including seven spots for guests.

The project would abut Allandale Woods, which is an “urban wild” of more than 80 acres of City- and private-owned land in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, according to the City website. The woods is roughly formed by Allandale and Centre streets, the VFW Parkway and the Hackensack Road.

The community meeting for the project will take place Oct. 6 at the West Roxbury Police Station (See: Agenda). BRA spokesperson Nick Martin said in an email that the comment period has been extended to Oct. 13, which is the second time that it has been extended. A community meeting was originally expected to take place sometime in early September.

Tony LaCasse, a former JP resident who now lives in Roslindale, has raised concerns about how close the project comes to the Allandale Woods, the affect runoff from vehicles could have on the environment and that the proposal does not contribute any land to the urban wild, which he said past projects have done.

Susan Elsbree, spokesperson for the developer, said in an email that the 64 Allandale St. property was formerly farmland that had been clear-cut and that it has re-grown with “invasive species.”

“Since this project is up-hill of the Allendale Woods conservation area, we are planting the site as a new native plant seed source to spread beneficial species to the protected woodland,” she said.

Elsbree said that the current plant species on site are “spontaneous disturbed landscape plants” and will be replaced with   native species that have “phytoremediation (pollutant removal) capabilities to enhance water quality with also the ability to support pollinator species such as the monarch butterfly.”

“The objective is to spread these beneficial landscape species into Allendale Woods, instead of the invasive species currently on site,” she said.

Elsbree also addressed concerns over run-off storm water at the site, saying the developer will use technology that is an eco-alternative to storm sewers.

“The 64 Allendale project will employ bioswales to keep the existing water balance that exists on the site now, maintaining the water quantity and existing hydrology,” she said. “Bioswales are more desirable than traditional grey storm water infrastructure because they also have additional benefits of providing wildlife habitat and aesthetic enhancement.”

Bioswales use vegetated planting to receive rainwater runoff, and filter out pollutants before returning the water into the ground, according to Elsbree.

The Gazette also asked about the affordable-housing component of the project and price range for the units. Elsbree, who is the former director of communications at the BRA, said the development team is in discussions with the agency over the affordability component and that it “intends to fully comply.” She also said that the development team is two years away from pricing the units, but that they will be market price.

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