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Allston apartments win approval after developer takes steps to prevent it from becoming part of the GAP student ghetto

The Board of Appeal today approved a 129-unit, six-story apartment building at Brighton Avenue and Linden Street after developers said they would rent no more than a third of the units to students - and not allow students to occupy any unit at a density greater than one student per bedroom.

Noah Maslan of Eden Properties agreed to take the steps - along with reducing the number of studio units - to keep the building from becoming an extension of the GAP - the area behind that stretch of Brighton Avenue that is loaded with BU students. Some 17 of the units will be rented to people who make no more than 70% of the area median income.

The building will have 79 parking spaces. Maslin said he will do a number of things to reduce residents' desire for cars, including giving out a CharlieCard for each unit, adding a Hubway station and installing a real-time alert board in the lobby for nearby bus lines and the Green Line.

The building's first floor will be rented for commercial uses.

The mayor's office and city councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton), Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) and Michael Flaherty (at large) supported the project. Ciommo said the building is just a 13-minute walk - and an even shorter bike ride - to the new Boston Landing commuter-rail stop.

Carol Ridge Martinez, executive director of the Allston/Brighton Community Development Corp., noted that some residents wanted Maslan to increase Allston's small home-ownership supply by marketing the units as condos, but said that particular location, on a busy commercial street and bordered by a student-heavy area, just isn't ready for that. She added that Allston rents have begun to stabilize and that adding 129 more apartments would further help Allston become at least a bit less unaffordable.

Douglas Bacon, who owns the White Horse Tavern across the street, along with three other restaurants in Allston/Brighton, also praised the proposal. He said even his higher-paid workers can no longer afford to live in Allston. Scott Matalan, owner of Regeneration Tattoo and a member of the Allston Board of Trade, made a similar argument in supporting the project.

Also backing the proposal: Anabella Gomes, president of the Brighton-Allston Improvement Association.

But Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, said the building was simply too dense - three floors taller than the three-floor maximum residents and the city had set for the area several years ago.

Eva Webster, co-chair of the Homeowners Union of Allston-Brighton, said the low numbers of owner-occupied units in Allston is "outrageous" and "unconscionable" and said she did not understand how the board could allow Eden Properties to "create generational wealth for themselves on the back of Allston renters."

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Comments

I don't get the fetish for ownership.

We need more of everything, including apartments. So, I'm all in favor.

I also like the goal of making sure different kinds of people live there. 100% students isn't just messy, it also deprives both students and nonstudents of the experience of meeting people who aren't exactly like them.

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I don't own, but I see the value. Ever played Monopoly? Those with houses win. All these landlords raking in more and more rent each year get richer and richer, and all of us that can't afford to buy... don't.

(Note: I totally understand that renting is often cheaper than buying. But those that can buy a multiple story building and rent units out are going to make out reeally nice.)

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Now! live streaming online, watching the #CambMA Planning Board Public Meeting https://twitter.com/jandev/status/867153730508128257

Note the stenographer. The stenographic records are made available online!

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I'm having trouble picturing where 129 units and 79 parking spaces are going to fit, even at six stories.

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From a 2015 proposal I found online:

Eden Properties plans to demolish the buildings on the site, which includes both 89-95 Brighton Ave. and 41 Gardner St.

So it's the former bike shop, the former car rental agency (on the corner), and the house behind those lots on Gardner.

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when I duck into the Superette for loosies?
Godammit....

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Ms. Webster is nuts.

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She's a major league NIMBY of the highest order

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Agreed - it's embarrassing that she represents me as a homeowner. Guess I'll have to add some public meetings to my schedule to offset her outrageous demands.

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She always asks such reasonable questions when given the mic.

Not to mention her well thought out written work...

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In all seriousness, is that a useful listserv? Or are there other ones that I should be on as an Allston/Brighton Homeowner and resident?

My wife and I are on the Hobard Park listserv because its actually our local park, but I was curious if there were other good ones.

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I find my more local listserv provides better up-to-the-minute info but this is a good pulse of the neighborhood kind of thing.

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She live in Brighton near BC - all Allston projects are reviewed in the prospect of how can I drive to Allston to shop and park conveniently. Not a resident of Allston. If you disagree, she tries to explain to you what has happened in your past to harm you and make you now disagree with her - you're damaged or don't understand the issue.

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It is easy to take pot shots from the sidelines.
Ms Webster participates in the community. I do not always agree with her, but I respect her for participating and engaging the community.
Snark from the peanut gallery is just that. No value added.

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It's "Matalon", not "Matalan".

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Also, he's the owner of Stingray Body Art, not Regeneration Tattoo...

http://www.universalhub.com/2013/owner-allston-tattoo-shop-sues-city-say...

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Whatever happened to equal protection under the law? Now it seems discrimination by age, occupation, and income is permissible if not outright enforced by law regardless of the prohibition in the state and federal constitutions.

What's next a caste system?

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If they said they wouldn't rent to male college kids, they'd have a problem.

Still, I don't see what's to stop someone from lying.

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How would this work if someone considered college age, but not in college wanted to rent? Or an older student?

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What if I live there with my kids, and one of them goes off to college. If we're at the limit in the building, do I have to kick him out?

What if I live there, and decide to go to graduate school for that MBA. If we're at the limit in the building, do I have to find a new home?

What if I'm taking a single course at community college? Does that count?

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So if a couple moves into this building, they will have to get a 2 bedroom apartment? That is absurd

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The one person/one bedroom rule is just for college students.

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Can you not be in a relationship and a college student?

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First I heard this acronym, which I figure is Gardner, Ashford and Pratt Streets. It does not sound like something some real estate developer invented. There were some neat, big old houses on those streets, but most have been ruined by the absentee-owners. Many chopped up into smaller units, or attic or basement rooms and apartments added, often with no building department approvals. Into the 1990's, there were some long-term residents there, not sure about now.

The building is out of scale with the rest of Brighton Avenue buildings. It is a pity that the house on Gardner will be demolished. And given the small percentage of owner-occupied dwellings in the neighborhood, existing and proposed, some of them should have been condos. What is an "appropriate" area for home ownership? We need to start somewhere.

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There are more "long-term residents" (owner-occupants, for the most part, although some long-term renters as well) than many are willing to acknowledge - off the top of my head I can think of 15 to 20 such households in the area bounded by Harvard Avenue, Brighton Avenue, and Cambridge Street. This includes at least a few families with children, a category some have tried to claim is entirely absent from that small neighborhood.

I first heard the term GAP in community meetings with the local police officers, and I have a vague sense it might have originated with them.

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Do they mean that students all dress with clothing from that chain?

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GAP = Gardner/Ashford/Pratt Streets.

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