BPDA again delays vote on Plan: JP/Rox study

November 25, 2016
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The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) again delayed a vote on the Plan: JP/Rox study, as the agency and other City departments continue conversations with neighborhood groups.

Meanwhile, the “Neighborhood Alliance,” which is a coalition of groups in the study area, said that BPDA is working on an amendment to the study plan. BPDA, asked for comment, did not directly respond to that statement.

The BPDA board is now expected to vote on the planning study Dec. 15. The vote was originally supposed to take place during the summer, but has been postponed several times.

Plan: JP/Rox is the long-awaited planning study for the Columbus Avenue and Washington Street corridor, from Jackson Square to Egleston Square to Forest Hills. The planning study was launched more than a year ago and will eventually create new zoning for the area.

The draft plan lays out an ambition proposal to have 3,500 units be built along the corridor, 30 percent of which would be affordable housing. The 30 percent target would be met through several avenues, including housing built by community development corporations and through a “density bonus.” The density bonus would allow developers to build denser buildings in exchange for having more affordable housing.

The “Neighborhood Alliance” released a statement that it has had several meetings with BPDA to discuss proposed density, heights, design guidelines, and affordability standards and that it is also meeting with the Boston Transportation Department, the City’s Office of Housing Stability, and the City’s Office of Economic Development to “begin the ongoing planning, implementation and monitoring of strategies that are needed to ensure the success of the zoning plan after Board approval.”

“This will require several on-going planning efforts (1) a Stabilization Plan to protect tenants and businesses most at risk of displacement, (2) a Transportation Plan to implement short range street improvements, conduct traffic and parking studies, and develop a Transportation Action Plan to support increased density, and (3) a plan to provide access to both temporary construction jobs and good permanent jobs for local residents,” the statement said.

The statement goes on to say that BPDA decision on several of these issues are not known or are still in discussion. It also said BPDA is preparing an amendment to the planning study. The alliance, which said it will be meeting with BPDA shortly after Thanksgiving Day, wants the public to be able to comment on the amendment before the BPDA board votes.

“The Plan JP/Rox will have a dramatic impact on our community for decades to come. The next few weeks will be critical as the BPDA finalizes its response to the community input,” the statement said.

The coalition includes Asticou/Martinwood/South Street Neighborhood Association, Brewery District Neighborhood Crime Watch Group, Brookside Neighborhood Association, Chilcott Place Granada Park Neighborhood Association, Egleston Square Neighborhood Association, Green Street Renters Association, Parkside Neighborhood Association, Stonybrook Neighborhood Association, Union Avenue Neighborhood Association, Westminster/Wardman Tenant Association, Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing and Racial Justice, and JP Good Jobs Working Group.

Asked for comment to the alliance statement, BPDA spokesperson Gina Physic said, “BPDA planners have been meeting with the alliance weekly, in multiple sessions, and in moving forward the planners will continue to engage that group, along with the advisory group and local community groups. It is our hope that these collaborative efforts will lead to a constructive dialogue in order to expand the understanding of varied perspectives related to the planning process and the Plan: JP/Rox.”

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