Hey, there! Log in / Register

Zoning board approves apartment building next to train station in Hyde Park

The Zoning Board of Appeals this morning unanimously approved a proposed 27-unit apartment building next to the Fairmount commuter-rail station.

The Southwest Boston Community Development Corp and the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. plan to spend $7 million to build 24 units for people making up to 60% of the area's median income and 3 apartments for people making between 60% and 80% of that amount. It will be built on a derelict piece of former industrial land.

The BRA approved the project in September.

The project pitted Mayor Marty Walsh and at-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who supported the proposal, against state Rep. Angelo Scaccia, district City Councilor Tim McCarthy and at-large Councilors Steve Murphy - who lives in Hyde Park - and Michael Flaherty, who opposed it.

"It's the very definition of transit-oriented development," Dave McNulty, Walsh's liaison for Hyde Park, told the board.

Scaccia, however, called the location a public-safety menace. Children who live there will either be flattened by speeding trains on the Fairmount Line or be forced to breath in fumes from nearby car shops and a hazardous waste site - the toxins from which would be stirred up by passing trains - he said.

Scaccia said that for 150 years, nobody has built housing next to train tracks, and for good reason. He invited board members down to the area for a cup of coffee - and a tour of the location to see just how dangerous apartments "within feet of moving trains" would be.

"We shouldn't jeopardize people's lives," he said.

Ed. note: A tour along the Northeast Corridor, which cuts through Scaccia's district, would feature numerous houses and apartment buildings built within feet of tracks for trains that move far faster than anything on the Fairmount Line.

McCarthy, who said he strongly supports "workforce housing," said the site "is an awful location" for an apartment building because of its location next to the auto-repair shops, and urged the proponents to find another site for it.

Proponents, which included the Boston branch of the NAACP, said the project would not only mean new housing for people otherwise being priced out of the Boston area but would clean up a ramshackle parcel and help bring new life to the area around Logan Square and the train station.

Nearby resident Craig Martin, however, opposed the proposal, saying the property was rezoned in 2011 explicitly for mixed-use commercial development and noted the building has no commercial space. He also criticized plans to eliminate commuter-rail parking spaces at a time when the MBTA is looking to buy new trains for the line and offers reduced fairs to encourage ridership.

Other residents said the project would exacerbate traffic on the area's side streets, which they said are already used as cut throughs by drivers trying to avoid Logan and Cleary squares.

Mat Thall, who is heading up the project for Southwest Boston, said plans call for construction of a fence between the T parking lot and the building's parking spaces and said there has never been a case of a child being hit by a train on the Fairmount Line tracks near the station. "Transit-oriented development is not a new idea," he said.

He said the hazardous-waste site poses no threat to potential residents because the groundwater flow from the site heads away from the site and that if his group does find the existing car and carpentry businesses are putting out illegal emissions, it would move quickly to secure city or state action to stop that.

ZBA member Anthony Pisani made the motion to grant the required variance to allow residential units in the building's first floor, said the project showed "overwhelming benefit."

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:

Comments

on an artificially reduced transit line! I wish my commute and housing in Rozie was that subsidized.

up
Voting closed 0

...and move to HP...

up
Voting closed 0

Assuming of course he moves to Fairmont Hill, lest he get tempted to take the commuter rail from Hyde Park (zone 1) or Readville (zone 2.)

Seriously, though, he gripes because he is racist. Too many darkies over that way and whatnot.

up
Voting closed 0

about what others were able to get and are benefiting maybe you should focus on making Roslindale a 1A station. As an HP resident I would gladly support it because what is good for Roslindale is good for HP and vice versa.

up
Voting closed 0

Is a glorified housing project that will do nothing to improve the area. 60-100% AMI is what the should focus on instead of hosing the taxpayers and ruining the neighborhood.

up
Voting closed 0

Is a lot more than people in the service sector make. During the course of the day, you probably look at the person who sells you your coffee or looks after your kids at daycare and think "yet another member of the moocher class." There are a lot of working people who would qualify for these units. Do you have something against people who work?

