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More housing proposed for Roslindale Square

Proposed 20 Taft Hill building in Roslindale

Architect's rendering.

A South Boston developer is proposing to tear down two two-family houses behind the Roslindale Square municipal parking lot and replace them with a single 19-unit condo building and a parking lot.

In a filing with the BRA, Parkhead Development says the building at 20 Taft Hill Park would have 19 parking spaces - and that initial purchasers will get a $2,000 credit for the ride-sharing or car-sharing service of their choice.

The proposed $4-million project would include 15 two-bedroom units, 2 one-bedroom units and 2 three-bedroom units.

The proposal calls for 34 bike spaces.

If approved, the project would be the third multi-unit building to go up in Roslindale Square, behind the 14-unit condo building on Roberts Street and the 43-unit Substation apartment building.

Taft Hill Park project notification form (2.7M PDF).

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Comments

Meaning we need another 1000 developments like this.

Comfortably attractive
Reasonably priced ($200k per unit plus land plus profit - probably sell for $400-$500k each - quite reasonable in our market)
A couple of larger units for families
Parking
Bikes
Very creative financing for ridesharing (bonus points)
Steps from transit (especially if we can fix the transit fee anomalies from Rozzie Square)

That area behind the gas station is ripe for more developments like this if zoning permits.

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This is good news. I'd love to have less parking and more housing.

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One space per unit is fair.

Put yourself in the developer's shoes.
Let's suppose the development had no parking. This would limit the developer's potential market to a small fraction of what it would be with the 19 spaces. I think they would be very tough to move - not what a developer wants. An even though it's close to some public transportation, it's still in the burbs of Rozzie, and people want their cars.

Hey, I live in the boonies, so what do I know.

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so true. Although public transit is here, everyone needs or wants a car to travel further out to the real burbs to visit family, friends, and for shopping, and entertainment.

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People want cars wherever they live in any part of Boston. Just because something is near public transit doesn't mean it won't add to traffic. All development increase traffic, some more than others. It's hard to imagine a situation where development would add zero traffic. Obviously, one project isn't going to have a huge impact, but thousands of projects over time certainly do.

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If only it was the developers making these decisions. So far all of the developers I have spoken to would have preferred to build fewer parking spaces (since they lose money on almost every space that they build) but the neighbors will not tolerate it. This is certainly reflected in the comments I hear at community meetings.

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19 units, 19 spaces, in units that will probably have two people each.... It's not too bad. I feel like 1-car households are an easier sell to most people than no-car, especially in a transit-troubled place like the square.

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The problem is that in most cases we are replacing space devoted to housing, parks, or courtyards with car storage. Parking lots hurt walkability and contribute to the housing shortage. Also, if we build out neighborhoods with lots of space devoted to parking (and thus less people density), we undermine the viability of future extensions to the transit network. Also, parking is ugly.

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With the developments in the Square, including this one, the parking is under the building.

Meanwhile, they pave lawns in Brighton since the buildings have no parking, but whatever.

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...not to mention there is already a HUGE and poorly utilized parking lot *right next door*!

IMAGE(<a href="http://eherot-misc.s3.amazonaws.com/parkmageddon.jpg)">http://eherot-misc.s3.amazonaws.com/parkmageddon.jpg[/img]

Also, it's *right* next to the train. Sure, not everyone is going to use the train, but a small number of people will want to use it exclusively. People who want to own a car (or two), can live literally anywhere else in the greater Boston area. Why can't we carve out a few tiny enclaves around the train stations for people who don't?

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The one they knocked down already?

Next step, knock down Bob's Pita and put up a 3 story building there too.

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There's a little neighborhood between Washington and the Arboretum - that's the area I'm speaking of. It's a very active station - I think I paid $1.98 (cash) on Wednesday. First time below $2 in forever.

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I think you mean.
Corner of south, across from Healy Field.

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Alfa? OK.

When I said "behind the gas station" was referring basically to everything from Rozzie square to the Arboretum between Washington and the tracks.

