Parcel U Deal Short of Affordable Housing Goal
A developer has planned 120 housing units at the 2.82-acre property purchased from the MBTA in Forest Hills, but the amount of affordable housing units of the proposal falls short of the goal set forth by the community.
Though a deal is pending between a developer and the MBTA for 120 housing units at Parcel U, an MBTA-owned Forest Hills plot, that deal falls short of a the community’s affordable housing goal for the parcel originally set in 2008.
Only 31 of the 120 units planned by Urbanica will be designated affordable, according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority documents. This accounts for 26 percent affordable housing. The community goal was set at 50 percent, according to the the BRA's Forest Hills Improvement Initiative in 2008.
BRA Senior architect John Dalzell said guidelines of this nature are a reflection of what the community wanted to see happen with a development, and that proposals do not need to meet these goals.
“You can imagine there were people who wanted to see more [affordable housing] and people who wanted to see less,” he said in an interview. “We wanted to reflect what we thought was closest to what most people thought.”
The Jamaica Plain Gazette reported Jan. 4 that, according to the proposal accepted by the MBTA, eight of the 64 units for sale and 25 of the 56 units for rent will be designated “affordable,” which represent percentages of 12.5 and 46 individually, but account for 26 percent in total.
Dalzell said the proposal is only a starting point, and that the community will have ample time to weigh in on the development, adding that depleting resources across the country have made it difficult to build affordable units since the original discussions were had five years ago.
“It’s natural to have some discrepancies,” he said. “Part of the process is to leave some real flexibility.”