New Jamaica Plain apartment building approved

Rendering 3353 Washington St.

Architect's rendering.

The Board of Appeal today approved Mordechai Levin's proposal for a 45-unit, six-story building at the corner of Green and Washington streets in Jamaica Plain.

The proposed $18-million building would have 24 parking spaces and eight affordable units - six for people making no more than 50% of the area median income and two for people making no more than 70%.

The mayor's office supported the project as did several nearby residents. "It's 45 units of housing that we needed yesterday," one supporting resident said.

City Councilors Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) opposed the project, as did a much larger number of residents who attened the board hearing this morning.

Key to the resident opposition was the number of affordable unit - almost 18% of the units in the building, compared to the 25% called for in voluntary Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council guidelines. Residents accused Levin of taking advantage of proposed BPDA rezoning for Washington Street to go for greater density without a corresponding greater increase in units for people being gentrified out of the neighborhood.

And with City Realty proposing its own multi-story project next door, residents said they were concerned about traffic on the narrow Green Street, no matter how many residents might walk to the nearby Orange Line station. One resident noted the city has already approved some 1,200 units along Washington Street between Forest Hills and Green Street

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No. The more housing

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No. The more housing affordable for middle income residents the better.

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On new projects you can have

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On new projects you can have one of the other. It's pretty common actually.

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You can't make free stuff

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You can't make free stuff happen just by requiring it, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere. In our current system, that money comes from selling market rate housing.

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All new apartments

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Pushed button by accident, unfair to low income ppl, section 8 ppl. Or middle class. Just over rated ppl for they're connvience. Hell w others. We deserve chance too. For they all moved away from minorities. Now they're allowed to just come in take over, and throw out low income ppl( minorities and whites )

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It's also worth noting that

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It's also worth noting that no project has ever even come close to meeting that 25% JPNC requirement. The highest we've seen so far is ~20% at 3200 Washington, and that project included a free parcel and building gifted to the developer by the city. This project is, by the standards of everything else we've seen to date, actually quite generous in terms of affordability.

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People who choose to live in

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People who choose to live in a city and are a block from a subway station yet still insist on driving and complaining about traffic(that they are part of causing) are something else. They are basically saying, "I don't care that we have a housing shortage. No one else can live here because I don't want to spend time looking for parking(that they are gifted for free) or waiting at a stop light and I'm too lazy to take the T, walk, bike or carpool."

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differently abled people

are well known for being too lazy to walk or bike, or carpool with their friends that are certainly equipped to deal with the specific requirements that they may have

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By "differently abled people" we mean what?

I know people with one disability or another who are appalled by the term "differently abled." They say it's insulting and further marginalizing in its implication that "disability" is too shameful to mention.

Others, of course, might feel entirely differently about it.

Being not a fan of Bowdlerism, I'm gonna err on the side of calling things what they are,

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truly

i do not give a shit about how some people you know feel about literally anything

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If you are differently abled

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to the point where you cannot walk, bike, take the T, or carpool, I might suggest that you look for another place to live than a pricey apartment in a neighborhood where parking is scarce and expensive and there are very few convenient amenities. Why would anyone pay top dollar for a "walkable" community next to the T if they don't plan to take advantage of those assets and instead will complain about the lack of free parking everywhere?

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Why would anyone pay top

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Why would anyone pay top dollar for a "walkable" community next to the T if they don't plan to take advantage of those assets and instead will complain about the lack of free parking everywhere?
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Shud ya maff ya crahbabaah pissah!

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People are free to move

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as it also turns out. Plus, handicap parking placards are also available.

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"Free to move"?

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You say that as if housing was as easy to find a parking space.
We are all very likely to have mobility issues as we grow older. Even if we don't see any reason to consider about other people's issues, we can't ignore what could be coming in our own future.

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Yes, and then they move to be

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Yes, and then they move to be in places that are more accessible/convenient for them. It definitely never ever makes sense for someone to live on that corner who needs to drive everywhere.

And on another note I'll add that there are FAR more people whose disability (age, blindness, epilepsy, etc) makes them unable to drive a car than the other way around. Those people have no other choice but to live near transit, and we have a responsibility to meet their needs too.

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Youre conflating disability

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Youre conflating disability with laziness.
Disabled wheelchair users "roll" instead of walk.
Bob is right, "differently abled" is some grade-A, condescending, ableist bullshit.

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I totally agree

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but given the state of the Orange Line--it's so crowded during rush hour that it's rare that there are seats left by the time it gets to Green St--I'm a little concerned about where all of these thousands of new residents are going to fit, even if they DO all decide to take the T. I just don't see the MBTA grappling with a huge increase in commuters.

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they're grappling

The new Orange Line cars will increase capacity and help absorb the new riders.

IF they're delivered on time...

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Until you build too much

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Until you build too much housing, and then you have to improve it even more for all those extra people.

There are limits to what can be built, no everyone has to live in the most desirable locations.

