Opponents could sue to try to block subdivision next to Allandale Woods

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports the latest on the proposed 18-unit project off Allandale Street on the JP/West Roxbury line.

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    A Waste

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    This project shouldn't just be a suburban subdivision complex of single family homes. That's a waste of this land and just reflects greed. If the developer had just put forward a plan for one or two condo buildings at the front of the property well away from the woods, that would have been a much better use. I expect abutters would have fought that anyway but the project itself would be sound and there'd be zero effect on the woods. Now, it's just car-oriented sprawl that belongs in Westwood and is a joke to call transit-oriented, plus runs close to a legitimately important natural wild for no good reason. Ironically, the opponents call it too dense etc but that's not really the issue, anything but.

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    Woods?

    You mean a bunch of trees, right? Important natural wild? You mean a few trees, right? On an already partially developed lot, right?

    I am a member of TTOR, Mass Audubon, Neponset River Watershed, and some other local environmental stewardship organizations. I am all for land preservation but you are laying it on a bit thick, don't you think?

    The Arnold Arboretum is 280 acres. Allandale Farm is 105 acres, Larz Anderson Park is 64 acres. There is a heck of a lot open space in an urban / suburban environment within tick jumping distance of this site. I am also excluding the parkway land abutting the Maronite Cathedral, Jamaica Pond, and the Riverway, etc.

    We are talking about less than 2 acres that will hold 18 units of housing. That isn't Westwood level development, that's Moss Hill / West Roxbury level of development. This fits right into the neighborhood. It is about the same as the Italian Home's front lawn. Is that an urban wild as well?

    It is funny that since the demographics of JP changed in the past 30 years that Jamaica Pond became sacred. It is a kettle hole, like hundreds of other collects in the state, not the Ganges.

    Stop laying it on so thick and people might be more agreeable to your plight. Hell, maybe the Allandale Coalition can pool their resources and buy the project from the developer rather than get suit happy. .

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    Don't forget

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    the Stony Brook Res, Cutler/Millenium, Hancock Woods, Neponset, and of course the entire Blue Hills Reservation.

    This project is kind of perfect mix of conflating ideas.

    More housing - good
    Ecologically sound development - great idea
    Not on any major transportation - terrible (in light of 'eco' goal)
    Requires huge variances to zoning - terrible and the biggest mark against the project.

    I think the anti-folks simply want to persevere their arboreal rural location within the city, a rare thing indeed. I don't blame them but I reject all the 'think of nature' arguments as being all too convenient.

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    That's not really accurate.

    By on

    That's not really accurate. This would be a very large development that would require a lot of clear cutting.

    "Only 2 acres"

    People always say it's only a small piece of land. Then they repeat that and it ends up being a lot of land.

    "Fit's into the neighborhood"

    It would be a separate road that's not really integrated into the the rest of the homes in that area.

    Then you go into some discussion about demographics that is really just a distraction from the fact that a large number of homes that are not really walking oriented would result in the clear cutting of a lot of trees near conservation land.

    This is just a bunch of luxury housing being carved into woods where people would be driving for most errands, and it is a reduction in the amount of open natural space. That's not really in line with the conservation goals you claim to care about.

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    40B Rock

    -- The proposal would have one affordable-housing unit. The other units would likely cost in the million-dollar range --

    I smell a sitcom!!

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    19 units on 2 acres

    19 units on two acres is not West Roxbury/Moss Hill level of development. If it was, then there would be no reason to grant over 50 variances for building the development. That’s the whole point.

    Every one agrees that more housing is needed and that a net zero energy development is a worthy goal. It is in the wrong place, that’s all. No need to have those hillside buildings looming over the woodlands. Everything in the plan needs a variance.

    If people want this sort of development—work to change the zoning regulations. This sort of spot rezoning imposed a few city agencies should not continue. Why have any zoning if the regulations are regularly ignored?

    Allandale Woods is nothing at all like the Arboretum or Larz Anderson. And Allandale Farm is private property. Comparing it to the other nearby areas is comparing apples and oranges. It is unique in the City and should be safeguarded.

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    I Sense Snobbery

    Do you know what the setback is for a deck in most of the city? It's 50 feet from the rear property line.

    Do you know what the typical distance between the rear of a typical Boston neighborhood house and the back property line? 20 Feet or Less.

    Zoning regulations in Boston are designed to make nearly everything come through the City's regulation process so as to let miserable people tell you that your new drain spout is going to be detrimental to their property values even though they live three blocks away and so your city councilor can give a wink to everyone and the hearing to let them know things a kosher. Variances happen all the time.

    Hate to break it to you, JP (Translation - Can't Afford Cambridge) is the City, not Groton. It is great when people say we need for housing, just not near me. You just sound like Ted Knight's wife in Caddyshack when you say that.

    You have a proposed density here that fits right into the city and is doing very little for the environment save for giving squirrels and rats a place to chill. Seriously, what is your next gambit, talking about the aged Norway Maples on the site and their historic value?

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    I know about variances

    for decks, winterizing three-season porches, dormers, and adding a front vestibule. Those are variances, usually on homes that have been grandfathered in to new zoning regulations. And, they are seldom opposed by neighborhood groups, neighbors, or neighborhood councils because people realize that the requests conform to the reasons for variances that are clearly stated in our zoning regulations. People understand the need to be flexible.

    Oh, and yes I know about setbacks and FAR and height limits.

    Not sure why you are so hostile to a different opinion, not only disagreeing with my opinion but turning it into a personal attack. I guess only miserable people think that zoning laws generally should be followed.

    I do live in JP, I do enjoy Allandale Woods, but I am not an abutter. And I have no desire to live in Cambridge--(or Groton, though it's a nice town) what is that all about?

    Last I checked, JP has no shortage of $1.2+ condos for sale. And no, I don't live in one of those.

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    Last I checked, JP has no

    By on

    Last I checked, JP has no shortage of $1.2+ condos for sale. And no, I don't live in one of those.

    The fact that a <2,000 sqft condo can sell for $1.2+ million is prima face evidence that we have a shortage.

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    That's not an argument, nor is it accurate.

    By on

    This is a reduction in the amount of natural woodland in the area. It's is luxury housing that is not really walking friendly.

    It doesn't fit into the neighborhood because it's a separate road that is not walking oriented. You are making developers points, not sensible zoning arguments or talking about conservation.

    The zoning is the result of many years of changes and is designed to the benefit of residents, not just developers.

    It may not be a rural area, but that doesn't mean that you can't protect what open space is left, especially if it's luxury housing that is not walking oriented and requires a large number of zoning variances.

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    This housing is substantially

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    This housing is substantially less luxurious than the abutting single family homes. The thing is, if you were to build this project without variances, it's not like fewer trees would be cut down, in fact you would be cutting down the same number of trees but have fewer new homes to show for it. How would that be a net benefit to the neighborhood?

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    If there's fewer new

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    If there's fewer new buildings than fewer trees need to be cut down.

    These are not "substantially less luxurious", even proposal for them said they would sell for over a million dollars.

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    It would be impossible to

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    It would be impossible to build a home in that neighborhood without substantial changes to the city-imposed floor area ratio limits that would not sell for over a million dollars. The only way to make unit prices lower would be to make a larger number of smaller units, which current zoning forbids. The problem would be exacerbated further if the developer were to try to build a smaller building on the same property, because the purchase price of the land would be defrayed by fewer units. Again I point to the fact that no house in that neighborhood, no matter how crummy, would sell for under a million dollars, mainly due to the minimum lot size. It's called snob zoning for a reason.

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