District City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Tim McCarthy both oppose a proposed charter school on Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, near where their districts meet, but they said today there's no way they're supporting a resolution by at-large Councilor Althea Garrison to put the entire council on record as opposing the proposal.
The two councilors, joined by another district councilor, Josh Zakim, said that as flawed as the process might be, they don't want to interfere with a BPDA process for determining whether Roxbury Prep can tear down a former car dealership near West Roxbury Parkway with a high school and that even if they did, it's fundamentally a development issue that properly belongs in the bailiwick of councilors who represent the affected districts specifically, not an at-large councilor like Garrison.
Garrison, who said she thinks the old Clay Chevrolet site would be better suited for senior housing, said she fully agrees with the argument by residents fighting the proposed school that the school would create traffic havoc in the area.
Garrison also says that a recent proposal by Roxbury Prep to reduce the number of students at the school - in an attempt to mollify those residents - means the school will now fail because "the students will not get the benefits they were promised in what was supposed to be a state of the art school facility."
McCarthy, who said he has spent countless hours in meetings on the proposal and dealt with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls about it, said he doesn't need any help from an at-large councilor on the issue, and that the council as a whole should not get involved in the process of overseeing a development project in one district. "A resolution such as this awful precedent," McCarthy said. O'Malley agreed.
Zakim, who said he's even gotten e-mails and phone calls about the project, which is nowhere near his district, said he supported his fellow district councilors. He said he has referred concerned callers to McCarthy and O'Malley.
At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who also opposes the Roxbury Prep proposal, said it's just not a good idea for the council to be issuing resolutions on specific development proposals.
As she spoke in favor of her resolution, Garrison acknowledged she did not expect other councilors to join her and did not object when Council President Andrea Campbell sent it to committee rather than suspending the council's normal rules and having a vote taken immediately on the resolution.