Between you and the racist commuter rail troll, my only hope is that the both of you decide that Boston is going to hell in a handbasket and get out quick. Then, a few more housing units will be available.

up
Voting closed 0

Ed. note: A tour along the Northeast Corridor, which cuts through Scaccia's district, would feature numerous houses and apartment buildings built within feet of tracks for trains that move far faster than anything on the Fairmount Line.

...but a lot of those are not at grade, correct? And all others are well-fenced off from the tracks, right?

up
Voting closed 0

Fenced off, yes, but anybody who wants to get on the tracks probably only has to spend 30 seconds looking for a hole somebody else has cut. I wonder if Scaccia has expressed similar concern about the freight yard just past Readville station that anybody can traipse right into (since the gate always seems to be open).

up
Voting closed 0

If I remember correctly.

A few years back, I swear I read a story of someone getting hit by an Acela going over 100 by the school.

And, of course, there is housing on Business Street where a kid could end up at Hyde Park Station (zone 1, for those curious), where even the commuter rail trains go fast, without crossing the street. Oh, and I believe that if someone were at Reservation Road Park, getting to the tracks, while not easy, is not hard either.

up
Voting closed 0

That particular "accident" was a suicide.

up
Voting closed 0

My bad. Explains the lack of follow up. Still, the poor soul was able to access the tracks.

up
Voting closed 0

there are no dwelling units "at grade" on the train side of the building...there is a common courtyard on the opposite side of the building....yes, trains are dangerous, and yes, train accidents involving children are almost non-existent.

up
Voting closed 0

The "first-floor" units are actually on the second floor of the building - which is the first floor on the other side due to the way it's built into a hill. That's what the variance was for.

up
Voting closed 0

Minutes of the most recent and previous Public Meeting of the Board are available, request at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=98

The Board can use civic minded types to make available online the Minutes of the Public Meetings !

The Office of Boston City Councilor Wu is looking at getting online the Minutes of Public Meetings of all City Boards/Commissions. Interested in reading online Minutes? Let them know at http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=12

up
Voting closed 0

Anybody who is against any new construction always pulls out that old canard. Kids aren't stupid and ones that grow up next to train tracks are more likely to respect the danger of them.

Sounds like the folks who are against this probably have some connection to another developer who is more likely to donate to their reelection campaign.

up
Voting closed 0

....if Scaccia (state) and Mccarthy (city) are truly concerned about the safety of their constituents, may I suggest working together on getting the bridge sidewalks cleared next winter so many folks do not have to play chicken with cars....(yes, as a matter of fact, this is a dead horse I am beating...)...canard, horse, and chicken : no offense to the animal world! and yes, of course the cruise line is cunard...

was at the hearing and the place was packed.
of course everyone "supports" the "concept" of affordable housing, but it's another thing to build it. Good for SWBCDC and folks with a little vision...not perfect but nobody has claimed otherwise...a step in the right direction.

up
Voting closed 0

This building will do nothing but improve the area. It replaces long derelict abandoned industrial eyesores with middle-class housing. The incomes required are at or a bit above the area median too; this is no public-housing project. The residents will support the local economy...certainly a big step up from the falling-down crap there now.

I went to the hearings and read the materials all along. The misinformation and hyperbole by the NIMBY types were amazing, even for Boston. All manner of horrible consequences were in store. Crazy talk...

Fortunately, the calm reasoning, data and replies from the CDC and others involved held sway. Some people really didn't want any change, even improvement. It's good for us in HP that they lost.

up
Voting closed 0

Only three units are, the rest are under 60% AMI. Now, it will work out if there is a lower limit and it's set reasonably high, but if there's no lower limit this will end up being nothing but a nicer-looking housing project. Units will go to single teenage mothers with no income instead of single EMTs/social workets/etc with no kids making around 40k because mustsavethechildren, boyfriends will move in and set up shop, their buddies will start hanging out, rivals will start showing up with their guns, and before you know it the whole area goes down the crapper.

up
Voting closed 0

Don't know what planet you have been living on, but "teenage mothers" have not been allowed to live in their own apartments for a very long time - like 15 years long time.

