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With change in zoning-board members, developer tries again to win approval for Roslindale Square apartment building with no parking; says most of the units now will be affordable

4198 Washington St. rendering

Rendering by RODE Architects.

A developer that originally proposed a 31-unit apartment building at 4198 Washington St. in Roslindale Square that would have 13 affordable units but no on-site parking says it can now guarantee that 19 of the units would be affordable.

Arx Urban's proposal still has no on-site parking, which is one of the reasons the Zoning Board of Appeal rejected the proposal in 2021, but since then, most of the board's members either resigned or were replaced by Mayor Wu.

In addition to asking the BPDA, which approved the initial proposal in 2021, to let it increase the number of units to be rented between 60% and 100% of the Boston area median income, the project will have to go back before the reconstituted zoning board for variances. The new proposal would mean 61% of the units in the building would be affordable, compared to the city-required minimum of 13%. In its request for new BPDA approval, the developer says:

Since receiving the BPDA Board Approval, the Proponent received positive feedback from affordable housing subsidy sources and wishes to income-restrict additional units in the Project.

The proposed building, four stories along Washington Street, five stories in the back, would replace a one-story row of stores and an improv theater. Both the Rozzie Square Theater and Delicious Yogurt support the proposal and would get spaces at below-market rents in the new building. Arx Urban says it has offered similar deals to Bob's Pita and Dragon Chef and would help them find new space in Roslindale Square if they decide not to sign up.

In addition to citing concerns about parking for a building that would be on numerous bus lines and near a commuter-rail stop, the three members of the zoning board who voted against the proposal said they were worried the building would help gentrify Roslindale Square, harming its minority businesses in part by reducing parking for their customers because some of the residents would have cars. All of the businesses in the current building are minority-owned.

The zoning board actually voted 4-3 for the project, but state law requires at least 5 votes on requests for zoning variances. Even the members who voted in favor did so on condition Arx Urban work with the BPDA to figure out a way to put at least some parking in the building's basement.

In its latest request to the BPDA, however, the company says the only change it's proposing is the number of units that would be rented as affordable and is asking the BPDA to approve that as a change that does not require new public hearings and meetings.

4198 Washington St. filings.



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Guarantee it will not be the affordable units. Buyers of new condos, who can afford the cost, own nice vehicles and don’t want them parked on the street. Those who can buy affordable units, have not so nice vehicles, but cannot afford the parking.
All part of the greater plan to suppress vehicle ownership by the working class and elderly.

Voting closed 18

Read the article, it clearly states that the building will not have parking, meaning that the 59% of market rate units will have no parking, just like the below market units. This is two blocks from a train station, and right in front of a bus stop serving 9 bus routes, and only a 5-10 minute ride to Forest Hills. Not everybody wants a unit with parking, why make people pay for something they don't want?

Voting closed 65

This is a presumption that all occupants will be working in Boston and at a location that is on one of the public transit line options. This further adds to the limited nature of the building. You are only welcome here if you work along the MBTA and do not own a car. This is not enforceable.

All resident will take the T to work. Really?

A lot of people do not work in Boston and the train doesn't reach all neighborhoods.

This is a false framework. You may as well put up a sign that says "car owners not welcome."

As to affordability, put a dollar sign on that. Most of what is being built today is well out of the reach of the working class. That is sending them elsewhere. In turn there is no working class to take on jobs in Boston. The result is business closes because they cannot find people to work there. It's a downward spiral.

Voting closed 2

Most ppl have cars. No matter how much public trans., their cars will be using surrounding streets, Lindall, Basile etc. which are already overcrowded, most days. Unless you live in the area, you have no idea.

Voting closed 2

There’s no way to put parking in building without eliminating retail space and reducing affordability of the units. Right now below grade parking is running low six figures hard cost. Zoning board was completely out to lunch on this last time.

Voting closed 42

Only on this? LOL

Voting closed 17

All these no parking apartment buildings built around here will need to all be low income, because no one who can afford a car will want to live in them.

Voting closed 13

I doubt that's true, since there are thousands of buildings with no parking in the Boston area, and plenty of people of all income levels want to live in them.

But if it is true, GOOD! Building buildings with a range of amenities at different price points is an efficient and sustainable way to make sure people of different income levels are able to live here.

Voting closed 2

Good thing the building's going to be 61% low income!

There's a building right on the other side of the square that has parking, for those bougie enough to afford a car. Options for everybody.

Voting closed 4

Glad to see there are three board members who time travelled from 1998 into the meeting last week.

Do me a favor and have them use their time machine and go to Shea in October 1986 and tell Johnny Mac that Buckner is hurt and to put Stapleton in at first for the 9th of Game 6.

Voting closed 25

Grab bag of concerns. Parking and… gentrification! Weird they didn’t cite climate change and food insecurity too.

Let’s take a moment to remember the shameless previous chair and fearless petty despot of Roslindale parking Christine Araujo. Araujo, who developed a conscience and said “you can’t fire me, I quit” the day before the Mayor was going to drop kick her off the ZBA and into oblivion forever.

Pour one out for Araujo (preferably in an empty parking space — lots to choose from in Rozzie) and approve this building.

Voting closed 53

According to someone I know who owns a business together with a member of the 86 team, Johnny Mac actually did tell Buckner he was coming out of the game. Buckner simply ignored him and ran out to his position. Mac was weak and didn't challenge him.

The rest is history.

(The unnamed source has an affinity for chicken)

In other news, Bostonians will continue to drive cars until and unless we have a safe, reliable, and 24/7 transit system.

Voting closed 2

Prayers up for the Roslindale 'neighborhood defenders' who causewash their NIMBYism here behind the alleged concerns of minority business owners while ignoring the minority business owners in the building who are partners in the project and the many minorities who will benefit with a place to live in these new apartments. Reminder that zero business parking will be affected by this where all the business spots are already signed for 2 hour parking and there is a 100+ space municipal lot less than a minute walk away.

Voting closed 2

....but at least a beautiful example of architecture will be added to the streetscape. YIMBY all the way!! #crapitechture

Voting closed 8

I’m undecided about this project, but the architecture of this is not on my list of concerns.

Triple deckers are ugly, but the line this street going down to Forest Hills.

Voting closed 12

win win for pro-density gentrification fans

Voting closed 1

No offstreet parking means lots of double parked cars and related congestion. Not providing onsite parking doesn't equal less cars! How about building something that conforms to zoning code? If not, why do we have a zoning code?

Voting closed 2