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.