More apartments approved for Forest Hills

The Zoning Board of Appeals today approved plans for a 28-unit apartment on Stonley Road behind the MBTA bus yard.

The four-story building - reduced from the five originally proposed - is a three-block walk from the Forest Hills T stop, which developer Bryan Austin cited as a reason for the 23-space garage in an area with zoning that normally would require 42 spaces.

Five of the units will be marketed as affordable.

Mayor Walsh and City Councilors Matt O'Malley, Annissa Essaibi-George and Michael Flaherty backed the proposal.

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I know we need more housing...

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I know we need more housing, but how is this going to work considering the Orange line is getting close to capacity at this end?

Add more trains

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Or what's your proposal, the city is all done with new building and we just watch housing prices float upwards outside of lottery winners who get affordable housing?

Question

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I know there's a fund that developers pay into that's supposedly for creating affordable housing. Why can't we use that money to expand and improve transit? There's a huge link between access to transit and expensive housing, and that's because the transit is such a limited resource in set places - if they expanded the network out it'd open up those cheap outer suburbs and cut off neighborhoods to people who desperately need places to live that still provide access to jobs and the city.

Interesting idea

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The problem is in my view that the MBTA has such deep budget issues that you wouldn't solve the train issue and then would also have less affordable housing.

I totally agree that the state needs to prioritize modernizing mass public transportation across the entire region to link cheaper/poorer cities with metro Boston.

Why not make poor/cheap cities better

Boston is sucking up that energy through centralization of the government and related services, not through quality of life or business environment.

The poor/cheap cities could easily be more attractive for business. And the schools are not good here.

They just need to drop the Curley-era ethnic politics, cut the commercial r.e. rate and they will get all kinds of startups.

Not really?

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Depends on the business of course but if you look at all the biotechs in Cambridge, they aren't suddenly moving to Lawrence. The key people at those companies want to be in Cambridge and around there and the support staff and lower end employees need to come to work there. However, the person making $90k at a bio firm isn't living in Cambridge so excellent rail service to points north would be a benefit to the employee and the commuter home town. This is already what we have, but it's more of a necessarily evil vs. public benefit these days.

The schools are good here for middle class families BTW and can be good for poor kids, depending on school assignment.

Are R.E. rates out of control in outer burbs?

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I honestly don't know, and it's never been on my radar. My instinct is "well, go start a biotech firm in Lawrence and see what happens," but I work for a company that did the opposite: pulled out of a wealthy western suburbs and built headquarters in Cambridge, because it's the only way to attract talent straight of school. Setting up shop in Methuen might save the company money, and draw from a more local north shore crowd, but it's also necessarily going to exclude the 22-year-old recent grads, who are the prize in tech recruiting. People really want to live in Boston, despite the crazy rent. 25-year-olds are willing to drop $2500/month for a studio in Beacon Hill, even knowing that a mortgage in Waverley would be cheaper, because the amenities in town are so nice. Until you clear that hurdle, other cities are going to have a hard time drawing young people, and in turn the companies trying to employ them.

Many people only want to live

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Many people only want to live there when they are just starting their careers, then they move out.

There's a limited supply of

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There's a limited supply of land so eventually there's going to be less building anyway.

This is more complicated than just building an endless supply of housing to drive prices down. Not everyone is going to be able to move in.

There's also an increasing number of investors buying up property.

It's called "infill." Boston

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It's called "infill." Boston is not even close to being the densest city in America, let alone the world. There is lots of potential to build more housing within the city limits, both by building up and by redeveloping poorly used land (i.e. used car lots, warehouses, old industrial spaces, etc.). It's only limited by what the neighbors will allow.

It's hugely beneficial if you

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It's hugely beneficial if you're trying to run a business (foot traffic) or cut down on car traffic (people can live in walkable neighborhoods instead of the suburbs). But the more important question here is which would you rather have: Density or astronomically high rents? You have to pick one.

Apparently the boarders of

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Apparently the boarders of the planned Green Line Extension deserve better service and accommodations than Forest Hills Station boarders.

28 units is a drop in the

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28 units is a drop in the bucket for the Orange Line.

Of course, it's also a drop in the bucket for the housing supply.

There's many "drops the bucket" over time

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People constantly say of every development that it's just a small amount.

It's a huge number of units over time that a lot of people aren't accounting for.

Let us pray

The original poster has a point in that there are several much larger developments on the way in the area, and the OL is already pretty much at capacity at rush hour.

We desperately need these trains to get delivered on schedule and absorb the new riders.

Blame our parents

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We had the chance to fix these issues in the 70s. Instead they blocked the T from expanding to Dedham, Concord, and Lynn, while scrapping the orange line to Everett instead of making it a line with two northern branches. We're paying for those decisions now.

Dedham and Concord?

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I don't exactly remember anyone proposing extending the Red Line to Concord. Orange Line to Dedham? Maybe.

Close enough

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The original plan called for the Red Line to go through Arlington and stop at 128 just outside of Bedford:

That's actually a pretty big

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That's actually a pretty big difference, because other the towns have a lot less density that wouldn't really be suited for it.

Extending the Orange Line

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Extending the Orange Line would only exacerbate the crowding capacity issues. Though it would reduce the huge amount of misery experienced by thousands of bus riders every day.

The easiest solution to the crowding is to fix the signal system to allow more frequent service. NYC's signals are from the 1920s, and they can handle way more trains per hour than our 1980s signals, even though their trains are almost twice as long.

That is never, never, ever,

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That is never, never, ever, EVER going to happen, and every time a transit advocate wastes words asking / complaining about it I cringe. Half the tracks are gone and the loop is being demolished as soon as they can get that goddamn southern busway operational. Literally any other improvement - OLX, New Cars, BRT, Removing Parking on Centre for BRT, a whole new fancy damn train line elevated over the entire roadway along the old trolleyway - is more likely than the E coming back down to Forest Hills.

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