ZBA approves 64 Allandale St. project

December 23, 2016
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With the mayor’s backing, the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved more than 50 variances for the 64 Allandale St. project on Dec. 13.

A spokesperson for an opposition group said they are “disappointed” with the mayor’s decision to back the project and for the ZBA approving it.

Jacqueline Nunez, the developer of the 64 Allandale St. project, originally planned to build 20 units at 64 Allandale St., but reduced it by two units and increased the green space in the southeast corner of the site. The project consists of renovating a farmhouse and building several townhouses on a road snaking down towards Allandale Woods. The proposal would have one affordable-housing unit. The other units would likely cost in the million-dollar range.

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 revised proposal spoke out against the project, expressing concerns over density and the affect on Allandale Woods, among other issues.

Samantha Ormsby, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, said on Dec. 12 that Mayor Martin Walsh supported the project.

“The mayor supports the project proposal at 64 Allandale St. because not only does it develop two acres of land into much needed housing, but it does so as the first net-zero neighborhood in Boston,” she said in an email. “In addition, the developer has committed to donating $50,000 to Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department to support Allandale Woods.”

Wilfred Holton, a spokesperson for the Friends of Allandale Woods group, which opposes the project as it currently stands, said in an email that he and other opponents are “puzzled and disappointed” that the ZBA approved the variances. He said that the ZBA did not require the developer to prove any legal grounds for the variances and that no hardship was claimed.

“We were also very unhappy that Mayor Walsh did not oppose the plan because it did not contribute to any of his stated goals, such as building affordable housing, and protecting and expanding park land,” said Holton. “Six City Councilors supported the opposition, but that was not noted by the ZBA.”

He added, “The opponents are not inclined to give up because justice has not been done in this case.”

Nunez did not respond to a request for comment.

The project is still 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. MassDEP later confirmed that ruling.

The developer 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 in October. Joe Ferson, a spokesperson for MassDEP, did not respond to request for an update on the petitions.

 

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