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Meeting on massive re-do of Bunker Hill project gets raucous
By adamg on Fri, 11/18/2016 - 11:21am
The Charlestown Bridge reports on a recent BPDA meeting about plans to let a private developer replace the 1,100-unit Bunker Hill development with a 3,200 mixed-income complex.
Project residents worried if they'd be able to get back into the 1,100 new low-income units; residents in the rest of Charlestown balked at adding 2,100 new units to the neighborhood.
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Does the rest of Charlestown want to pay for the rebuild?
Put up or shut up, folks - the 2100 units are saving you a lot of tax money.
Heaven forbid we have subsidized housing in our neighborhood!
Heaven forbid we add more housing stock to our neighborhood!
This isn't about pearl clutching
The article specifically states 1110 BHA public housing units will be destroyed. The people living there now will be displaced and there is absolutely zero guarantee they will be allowed to return to live in the new housing units.
I'm siding with the residents big time on this one. The BPDA has a tarnished history when it comes to matters such as this.
That plot of land where the complex is now is now worth a ton of money. Its also on the water, and now near a desirable neighborhood.. both the shipyard and now Charlestown. Not surprising the BPDA wants to gets its mits on it to hand it over to a private developer.
I agree, I'd be hard pressed to believe that once the new complex is built that the old residents would be let back in. No developer wants to sell units that are mixed in with public housing. People will not buy them due to the stigma associated with them.
Yeah we have one complex where that worked.. Harbor Pointe (nee Columbia Point) but those units were not sold as luxury units. Just plain old condos and apartments. "Luxury" condos always sell for more, so a developer will always try to push for the luxury units where he can make the most out of his buck. He won't get the same net return on a bunch of BHA units and standard apartments next to them.
Not up to the BPDA
The BHA is the agency that decides who moves back in. Current residents are given options - either relocate to another development for the interim or take a Section 8 voucher and leave. If they relocate they are allowed to move back in once the units are ready.
There are additional considerations regarding eligibility for a voucher and relocation specifics.
But the BPDA has no say in what happens to the existing BHA residents.
The section 8 income limits
The section 8 income limits are pretty low. The new low income units are going to be attached to a section 8 (this is not how the apartments are now). Meaning, the tenants with the lower of income levels will be able to qualify to get a new unit, but people and families making too much to qualify for a section 8 are out of luck and will probably have to be transferred to another development to live permanently. Just another way working, lower middle class gets screwed.
This isn't about clutching
This isn't about clutching pearls but thanks for the assumption.
When was the last time you tried to enter or leave Charlestown during rush hour? There are basically three entries and exits to Charlestown - Chelsea Street, Austin St. and Sullivan Square. It's difficult enough as it is to leave during the morning so let's just add 2,100 new residents without any infrastructure improvements to accommodate the new demands on the roads, parking and public transportation. As seen by the incessant building in the seaport, Boston takes a build now-figure out the infrastructure details later approach that doesn't really work those the new construction affects.
So - no. It's not about more affordable housing.
Try "almost daily"
It isn't a big deal if you aren't in a car.
New people aren't the ones adding the traffic. People cutting through Charlestown to avoid using I-93 are the problem. All that heinous traffic is on the major traffic sewer - the rest of the are is wicked quiet once you are off of Chelsea St. or Rutherford Ave.
To simplify it for you: The problem isn't people commuting IN or OUT of Charlestown - many of those are not in cars, but on foot, in buses, etc. The problem is people commuting THROUGH Charlestown in single occupant vehicles.
This is true. Plus, Austin
This is true. Plus, Austin and Medford are only one lane each way! You are literally trapped there is no way out once the traffic congests. If the highway on-ramp or the rotary backs up its even worse, almost scary. Maybe they can tell everyone to jump in the water and swim to Chelsea or East Boston if there is some need for evacuation?
This will reduce that kind of
This will reduce that kind of housing without anything that says they will come back.
It's also a big increase in residents with major traffic issues in that area.
Poor people are going to get tucked again
The same happened when they renovated Columbia Point and Old Colony projects. Move them out, rebuild/renovate and don't move them back in.
The Boston Housing Authority cleans house every 10-20 years and pushes the residents out of the City.
If Charlestown doesn't want it
Can we convince the developer to do the same thing to Bromley-Heath instead?
Is going down regardless.
Bromley high rises/ old side next.
I wasn't able to attend the
I wasn't able to attend the meeting though I wish I'd been able to. I'm a Charlestown resident and at least in theory I'm a huge supporter of this project. I think it's important that housing is found for current residents during construction and that they're guaranteed an option to move back in. I would also want to see infrastructure upgrades, preferable in the form of public transit since 2000+ extra cars would be a disaster for Charlestown. My family owns a car that we rarely use because we commute by bus and the T but at rush hour it the traffic in and out of the Town can slow the bus to a crawl.
That said, many people at the meeting seemed unable to articulate real concerns. Instead they simply appear to oppose any new development in Charlestown. Charlestown is still at less than half of its peak population and I think adding new residents and retail would be a huge boon the community. If this new development is truly integrated into the larger town and not constructed as an island it could help existing businesses and community groups.
I hope people's legitimate concerns are addressed and that otherwise a handful of NIMBYs aren't able to derail this.
Its all good except the
Its all good except the people earning too much to qualify for a section 8 cant come back. And just because someone does not qualify, does not mean they make enough to pay market rent in Boston (where they may have jobs and children in good bps schools.) The guidelines are pretty low. They will be moved into another apartment BHA still controls with federal funding (possibly a more dangerous development) and Charlestown will have lost a working family. Though they are claiming everybody can come back I just do not see how its possible. Its going to be a playground for the rich and very poor, just bigger and fancier.
Also a resident (navy yard),
Also a resident (navy yard), completely agree with this sentiment. I would be completely won over if they made a way to guarantee ALL residents of all income levels can come back and have a home. 100% for the creation of mixed income level housing and adding more green space and retail stores that we sorely lack. I commute by bike and my partner commutes by ferry or on foot. We don't own a car, and if there were better public transportation options I think more people would do it. My job in somerville takes me on THREE different lines despite being under 5 miles away--- parking options at home and at work are poor and cars are expensive. If I couldn't bike for whatever reason it would be a nightmare. We really need better options to link us to other areas. I hope that the talk of a inner harbor loop ferry becomes a reality. I can practically throw a rock at east boston, but going out to dinner there is a nightmare.