BRA approves Little Wanderers project over opposition from JP

The Herald reports the board approved the new luxury project on South Huntington Avenue after letting City Councilor Mike Ross (D-Not Jamaica Plain) speak, but not any of the residents there. Next step: A zoning board hearing on Nov. 13. The Herald notes a BRA member implored the developer to dig up somebody who lives in JP to publicly support the project at the zoning hearing, because that board might not be as accommodating as the BRA.

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    Just curious

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    When was the last time the BRA actually listened to a community about what they wanted? Seems like lately the developers say jump and the BRA says "How high?". And the mayor counts all the new tax revenue all the way to the bank.

    Funny - when people complained for years about how the BRA worked, a lot of people said - you live in a city - development's good, don't complain, just let them build. Then Allston and Southie got a taste of how the BRA works and now they are fed up and now JP.

    Where do you live dear reader - they'll be coming for you eventually too!

    If you listened to 'the

    If you listened to 'the community' AKA ten squeaky wheels who know how the work the system, nothing would ever get done. Community involvement isn't the solution in Boston, it's the problem. Every precious snowflake thinks he/she should have veto power over every building project in the city. After endless meetings, when they don't get their way, they demand more meetings. See Forest Hills station parking lot. All of those parcels should already be thriving businesses now. Instead, they were meeting'd to death.

    Not true NotWhitey

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    While there are the squeaky wheels and those who indeed would prefer that nothing ever gets done, there are a large number of people who work toward reasonable development only to have the city stab them in the back.

    As just one example, residents of the Back Bay were not happy when the Clarendon got built (and one look at it tells you why - little more than a giant box). As a result the city authorized a study for further development in that area. Lots of details - but the result was that the surrounding neighborhoods agreed to effectively change the height guidelines by 50-100% except in a couple of areas. What does the city do - they turn around and authorize Liberty Mutual to build 100-150% higher on one of the few lots the guidelines called for lower development because LibMu put a gun to their heads and they basically geve them the keys to the city vault. Then they approved a 600 foot building across the street from the area that was designated to have 400 foot buildings. This happens repeatedly for almost every single project.

    It's a simple problem that they don't want to fix because this allows the BRA to extort, I mean extract, payments from the developers for violating zoning. I will admit that our zoning is outdated and that we should develop a plan (matching the roughly 1% growth of the city/region's population), implement zoning that fits the plan and then building to that plan except in rare instances where a variance is reasonable under the law.

    The city wants no part of the rule of law because when the mayor holds all the cards, he gets all the political donations and he becomes mayor for life. And we have a mayor holding all the cards that folds the minute anybody antes up a new project- no matter how ridiculous (as long as he gets to pick out the front door and the topper for the building).

    Time for a new charter, Boston

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    letting City Councilor Mike Ross (D-Not Jamaica Plain) speak, but not any of the residents there to oppose it.

    And therein lies the main problem I have with Boston's city government. Boards and commissions unaccountable to most of the population they supposedly serve. It looks like they're stacked in favor of developers over the good of the neighborhoods. Doing what they want with only one person to answer to.

    It's time for this city to consider altering its charter. I think it's time to abolish the office of the mayor in its current form and replace it with a professional manager accountable to a larger city council, or maybe a plural or weaker executive. This is nothing against the Mayor, I do believe that he is basically a decent man with good intentions, but I also think that there is too much power concentrated in one person.

    To be fair to Ross

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    The project is close enough to his district that he might be interested in it (if he showed up to support something in, oh, Readville, that would be something).

    Seems more of an issue as to how the BRA operates. And given how the BRA operates, the question might be: Where was Matt O'Malley?

    Check the proposed redistricting maps ...

    If the Lil Wanderers building is in ward/precinct 1008, then the reason Councilor Ross showed up is because he's almost guaranteed to have those residents as part of the redrawn city council district map currently before the city council.

    No doubt he's trying to make a good first impression. ("Good" being a pejorative term ...)

    Matt O'Malley

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    IS A HACK!

    I think this apartment

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    I think this apartment proposal would be fine if it incorporated the existing structure and if it includes housing for working, moderate income individuals and families.

    I am not talking about

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    I am not talking about freebie housing. I am talking about setting aside a couple of units for those who earn a living but make between, I dunno, 30 and 40 thousand a year and can only really afford to pay 800 or so a month for rent. It can be done and neither of us would have to cut a check for it. I think those are the sort of people who need help and are struggling to live in Boston.

    Agreed

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    Whit -

    I spoke to this very topic at the last meeting. At least if they could have kept the 1914 section, that would have been nice. The proposed design truly does belong in Longwood, not JP. But, since Longwood folks are exactly who they want to rent to, I suppose the shoe fits. Plus, it really pisses me off when people tout their LEED rating (this new building will be Silver instead of 'just' certified) and then tear down existing stock to make a new building. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the greenest building (can be) the one that's already built.

    JP really does need more rental properties and maybe this will help in the long run. I just wish the character of the area could be maintained. As was brought up in the meeting, if a non-profit just steps away could incorporate existing buildings in their new design, there's no reason a well-funded developer couldn't do it.

    At least JP is getting a

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    At least JP is getting a for-profit development rather than another handout to non-profits.