Stonybrook Neighborhood Association Debates Development Projects

Special to the Gazette

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) dedicated the majority of its bimonthly meeting to review of two development projects, both of which were continued for further information and review. The addition of two residential apartments above the existing property at 3510 Washington Street is being proposed by the current owner, who was represented by the project architect, Tim Burke. The proposed apartments would be above the existing well-known Chinese restaurant, JP Kitchen. Renderings of the proposed project showed the two residential units each having two stories, and blending in with an existing similar development on the same block. The key concerns of the SNA were how the associated additional parking spaces in the rear of the building would affect an already active and congested area during delivery hours and that the current dry wells would be connected to the city drainage to avoid flooding issues. In particular, the SNA members emphasized that this project will provide opportunity to improve the property’s Washington Street facade and visual appearance of the property. The proposed new multifamily project at 84 Stonley Road was presented by representatives of the developer, steered by Jay Walsh. A project at this site had previously been before SNA as a nine unit apartment building, but upon consideration of SNA concerns has been redesigned with 18 smaller apartment units, including three units designated as affordable housing. In addition, the developer is intending to contribute to the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The conversion of the existing three story commercial building to a multifamily with four off street parking spaces met with a broader discussion among the members, some opposing any additional development in the area, stating the view that JP has done enough to add housing to Boston, and that any more is too much, creating too much traffic and congestion, as well as replacing the original unique multi-decade historical architecture with cookie cutter modern structures. Others felt strongly that such projects as 84 Stonley are critical to addressing the Boston housing crisis, and within reason SNA needs to embrace proposed such multi-family developments. The remainder of the Stonley Road project discussion focused on what improvements SNA would like to see, including a more attractive and varied facade, awareness of protecting existing green space, particularly in light of expected future development along abutting Stedman Street. The representatives took the SNA suggestions under advisement. Discussion of what SNA’s next steps would be for 3510 Washington and 84 Stanley resulted in a broader discussion of their role and process. For simpler projects such as 3510 Washington, SNA can work with the developer directly, providing advice and support. With larger more complex projects such as 84 Stonley, SNA will be one of several entities, others being city offices, to arrive at a project acceptable across multiple constituencies. The remainder of the meeting provided updates on ongoing matters of interest and concern to the SNA. Christine Poff, representing the Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) provided an very positive outlook for City improvements to the Park, including the addition of a full time administrator to oversee the Park, its improvements and activity, the addition of up to six maintenance employees and planned safety improvements to the Park hardscape. Poff did express concerns about the possible move of the City’s animal shelter to the Park, but noted that this discussion is more in the future, with no funding currently budgeted, so at this point only needs monitoring. The FPC concerns are tied to additional building and congestion in the Park, as well as the negative impact of barking dogs on the important migratory bird stopover at Scarborough Pond. Other ongoing issues covered were the continued concern of the SNA on the development of the MBTA Arborway project, which may not be aligned with the eight acres designated for City community development. Discussions will be ongoing on this project. Subcommittee updates were also provided on the SNA’s currently unoccupied Community Room, the SouthWest Corridor Extension and the status of development plans at BMS Paper Supply at 3390 Washington Street. The next SNA meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *