Real Estate Today: ZBA hearing scheduled for 64 Allandale St. project, opposition remains

A Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing has been scheduled for the controversial 64 Allandale St. project for Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

The City is also slated to host a community meeting for the project on Sept. 22, after the Gazette deadline. The project was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in May.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Hills Association (JHA) unanimously voted against the project and sent the ZBA a letter detailing its opposition, while the Friends of Allandale Woods released a statement reiterating its disapproval of the project.

A spokesperson for the developer continued to promote the project’s environmental sustainability and implied that the opposition is the result of NIMBYism (Not in my back yard).

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.

Jacqueline Nunez, a Dorchester-based developer, plans a $20 million 20-unit project at 64 Allandale St. 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 project had many critics at previous community meetings who voiced concerns over density, impact on traffic, and the affect it would have on Allandale Woods. Some people spoke in favor of the project, citing it being energy efficient and bringing much needed housing to the city.

The JHA in its letter to the ZBA said while the association applauds the mayor’s efforts to provide more affordable housing and promote smart growth in the city, the 64 Allandale St. project does neither, citing the estimated price tag of the units and the number of parking spaces.

“We have many reasons for strongly opposing this development: its complete disregard for zoning, which the developer was aware of when she bought the property; the proposed density, four times what is allowed; the precedence for future development of other large nearby properties; its detrimental environmental and visual impact on Allandale Woods, conservation land enjoyed by so many Bostonians; its impact to the quality of life of the senior community at Springhouse, and its unsafe access drive immediately after a sharp curve on Allandale Street, a heavily travelled commuter road,” the letter states.

The Friends of Allandale Woods group said in a released statement that the project is “far out of scale” for the neighborhood and will “harm” the Allandale Woods.

“Zoning relief can be a necessary step to accommodate home-owner improvements and advance beneficial development in Boston. However the scale of requested relief at 64 Allandale is beyond the minimum needed for development of the site and far out of scale with the existing neighborhood,” the statement says.

The statement goes on to say that the project has “commendable building energy-use features but, being private car dependent, is not “net zero” and is not a truly sustainable, ‘transit-oriented’ development.”

Susan Elsbree, a spokesperson for the developer, emailed the following statement:

“The underlying zoning is 1F – 8000, which supports 10 single-family homes. We are seeking 16 new townhomes that will be national model for energy efficient design, in addition to renovating the existing house as four condominium units. The project will be Boston’s first entirely net-zero energy and LEED Platinum neighborhood.  It will also be the first project in New England constructed to FORTIFIED Home certification standards.  The project seeks a mid-level density of a total of 20 units, with two on-site affordable residences.  The project’s design responds to the challenges we face from climate change and the harmful impacts of greenhouse gases.

Opponents would rather see fewer units, which would result in larger homes, with higher sale prices, and no sustainable measures incorporated.  Nor would there be any affordable homes under their preferred model.

NIMBYism has made it very difficult to meet Boston’s housing needs.  As a result, the city is increasingly unaffordable to working families. We hope the ZBA will reaffirm that reasonable development in the city is the only way to achieve the progressive agenda that the Walsh administration has proposed to make a better Boston for all.”


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