The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) met for their monthly meeting on August 12, where they discussed several proposed development projects in the neighborhood.
First up was Pine Street Inn’s proposal to build a total of 226 units—a mixture of low and moderate income housing and supportive housing.The building, currently owned by Pine Street Inn and used for offices, is on Washington St. near the Green St. T stop and would be demolished to make room for the new structure. Aside from the housing units, the new building would be home to more office space for Pine Street Inn employees.
JP resident and Impact Advisory Group member Allison Bovell-Ammon said that about 140 of the units would be studio units for chronically homeless individuals. These units would come with “a range of services” to support these people as they transition into the housing. The remainder of the units will be a mix of one to three bedroom units on aa sliding scale of affordability, she said.
Bovell-Ammon said the building will be six stories, and the fourth floor will be set back from Washington St.
Community member Fred Vetterlein said that while “I think that affordable housing is fabulous,” he said he feels “it’s wrong to have an all affordable building,” as he does not believe there will be the support for local businesses that a market rate apartment building would bring to the neighborhood.
“We have to think about this in the context of a lot of the other development around it,” said Bovell-Ammon. “There’s a lot of market rate housing going up around it so they would be supportive to local businesses.”
Someone else made a comment that they don’t believe any retail should go into the building—it should all be for the homeless. SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane said that there are already a lot of dead storefronts in the neighborhood, but she’s heard that some places have introduced affordable retail space, which would rent out space at a subsidized rate. Uhrhane said she believes this type of solution would fit with the building’s mission, “and maybe something like that may be a good idea.”
The development team is still presenting proposals to neighborhood groups, and there is still time for the public to provide feedback. The deadline for comments to the Boston Planning and Development Agency is August 30.
“I think the neighborhood is well represented at these meetings,” SNA steering committee member Jonathan McCurdy said, “but public comments are appreciated.”
Shattuck Hospital Discussion
Next up was a discussion of the Shattuck Campus, which has been a hot topic in JP as the state decides what to do with the land that the Shattuck Hospital sits on once it moves to the South End. The series of public meetings has come to an end, and the buildings that services for addiction and the homeless lived in will be demolished and rebuilt for anything that will go in that space.
“The talk has been that the series that are not directly hospital related will not move to the South End,” McCurdy said—“agencies that do methadone maintenance, housing services, case management services, etc.” The idea has bene proposed to keep those services on site, but what’s still being figured out is what that might look like on that site. McCurdy said that a Request for Proposal (RFP) is being put out in September for what will happen on the site.
There has been a debate at public meetings about whether to use that space for what it is currently used for, or to return it to Franklin Park. The state has said that the land will be used for these health related services, but people continue to push for the preservation of parkland.
SNA Steering Committee member Wyley Proctor is one of them. “They’re not making any more parks,” she said. “JP is blessed to have the most amazing parks in the City of Boston.” She said that while she encourages the current use of the land, Shattuck is an area that was given over to the state, and parks are needed for kids who don’t have access to summer camps, for example.
“My position is that it should all go back to the parks; there is no reason it should not go back to the park,” she said.
She cited a group of “derelict, graffiti covered buildings that appear to be abandoned” on the Arborway that have broken windows. “It’s a problem sometimes for people with drug addictions to be separated from everybody else,” she said. She added that she doesn’t believe these services should be separated in Franklin Park “so far away from where everyone else is,” she said. There was another comment from someone saying that they also believe all the land should be given back to the park.
Someone responded by saying that “it makes more sense for Shattuck to remain Shattuck.” He said that they probably don’t want to put these services in such a prominent spot on the Arboryway Yard.
“I’m hesitant to say put it all back to the park,” Bovell-Ammon said,”until there’s some sort of indication from the city or state staying that they would entertain that idea and move services elsewhere.”
The SNA decided that Proctor will get a group together to do more research on their position, and present a statement to vote on at the next general SNA meeting.