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If you mean South Street, that's all single and multi-families and it's pretty successful little neighborhood.

If you mean the stuff on Washington St, I guess, but that's a lot of triple deckers already. I guess around Puritan Ice cream and the animal shelter could be redeveloped but it would good to preserve some industrial space as well.

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To meet the mayor's development goals of 53,000 units by 2030 (which are quite reasonable at about slightly over 1% growth per year), you need 20% more housing than we currently have. that means Roslindale (depending how you define it) with about 36,000 residents and 13,000 homes needs to build a minimum of 2600 units - and perhaps 3000-3500 assuming you need to "build 'em where they ain't". I have no real opinion where they go and as a non- resident my opinion doesn't and shouldn't count - but at about 200 units a year we need a project like this in Roslindale roughly every month for the next 180 months. If not there - where do you put another 179 projects?

This is not unique to Rozzie. It is a dilemma that every neighborhood in Boston has to address - and we still need space for things like offices, retail, hotels, industrial etc., etc.

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I am completely on board with the Mayor's vision for more housing, and would even support a larger number. But I suspect most don't realize the extent of Boston's housing crunch, know but don't care, or are concerned that adding 53,000 units will destroy Boston, so actively oppose development. That's why we are seeing fights over even small and unobtrusive projects like this one. And I have to say, even with my pro-development, pro-density views, when you lay it out as you did -- a building like this every month -- it sounds rather daunting!

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There's a few spaces on Belgrade which are already likely to be developed into mini-towers, up by the one near West Rox Parkway so you can get more than 19 units in one shot there. I'm sure all of us know a lot in our neighborhood where an unmaintained one or two family has been knocked down and replaced with some bigger or an empty lot know has housing. My neighborhood we've got one rebuild, one knockdown and then across Washington on Albano two brand new big ass houses were put up, all within the last year.

I think it's a bit of a fallacy to assume that 20% density needs to be increased across the board. There are a lot of opportunities, like this, throughout the neighborhoods but I think there are certain areas where you can add a lot more people will less impact. For example between Jackson Sq and Eggleston you could build a few 5-6 story buildings like a mini-Fenway area and add several thousand units right on public transportation and displace only under-used industrial space.

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City Hall should just set a development goal for each neighborhood and then let the locals decide where they should go. So if Rozzie needs 3000 more units off a 13,000 unit base, they should figure out the "zoned capacity" - how many units could be built if you maxed out the current zoning on every lot. Then you assume that only a certain percent of that will actually get built. So for example - you calculate if Rozzie had new zoning that would max out at double the current 13,000 units and would "build out" from 50% to 60% over the next 15 years - that gets you another 2600 units. That should be the only dictate from the city. Then the locals can figure out what areas get upzoned to accommodate that. The only exception is that if the local community can't come to a conclusion in say 12-24 months - THEN the city steps in and figures it out for them.

But that's planning. We don't do that around here. Hoping Walsh will change that - but not holding my breath. It's not in the city's, the politician's or the BRA's advantage to behave like that because then they go from holding almost all the cards to holding almost no cards.

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The problem with this approach is that due to things like minimum parking requirements and the ADA (both of which were invented after most of the housing in Boston was built), almost all of the land in the city is actually zoned for less density than it currently has. If we don't aim for upzoning from the start, we aren't even going to come close to meeting these housing numbers.

On a more positive note, the Boston2030 process, which has so far involved a few fairly large community meetings in JP and Roxbury, are mainly about adjusting the existing zoning in a way that pleases the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, there are still quite a lot of neighborhoods around Orange Line stations that are not being slated for re-zoning, so you have this perverse situation where million dollar single family houses with two car parking garages are being built two blocks away from Stony Brook station at the same time that middle class people (who would certainly benefit from having cheap housing near the train) are being priced out of the neighborhood.

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There's a pretty high correspondence of proximity to transit and ex-industrial underuse all through the southern part of Boston.

Changing times.

Like Sally was going on about the other day, that "unwalkable" stretch of Washington by Stan Hatoff's could easily be made four-five stories all the way down from Eggleston to Forest Hills.

