BPDA board approves revised 64 Allandale St. project despite opposition

November 25, 2016
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The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) board during its Nov. 17 meeting approved the revised 64 Allandale St. project despite continuing concerns from abutters and residents.

The project is expected to go before the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Dec. 13.

Jacqueline Nunez, the developer of the 64 Allandale St. project, originally planned to build 20 units at 64 Allandale St., but has reduced it by two units and increased the green space in the southeast corner of the site. The project would now have one affordable-housing unit. The development team has said that the project will need more than 50 variances and has a construction schedule of 18 months.

The project would abut Allandale Woods, which is an “urban wild” of about 100 acres of City- and private-owned land in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. The woods is roughly formed by Allandale and Centre streets, the VFW Parkway and Hackensack Road.

The site 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.

The vast majority of attendees at a Nov. 7 meeting on the revise proposal spoke out against the project, expressing concerns over density and the affect on Allandale Woods, among other issues.

The Friends of the Allandale Woods, a group fighting the current proposal, said in a statement that residents were hopeful after a ZBA hearing for the project was postponed in September that the “unresolved project issues” would be addressed and that the BPDA would have an “opportunity” to show its “new stated reform approach emphasizing transparency and meaningful public engagement.”

“Unfortunately, this did not occur,” the statement said. “Rather than working with residents, the developer and BPDA prepared a cosmetic change that falls far short of resolving the 64 Allandale project basic flaws and invited residents to comment on their ‘done deal.’ BPDA process and board approval on Nov. 17 of the revised 64 Allandale plan was an unfortunate indication that despite the agency name change, ‘business as usual’ prevails on the 9th floor of City Hall.

Bonnie McGilpin of BPDA said in a statement that, “The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) brought the 64 Allendale Street project to the board in May after receiving letters of support from across the community for the proposed project, which would develop two acres of land into needed housing, while creating the first net-zero neighborhood in Boston. In response to additional community feedback following the vote, the developer decreased the number of units and revised the site plan while still retaining the net-zero design standard for the new buildings. In addition, the developer will donate $50,000 to Boston Parks and Recreation Department to support Allendale Woods. Both the developer and the BPDA are continuing conversations with the community as the project moves forward.”

Nunez did not respond to a request for comment.

Tony LaCasse, a member of the Friends of Allandale Woods, said they hope the Mayor’s Office will come out in opposition to the project at the ZBA hearing. He said that the mayor was a supporter of the Community Preservation Act, which passed on Nov. 8, and that the CPA is dedicated to more open space, promoting historic preservation, and providing more affordable housing.

“The 64 Allandale proposal has major, demonstrable, negative effects in all three target areas of the CPA,” said LaCasse.

The Mayor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Besides the ZBA hearing, the project is currently moving through the environmental regulation sphere. The Boston Conservation Commission ruled last year that the site falls under the state Wetlands Protection Act. There are no wetlands on the 64 Allandale St. property, according to the ruling, but a portion of the property falls within a 100 foot buffer zone under the Wetlands Protection Act. That does not prevent Nunez from building the project, but she needs to jump more environmental review hurdles for it to happen. MassDEP later confirmed that ruling.

Nunez and opponents recently filed new petitions over the wetlands issue and it is unclear if the new petitions would affect that decision. MassDEP did a site walk last month, but has not made a decision on the petitions.

 

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