Residents say the BPDA has jumped into a battle - in which it's yet to take sides - to save 72 Hyde Park Ave., across from the Forest Hills station parking lot, where a developer who tore down a two-family house to replace it with a six-unit building has hired a tree service to take it down.
A crew was set to cut down the tree last month, but left after a resident of Wenham Street, which runs behind Hyde Park Avenue, noticed them setting up and went over and told them they couldn't, because developer Vladimir Sirotin had pledged to keep the tree, they left.
At a meeting last Friday with residents, state Rep. Sam Montano and aides to the mayor and Councilor Kendra Lara, Sirotin said he had to cut down the tree, because digging the foundation for the new building would require cutting a significant number of roots, the tree would likely die and even if it didn't, it's in the way of a required handicap ramp and drainage system.
The plan the zoning board reviewed before approving the sort of contemporary double triple decker on Aug. 23, 2022, showed the tree, which residents say could be more than 100 years old.
Although the project was too small to go through the normal BPDA approval process, the zoning board asked the BPDA to review the building's and site's designs, as it does with most projects.
Matt Shuman, one of the residents fighting to save the tree, says the BPDA discovered the plans Sirotin is using are not the ones he initially submitted to the city.
Sirotin submitted revised plans today. Shuman said residents have set up a form for tree supporters to send e-mail to the BPDA urging it - and its staff landscape architects - to help save the tree.
The activity comes as Boston works to extend its existing street-tree program to provide new trees for certain private home owners.
Mayor Wu, who as a city councilor in 2019, helped save the sycamore tree that gave Sycamore Street in Roslindale its name, joined with the Massachusetts Audubon Society in June to announce the Tree Alliance, which will seek to help community centers, houses of worship, and other non-profit organizations obtain and plant trees on their property.
"Increasing the number of trees in Boston will enhance our neighborhoods’ livability, health and resilience benefiting both our climate and our residents," Wu said then.
Rendering of proposed new building by David Choi:
Watch the Aug. 23, 2022 zoning-board hearing at which the project was approved: