SNA discusses Stonley-Brookley, Doyle’s, temporary housing on Shattuck Campus

     The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) met virtually on December 13, where members voted on the change to the proposal for 10 Stonley Rd./35 Brookley Rd. Housing development, as well as the Doyle’s proposal. Attendees also heard a presentation from Joshua Cuddy from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services regarding the Temporary Cottage Community expected to be operational on the Shattuck Campus within the coming weeks.

BROOKLEY-STONLEY

     Matt Henzy of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) explained that the proposal for this property will now be 45 income-restricted home ownership units, which is a change in what was previously proposed by a different developer. Traggorth Companies along with JPNDC will now be developing the site.

     Henzy said that while the sale has not been made official yet, there is a sale contract in place.

     The building, which will be located at 10 Stonley Rd. and 35 Brookley Rd., will now be called Stonley-Brookley.

     Included in the 45 units are five artist live/work studios, and this proposal also includes new sidewalks, green space, and a mural, and will be a transit-oriented development, as well as passive house compliant.

     There will be 10 studio units, 18 one bedroom units, five one bedroom units, nine two bedroom units, and three three bedroom units. The total cost of the project is $20,300,000.

     The design features bright oranges and yellows on the facade of the building.

     “We’re pretty excited; it’s pretty bold,” Henzy said.

     Construction is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022 and be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

     “I think this is really exciting,” resident Brad Cohen said, adding that he is in favor of all of the units being affordable. “The design’s exciting; it’s atypical, and it’s earthy,” he said.

     In the Zoom chat, Marcy Ostberg said “I love the 100% affordable ownership. We need more of this in JP. Very exciting. I also like the bold design, 1 bike spot per unit and pathway between buildings.”

     SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane said that “all five live/work spaces have been reduced in size in this iteration of the project,” and said there has been continued discussion of increasing the size again. She wondered whether it was possible to “try to bring some of that square footage back.” She added that she was in favor of the larger two and three bedroom units that are part of this proposal.

     Henzy said that it is “still an open issue,” and presents challenges because the size of the site is what it is. He said that the “numbers are pretty close” to the “small” unit size per city guidelines for these types of units. “I’d like to think we could try to increase, but we’ve got to keep pushing [the architect] to see if there’s a way we can do that.”

     SNA Steering Committee member Paige Sparks said “I am super psyched about this change to 100 percent affordable home ownership.”

     There was also some discussion over deed restriction for the property.

     Uhrhane added that a gallery space will be added to the first floor that will be programmed in conjunction with the artists who live in the live/work units.

     Royce Abel, who was on the SNA subcommittee for this project said “some of these aspects don’t necessarily need to be worked out right now.”

     The SNA voted not to oppose the project as proposed.

DOYLE’S PROPOSAL

     The SNA then discussed the new Doyle’s proposal, which includes 29 units of housing—including six units of affordable housing—a reimagined Doyle’s restaurant, and a small grocery market.

     The project is being developed by Watermark Development, who could not attend the meeting, so Paige Sparks presented the slides that were shown at the September Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) meeting.

     She went through the zoning violations for the proposal, which include off-street parking, two buildings on the same lot, multifamily dwelling use is  forbidden, Floor Area Ratio is excessive, building height is excessive, the rear yard is insufficient, the usable open space is insufficient, issues with traffic visibility, the size of parking spaces, insufficient side yard, and issues with the existing building alignment conformity.

     Sparks then also spoke about pros and cons for the proposal based on feedback that has been heard throughout the community process.

     Some cons include concerns about bike racks, parking, and the proposed traffic pattern, as well as concerns about noise from the roof deck. When asked about mitigation for that, Sparks said that the developer’s answer was that the noise will be kept to a minimum and the roof deck area will close earlier. There are “no physical barriers to prevent noise,” she said.

     Sparks also said that there are outlying concerns about the affordable units as well.

     Some pros include that the restaurant will be operated by Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, which is locally owned and a “good team,” she said.

     “Deeper affordability is always better, but at the end of the day if we get this project approved and start work on it, we get six more units in our neighborhood,” she said. Another pro for many was the increase in family-sized units and the developer’s “commitment to accessibility.”

     While some people were in support of the proposal, others still had reservations.

     Resident Patty Yehle said that “there are still some things that need to be resolved before supporting this.”

     Resident Bradley Cohen, on the other hand, said “I’ll be voting not to oppose.”

     Sparks added, “I think that this is a thoughtful project even with its issues.” There were concerns raised that if this proposal does not get built, there’s a risk that something very large and not at all what the neighborhood wants could be built instead.

     SNA Steering Committee member Jonathan McCurdy said that “the standout for me is 60 Williams St. with the zoning issue,” adding that he believes it “sets a dangerous precedent for the neighborhood.”

     After further discussion, the SNA ultimately voted 18 to eight not to oppose the project, with four people abstaining.

SHATTUCK PRESENTATION

     Joshua Cuddy from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services came before the SNA to provide an informational presentation about the Temporary Cottage Community that is being set up at the Shattuck Campus in Franklin Park.

     Cuddy said, that there are “approximately 200 individuals residing in encampments” in the Massachusetts Ave./Melnea Cass Blvd. area.

     He said that the state is working with Commonwealth Care Alliance and Eliot Human Services to create the program and services that will be offered as part of this temporary housing.

     There will be 18 private sleeping cabins that contain one or two beds each, along with a storage area for belongings. The cottage will have 24/7 staffing and security, and will be located in the “southeast corner where the former daycare was on the campus,” Cuddy said.

     He said that as of Monday, the first part of the cottage arrived and began to be assembled.

     He also said that people will stay in these temporary cabins for an average of 60 days, and people will be provided with transitional support as they move on to more permanent housing.

     “These structures are moveable,” Cuddy said, so they can be reassembled anywhere else they may be needed across the state.

     He also said that Commonwealth Care Alliance is “working with the state” on going through a list of people who are living in encampments and “people who fit the bill” will be selected for the program.

     The goal is to have people in the program before Christmas, Cuddy said. “We’re very optimistic to having the first residents that week—hopefully on Christmas Eve, possibly.”

     Resident Marcy Ostberg said in the chat that she is “really glad to see this project happening. It’s so important.”

     Josh said that overall the program hopes to serve 100 individuals while it is in place at the Shattuck Campus.

     Emily Lowenberg asked how people will be kept safe in their rooms, and Cuddy said that the onsite staff is “incredibly well trained” in administering NARCAN, and there are also reverse motion detector “if residents will be at risk for overdose.”

            Anyone with additional questions or concerns can reach out directly to Cuddy at [email protected].   

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