JPNC’s reconstituted Housing Committee holds meeting

The Housing and Development Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council held a meeting last Tuesday, January 17.

New chairperson Renee Stacey Welch and fellow members Carolyn Royce, Sara Horsley, Kathy Brown 10 View South, Pam Bender, Aidan Foley, Jaya Ayier, and Robert Kordenbrock were on hand for the meeting.

Community residents Sarah Freeman, John Harding, Susan Pranger, Gert Thorn, Michael Kane, and  Laura Mistretta also were in attendance

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the priorities of the committee, which had not met for several months, for the coming year. 

“Let’s do some great things,” Welch urged her colleagues.

Foley discussed the noise issues in some neighborhoods and suggested that District 6 City Councillor Kendra Lara should become involved regarding enforcement of the city’s noise ordinances.

The Blessed Sacrament Church project, which involves the renovation and adaptive reuse of the building, which is located at 361 Centre St., into a mixed-use, mixed-income housing development, was discussed briefly. It was noted that the project, which will provide majority-affordable housing, has received approval from the Boston Planning and Development Agency to move forward.

The proposed market-rate housing project at the Monastery of St. Clare at 920 Centre St. (Murray Circle) also was brought up, but there was no new information to report.

The new MBTA Arborway Bus Garage also was discussed and the members generally agreed that this issue should be left to a separate committee of the JPNC.

Brown presented an extensive overview of the updates to the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinances and urged that the full JPNC take a strong stand in favor of raising the percentage of affordable apartments designated in housing development projects, as well as reducing the income levels for affordable units.

Kane mentioned the substantial funding that is sitting in the city’s rent subsidy program that could prove beneficial to low-income tenants.

Horsley suggested that the committee draft a letter that the full JPNC should send to the city advocating for an increase in the percentage of affordable housing in future developments from the present 12.5 percent.

On the other hand, Foley pointed out that proposals to do so could prove difficult for developers who might opt not to build in the city.

However, Brown noted that the city has completed an 80-page report with input from developers and advocates that shows that the request for increased affordable housing in the city ordinances is achievable without placing a hardship on developers.

The committee then adjourned until its February meeting.

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