Déjà vu: BPDA delays vote on Plan: JP/Rox study

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) once again delayed a vote on the Plan: JP/Rox study, as the agency continues talks with neighborhood groups and is preparing to add an amendment to the proposal.

Meanwhile, a coalition of neighborhood groups said it is “pleased” that the board vote is delayed, but it is “concerned at the lack of progress and/or response to several key issues.”

Plan: JP/Rox is the long-awaited planning study for the Columbus Avenue and Washington Street corridor, from Jackson Square to Egleston Square to Forest Hills. The planning study was launched more than a year ago and will eventually create new zoning for the area.

The draft plan lays out an ambition proposal to have 3,500 units be built along the corridor, 30 percent of which would be affordable housing. The 30 percent target would be met through several avenues, including housing built by community development corporations and through a “density bonus.” The density bonus would allow developers to build denser buildings in exchange for having more affordable housing.

Marie Mercurio in an email blast said that BPDA continues discussion with residents and stakeholders over the plan and that the delay will allow for “us to continue our final discussions and prepare a public amendment document which will reflect the final changes from the Oct. 18 version.”

“We have made recent steps in a positive direction toward strengthening the strategies around the issues facing the neighborhood today and we will share them with you,” she said. “As outlined in the project timeline, after the planning process we will move into the implementation phase by updating existing zoning where relevant through an open and public process.”

The Gazette asked BPDA when the amendment would be released. BPDA spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin replied, “The amendment isn’t ready yet.”

The “Neighborhood Alliance” released a statement that said, “The Alliance is pleased to see that Plan JP/ROX has been withdrawn from the BPDA Board’s December agenda in order to provide time to strengthen the plan’s capacity to achieve our shared goals and to give the public a chance to review proposed changes to the October 2016 draft Plan.”

The statement went on to say, “The City and the Alliance have made progress towards finding agreement in some areas, however the Alliance is concerned at the lack of progress and/or response to several key issues raised in our Oct. 13, 2016 letter to the BPDA. The Alliance continues to work with the BPDA and City agencies in the hope that we can move closer to finding common ground, and hope that City leaders and the mayor can help us move toward a positive resolution.”

Some of the concerns include making dimensional requirements, such as set-backs and lot sizes, mandatory and not allowing BPDA the discretion to waive them; excessive height and density in the Green Street area; and an increase in the density bonus affordability percentages.

The coalition includes Asticou/Martinwood/South Street Neighborhood Association, Brewery District Neighborhood Crime Watch Group, Brookside Neighborhood Association, Chilcott Place Granada Park Neighborhood Association, Egleston Square Neighborhood Association, Green Street Renters Association, Parkside Neighborhood Association, Stonybrook Neighborhood Association, Union Avenue Neighborhood Association, Westminster/Wardman Tenant Association, Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing and Racial Justice, and JP Good Jobs Working Group.



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