Nearly two years after Roxbury Prep filed plans to replace the old Clay Chevrolet place on Belgrade Avenue with a new high school, the BPDA had scheduled a public meeting on the proposal. But BPDA planners sent out word Friday that the meeting, scheduled for this Tuesday, has been called off.
The note did not give a specific reason for the postponement, which will run "until further notice," but did express the wish that recipients have "a happy and safe holiday season."
Roxbury Prep, which currently splits its high-school students between rented space in Hyde Park and Roxbury, had proposed a school with room for 562 students at the Clay site, on the Roslindale/West Roxbury line, in its filing on Jan. 8, 2019. Most of the students, the school said, would get to and from school either by commuter rail - the site is next door to a stop on the Needham Line - or by one of the three bus lines that run down Belgrade Avenue to and from Forest Hills.
Some nearby residents rose in vocal protest, arguing the school would mean traffic hell for the area in a way that Holy Name School and Catholic Memorial, on equally busy West Roxbury roads, do not and besides, the proposed building is just too small for the number of students Roxbury Prep would enroll. At the very first public meeting on the proposal, in 2017, some residents publicly complained about students from other neighborhoods pouring into their bucolic area, but residents stopped raising that argument when they realized it might seem racist.
Following that meeting, Roxbury Prep reduced the size of its proposal from 800 to 562 students.
The BPDA did hold a public meeting on the proposal in February, 2019, but its board has deferred any votes on the project. The Zoning Board of Appeals, which also has to approve the proposal, has similarly deferred action, to await a vote by the BPDA.
By way of comparison, the amount of time the BPDA has sat on the proposal and taken no vote is now several months longer than the period during which the authority considered and approved plans for Winthrop Center, a 55-story office and residential building downtown that required a complete rewrite of the site's zoning, negotiations on $150 million in payments to the city for the purchase of a municipal garage on the site and even action by the state legislature to account for the shadows the building would cast on Boston Common.
The BPDA received formal plans for that project in November, 2016 and approved it 18 months later, in May, 2018.