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Keep in mind

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Some of the new residents may have already been riding the orange line, or the MBTA at least. People move around all the time. And not everyone new to town is riding the T at the same time. Some might be driving, or walking, or biking. Some might take the bus into Dedham to work at the malls. Some might be unemployed.

But the T is not going to justify more trains departing closer together unless they're truly at capacity. It doesn't matter if there are hardly any seats left when the train gets to Green Street. Seats are a convenience, not a necessity. If there is still room for people to stand then the trains are not at capacity.

I understand the lack of trust in the MBTA. But there is room to build in this city, and people need housing. I think the MBTA will respond if it is forced to (when the trains are truly at capacity).

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1) We're getting tons of new

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1) We're getting tons of new orange line cars. They're expected to arrive before most of this development is slated to open.

2) Would you rather have these people buy houses in the suburbs and use our roads to get to work? I know we have tons of excess capacity in that system.

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Erm, no.

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I'm pro-public-transit of all kinds but that doesn't stop me from being concerned that the MBTA is not positioned to deal with this kind of increase in population. Yes, we're getting new cars but that doesn't translate into an increase in the number of cars operating on a given morning and from what I've heard they just don't have the budget to actually increase service.

I bike to work but obviously that's not going to work for everyone. I'll just be curious to see how things play out because right now, the Orange line at rush hour is my idea of hell, even when it's not breaking down.

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Headways will decrease and service will be more consistent

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Yes, we're getting new cars but that doesn't translate into an increase in the number of cars operating on a given morning

Actually, it does. The Orange Line fleet currently consists of 120 cars (or 20 consists). The new order is for 152 cars (25 consists, plus a couple of cars left over for routine maintenance at any time). The Red line fleet currently consists of 218 cars (or 36+ consists). The new order is for 252 new cars (or 42 consists). Both orders will increase the number of consists available on both lines during rush hour, which will reduce headways (kind of how Blue Line service improved markedly when the new cars came in, which allowed for six-car trains ands decreased headways).

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Not to mention that, assuming

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Not to mention that, assuming new cars break down less than old ones, we're more likely to be operating all 152 of those cars during peak hours.

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Because those options are feasible for 100% of people

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I am lucky. I am fit. I am a cyclist - I commute to work in the Back Bay 75% of the time. My partner, on the other hand, drives and parks on the street. She works in Dorchester - she could take the train or bus, but several days a week she has meetings in Arlington, Belmont, etc. Urban transit is complicated because not everyone commutes into the hub.

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But why force developers to

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But why force developers to build this parking? If your partner needs this service, she can pay for it. If she's willing to pay the full cost for car storage, developers will build that parking. Forcing developers to build parking that the market doesn't demand is just a back-handed way of subsidizing driving.

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There have been so many

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There have been so many neighborhoods that are having parking shortages due to all the new construction.

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There are no parking

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There are no parking shortages in JP. There are lots of places to store a car off-street if you're willing to pay for it. JP has a shortage of FREE parking, but guess what: So does every other neighborhood that people actually want to live in.

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I don't insist

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I live in JP and use the T to get to work every day, but in the evenings and weekends, having one car between the two of us helps us get to where we need and want to go. I ride my bike around JP on the weekends but I'm not going to bike or carpool to Natick to do some shopping or visit friends.

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There's always a shortage of

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There's always a shortage of housing in desirable areas. That doesn't mean you can just create an endless amount of housing because there's always demand for it.

Sometimes, things can't be built because the traffic concerns area real.

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PS

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Maybe Levin can repay the kind folks of JP by actually renting out his other empty commercial spaces instead of jacking the rents to ridiculous heights and then leaving them empty for years on end. Because, y'know...karma.

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Yes, this is a classic case

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Yes, this is a classic case of a good project on the merits with a terrible landlord behind it.

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It sure would make future

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It sure would make future projects easier for him if he would make some slight effort to get on the good side of the community. It would certainly make it more comfortable for us pro-housing folks to be seen publicly supporting his projects...

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There's no way to get on the

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There's no way to get on the good side of inveterate NIMBYs. They will use any possible excuse to block construction and keep property values high and their neighborhood the same.

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It's not all NIMBYism just

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It's not all NIMBYism just because you don't like a restriction. People living in certain locations have their own considerations that should at least sometimes allowed for, and not just what other people who don't even live there think should be there instead.

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If you advocate to block an

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If you advocate to block an otherwise reasonable request on the grounds that it would be bad for yourself, your house, your block, or your immediate neighborhood, that is the literal definition of NIMBY.

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I don't think anyone who

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I don't think anyone who lives in JP is going to come to the defense of Mordechai Levin's past behavior, but there is absolutely nothing to be gained for the neighborhood by blocking this project. Morty will feel minimal pain and the area will be deprived of badly needed affordable and market rate housing.

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But...but...

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He created that shopping plaza inJackson in 1992! Out of the goodness of his own heart.

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Looks like there's some cool

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Looks like there's some cool urban vegetable garden roof space going on there.

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Location