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Roxbury councilor: Neighborhood has enough affordable housing, let's build more in places like Beacon Hill and Hyde Park

City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson (Roxbury) today proposed a halt on any further sales of city-owned vacant land in Roxbury for development until neighborhood residents get more of a say on what gets built on it before any RFPs to developers are published.

The council took no action on her proposal at its meeting today, instead sending it to a planning and development committee, chaired by Frank Baker (Dorchester) for a public hearing first.

Fernandes Anderson predicted residents would want anything other than affordable housing - of the sort the city has been promoting on numerous parking lots and other empty land in Nubian Square in recent years.

She told city councilors today that 54% of the apartments in Roxbury are already income-restricted, compared to 19.2% citywide and between 6% and 8% in Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, the North End, the South Boston waterfront and Hyde Park. It's time those neighborhoods in particular did their share to support people who could not otherwise afford to live in them, she said.

"There is no denying low-income rental housing is needed in our city. but it is not needed in Roxbury," she said. Continuing to funnel such apartments into Roxbury only solidifies its role as a city message to the neighborhood that "you must remain impoverished," she said.

What Roxbury really needs now, she said, is more development of affordable condos and houses, so that residents can begin to build generational wealth, as well as such things as arts, culture, recreation, playgrounds and trees. Her comments come the week after the Zoning Board of Appeal approved two new Nubian Square projects with significant art and cultural components.

But that can only happen if residents have a seat at the table when officials are even thinking about selling off more public land, she said.

City Councilor Kendra Lara (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who co-sponsored the measure, said it's past time for residents to have a say before they're presented with a fait accompli in the form of a developer's plan that resulted from an RFP issued without local input.

Fernandes Anderson's comments drew support from at-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who said they reminded him of a similar battle he and other South Boston elected officials and residents unsuccessfully waged against plans by the Menino administration and the BRA to turn the parking lots of the South Boston waterfront into today's Seaport.

At every step, Flaherty said, South Boston was rebuffed in its attempts to get more affordable housing built on the waterfront - and in efforts to get the city to include such things as a school, a library and police and fire stations.

The result? "It almost kind of feels like you're in New York," not a Boston neighborhood, he said.

PDF icon Proposed order96.23 KB


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One group's input is another group's NIMBY resistance.

The city should always hold hearings and consider the opinions of locals. Except for all the times they shouldn't.

Voting closed 26

The Boston Public Schools are an example where they try to give everyone a seat at the table. As a result, nothing good happens. People just fight and say, "You're not listening to me!"

It seems like most of the stories I read are worried about how Roxbury and Dorchester are being gentrified and that current residents are being pushed out. Now Fernandes says, "We have too much low income housing!" SMFH

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A good percentage of that 54% are units in a building with a HUD subsidized mortgage which are given with the guarantee that the units in a building will stay affordable until the mortgage is paid off.

Guess what happens when someone who owns an apartment building and pays off that subsidized mortgage and the market is looking good? Going Condo! If you don't think developers have been not watching Seaver Street, think again.

Get ready for JP's borders to move east and Roxbury's to shrink.

Be careful what you wish for councilor. Don't scream about displacement in ten years because you wished to keep development low, thus making existing units more valuable.

(PS - Don't hire your relatives).

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“Without local input” would come as a surprise to the people who ran and attended the five PLAN Nubian Square P3 workshops, as well as the multiple Roxbury strategic plan oversight committee meetings where the RFP was discussed…

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If a Boston City Councilor earning at least 80k per year is still eligible to live in Government subsidized housing, as Kendra Lara is..

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So depending on how many at a time that she has and federal poverty guidelines... it makes sense

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I don't know the exact rate she got but I do know the older the child the higher the pay is.
Let's just say it's the lower rate of 25 dollars per day per child, that would increase your income by $750 per month per child. Foster Parents should earn a hell of a lot more than that from the State, no doubt about it.

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the Turtle riders come out of their shells

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City councilors will make $125K and the mayor will receive $250K after the council approved pay raises today,

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The South End had affordable housing options...

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when the entire South End was affordable.

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I remember when "Back Bay" was just called the bay. /s

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When the back bay was a swamp ;)

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… herding my cows down the cow paths of DTX.

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Fanuiel Hall was a swamp.

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Maybe I'm missing the distinction, but she is calling for less income sensitive housing and more affordable housing? Are these not the same thing? I almost get the sense she is talking for the sake of talking, as she seems to be saying nothing.

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In the middle of the reporting, there is the line below. As someone who lives surrounded by slumlord-owned section 8 housing, I can see her point.

"What Roxbury really needs now, she said, is more development of affordable condos and houses, so that residents can begin to build generational wealth"

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I remember when either Southwest Boston CDC or Urban Edge tried to put up a bunch of affordable townhouses in Roslindale. I very much remember the NIMBY's making that same statement. They won, so the lot is still vacant and Roslindale is that much less affordable.

And if the councilor would get out, she would see that Hyde Park has a lot of affordable housing. It probably needs more, but the same can be said about the whole city, including Roxbury. I mean, unless you want Roxbury to get all gentrified.

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Shouldn't she instead be insisting that ALL new housing in her neighborhood be affordable?

If you don't build affordable housing, you'll get gentrification instead. (You'll probably get it anyway.) Does she prefer this?

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