The Boston Department of Neighborhood Development and the city Housing Innovation Lab say they've given up on the idea of putting an apartment building over the Taft Hill municipal parking lot in Roslindale Square - but will continue to look at ways of using other city property to increase the amount of affordable housing in Roslindale, a neighborhood they say has fallen below citywide averages.
The two agencies began looking at the municipal parking lot last year as part of a citywide "housing with public assets" effort to see if existing city properties, including parking lots and buildings, could be used as the base to add additional housing units for people making less than the area median income in a city with ever rising housing costs.
In a memo on Taft Hill, the agencies cited concerns from the more than 250 comments they received that included the impact of construction on the commercial district, the potential loss of parking, both temporarily during construction and long term and the "impact of additional density in Roslindale Village and proximity to neighboring buildings" as reasons to give up on including the lot in the program.
At the same time, DND and the housing lab said:
Additionally, as with any conversation about housing, issues of race and class surfaced during the course the engagement and feedback process. As several community members expressed, the long standing impact of structural racism, decreasing access to opportunity and financial security, as well as opposition to the development of affordable housing, perpetuate many of our city’s inequities.
[O]nly 12% of Roslindale’s housing stock is income restricted, compared to the citywide average of 19%. Additionally, more than half of the renters in Roslindale are cost-burdened, meaning they pay 30% or more of their income on rent.
DND and the housing lab said they will now focus on other city-owned property both in Roslindale and elsewhere in the city.
Looking for new and innovative ways to create affordable housing remains a priority for Mayor Walsh and the City will continue to explore potential spaces in Roslindale for the development of additional affordable housing in the future and look for opportunities to collaborate with neighborhood groups interested in the intersection of affordable housing creation and racial equity.