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Stonybrook Neighbors Ask for Washington St. Study

Developers are planning to build along Washington Street in Jamaica Plain; the local residents want the city to take notice.

With developers lining up to build along Washington Street in Jamaica Plain, the local neighborhood association has asked that the city partner with the community in establishing a documented vision for a neighborhood known as one of the oldest in Boston.  

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association has requested that the Boston Redevelopment Authority initiate a "Washington Street Corridor Plan," according to a May 17 letter. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council backed this request at a Tuesday night meeting.

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association lists six development and transportation projects all planned along or near Washington Street – a stretch that runs from the Roxbury line in Egleston Square through to Forest Hills.

Two of the developments are planned side-by-side by separate developers between McBride and New Washington streets/The Arborway. Combined, the developments could bring in total about 330 new residential units plus retail and parking to the area. Other planned developments include 3371 Washington St./197-201 Green St., 3383-3389 Washington St., the MBTA Arborway Yard project and the Casey Overpass removal and redesign.

The Stonybrook neighbors are hopeful the BRA will draw up a study similar to the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative, completed in 2010.

“The SNA is concerned that, without a cohesive vision, the lack of coordination of projects impacting the area to the north of Forest Hills, including Stonybrook and Egleston Square neighborhoods will squander the corridor’s potential and undermine, rather than build off of, the vision and spirit of the FHII,” according to the letter from SNA co-chairs Carl Lowenberg and Frederick Vetterlein to BRA Director Peter Meade.

Jamey Lionette, Jamaica Plain Housing and Development Committee chair, said at the meeting the Stonybrook neighbors are not opposed to development in the area, and instead simply want to establish a community process regarding the plans. In contrast, he referenced the recent South Huntington Avenue planned developments and corresponding BRA study as a situation in which neighbors were not in favor of area building.

“This one is very much more proactive, and South Huntington seemed a lot more reactive,” he said.

Students at the Boston Architectural College Gateway Initiative completed a Washington Street Corridor Study in May, and the Stonybrook neighbors are asking BRA to use this study as a jumping off point for their own.

“We envision a corridor plan that will guide future development in a positive direction, preserving and enhancing what is best about the neighborhood, while repairing and redeveloping that which has been damaged before unsustainable and irreversible developments are given individual BRA approval,” according to the SNA letter.  

RICHARD Heath June 26, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Richard Heath 42 Bourne st I have lived in Forest Hills for 40 years. Twenty at 319 Forest Hills St. I am concerned about the development at the tree large parcels in the near future. Two north of Forest Hills Sq and one at Ukraine Way + Walk Hills Street. I do not think a BRA planning study is necessary or useful in as much as these often lead to unmet expectations and resulting community frustration. Realistically the financial and real estate market is the driving force. But the new mayor MUST and HAS TO stand up and ask not WHAT but FOR WHOM are these large transit oriented housing developments marketed. We run the risk of driving out our low and moderate income neighbors confined as they are to the edges and and margins of theForest Hills community from Williams St to Eldridge Rd. We must look at Burnett Street and Hyde Park Avenue and Washington St neighbors and ask how can THEIR families benefit with new housing. We must INSIST for one third LOW . One third MODERATE and one third MARKET in ANY new homes built in the Forest Hills community-which again I define as Williams St to Eldridge Road 1/4 mile from the MBTA terminal. This was done very successfully in the South End in the 1980's and it MUST BE done in the Forest Hills community if we are to preserve what is left of the character of our allegedly diverse Jamaica Plain. The REAL one my wife and i moved into in late 1972.
Liz O'Connor June 27, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Friends and neighbors: if you believe that we need development without displacement, in the context of a community-driven vision through a process which is fully accountable to residents as well as developers, please consider meeting and learning more about John Barros and his candidacy for Mayor. Let me know if I can get you out to a house party or other event where you can learn about his track record as well as plans for the future in these areas, as they are profoundly relevant to this upcoming challenge. Additionally, I encourage SNA to keep the West Roxbury Courthouse Neighborhood Association in mind as an ally as you go forward as many of our members have expressed interest in the upcoming projects as well as concerns which echo and mirror those articulated here. Liz O'Connor
Liz O'Connor June 27, 2013 at 08:24 AM
oops, p.s. for more info on meeting John Barros, email me at lizcoconnor@gmail.com

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