When you add it to the other side from Jackson to Eggleston, a pattern emerges: the whole area either torn down or despoiled by the proposed highway could turn into a secondary 'high spine.'

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initial purchasers will get a $2,000 credit for the ride-sharing or car-sharing service of their choice.

Creative!

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It's nice to see developers adding some incentives for buyers that will help them use transit options other than owning a car. It certainly seems like it's going one step further than just building near a transit hub and assuming that's enough to reduce car ownership. Of course, it appears to be a one time credit for the initial purchasers, so it's not clear what long term benefit it would have.

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I don't know about car-sharing specifically, but there's good evidence that when you get people started for "free" on a useful service, and they get used to it, it's much easier to convert them to long-term paying customers. That's exactly how Apple's streaming music now works, for example, as well as some gym memberships and the like. A $2,000 credit will last a year or two for many people, and once they're used to not having the hassle of insurance, excise tax, gas, parking, maintenance, car payments, plus the fact that there are Zipcar spots almost immediately in front of this development, I'm guessing it will be pretty easy to convert them to long term car-share users rather than car-owners.

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I agree that this will go a long way for the first round of buyers, yes. I was thinking more about the subsequent buyers. I like the idea, I just wish there was a way to make it last for more than one "generation" of owners.

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If I was considering buying a unit I'd rather the overall price drop by $2k. Assuming you're getting a loan that $2k credit is going to cost much more in the long term. It's not like it's "free" money -- the buyers pay for it one way or another.

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Don't buy a unit there then.

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Adam,

I think you transposed the numbers on unit types. The proposal is for this:

1-BR -- 2 units
2-BR -- 15 units
3-BR -- 3 units

I think this looks great, and I hope to see more like it proposed and built.

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Adam please let everyone know when the community meeting happens so people besides trafficphobic nimbys can show up

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Why should you care so much about what other people's concerns are in their neighborhood? If people want to explain why they don't think a development is good for their neighborhood, there's nothing wrong with that.

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How do you know this person doesn't live in this neighborhood?

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Maybe because most Roslidalers don't make cynical assumptions about our neighbors like this?

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Based on the way people post on this site, people are very happy to tell other people what they should and should not have in their neighborhoods, as you should be well aware.

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BRA Public Meeting is 10/21/2015 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM, at Roslindale Community Center.

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with the limited parking. Limiting living density this way adds to the housing crunch. The resulting market for these units will be families with children to add to education costs.

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Dude are you 70 or something

Most 20 somethings I know have 1 car amongst their roomates and run errands as a household.

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Some run like communes, some independent, most in between. Not all are leashed together like preschoolers being led to the park from a day care. Most housemate ad respondents we get have cars and the problem is to find ones without for our off-street space. I understand what you mean about 20 somethings, though. Some with cars and a supermarket down the street still order paper towel or food items on Amazon.

Having extra parking makes getting roommates easier, never harder. I'm sorry to hear that today's 20 somethings don't have overnight guests any more, ones who might also have cars and appreciate parking.

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Like it's a bad thing.

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Yes I'm sure that effect is much more significant than the shortage you cause when you use the scarce land near the train to build parking instead of housing.

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Where is the teeth-gnashing and wailing? I mean...come on, guys--FOUR STORIES!! And I think I see roof decks--next thing you know it'll be Animal House AND Girls Gone Wild up there. And car-sharing? What next--free Obamaphones and wife-swapping? What kind of Socialist Gomorrah are you trying to turn Roslindale into? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

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It'll be spewing out, you just know it!

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well....it does look like more crapitechture going up. Even slow children with legos can come up with better designs than what is being pooted out the asses of developers around here.

Yay, more housing. Yay, more uga-lee housing. pfffbt.

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Snark is fun, and validates all arguments. Not.

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Great to see ugly ass Southie architecture is getting spread around the other parts of the City and that the BRA is allowing it. Now if we can get people to realize there are other sections of the City where you can live in ugly buildings with a bunch of unrelated people and have no place to park your car.

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