Teen parents are required to live in supervised living environments: with their parents, in a group home, or in a foster home. Underage parents are no longer considered households.

Been a long time, dude - but, hey, tired and ignorant talking points are a wonderful bozo filter for bigots.

up
Voting closed 0

They didn't want it b/c density or b/c it is low-income/affordable housing, both, or something else?

up
Voting closed 0

There is not enough parking associated with this development and too much traffic in this neighborhood already. Apparently the planners think that everyone is just going to bike to work. Until there are lanes added to every road in the city, we should not be building any new development like this.

up
Voting closed 0

27 parking spaces for 27 units is more than most folks put in for affordable housing, and much more than developers are putting in market housing downtown...also, the traffic in this area is already horrendous (at times) and adding 27 cars to the flow of thousands per day is a proverbial drop in a bucket folks...

a few reasons against the project include serious problems that already exist and could be addressed now...it's easier of course to lay the problem at the feet of a new idea/project/vision; this project will only have a positive effect...ten years from now we'll be asking, what's was the big deal?

up
Voting closed 0

One space per unit is not a lot for Hyde Park.

I will not concede that these are "the projects" as some anons term, but look at Georgetown. Those who live there park all over the place, so trust me, 27 is not too much.

up
Voting closed 0

Georgetowne is a low-density, spread out development nowhere near a train line or much of anything else. This is a compact aparment building right on top of a train line, at the edge of a business district.

up
Voting closed 0

And I like the transit oriented development part of this, but still, I don't see many people willing to haul over to Shaws or Stop & Shop (I'll be honest, I cannot rate the walk to Price Chopper or whatever it is called, though it cannot be closer) for their groceries. Therefore, I'm guessing 27 units is good.

Hyde Park is, in my mind, a suburban town that happens to be a part of Boston. Even more than West Roxbury, if you can believe it.

up
Voting closed 0

27 is enough. suburban HP? depends who you talk to: old timers think of this as a small town in the city (looking back); new timers more urban-minded (maybe looking forward), hence some of the friction over this development. It's a changing world in HP. WR: more uniformly suburban in my mind: maybe more like Newtonville than Roslindale. HP: maybe more like Mattapan than Roslindale? again, depends who you talk to...

HP has lots of challenges...I believe the community overcame one today.

up
Voting closed 0

One day, driving down Truman Parkway, the "townness" Hyde Park hit me. It probably comes from the fact that a lot of it was built out before annexation, but if you didn't know, you'd think it was not in Boston. To throw the race card out a little bit, it's a lot like Randolph. Of course, not exactly, as the mix (less Jews, more Italians, and a lot more examples) is different, and getting in town is that much easier. Still, gang squabbles involving Hyde Park have been played out at the South Shore Plaza- Braintree might also be a good town to compare Hyde Park to- which is not common for squabbles in other parts of town.

I cannot explain why I don't say the same for West Roxbury. Perhaps because the Centre Street commercial district reminds me of other parts of Boston, while I don't get that feel from Hyde Park Ave.

Still, it was a good day for the area.

up
Voting closed 0

I actually semi agree here that I no longer really care for these:

1) There should be commercial space, if things take off over there it will be pretty prime next to the rail/subway(DMU) stop for a cafe or something similar.

2) Removing parking the commuter rail stop is silly and hurts other residents not within walking distance.

3) I just hate the aesthetics of the building. Then again, I hated it before so it didn't really play into changing my mind :)

If they had addressed those I think it would have been perfect, and obviously, most of the other objections are sketchy at best if not outright BS. Anyone know what they are defining as affordable?

up
Voting closed 0

Sciaccia has also never been to Brighton, where there are loads of houses next to autobody shops. Also, one is far more likely to be hit by a car than by a train, but I bet he's never walked down Cambridge Street.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm mostly in favor of the developmet.

My one hesitation would be the pipe dream I had that Boston2024 would put some stuff there, making use of a somewhat sizeable parcel of actual vacant/unused land instead of throwing active commercial/industrial use out of their space (Widett Circle and probably a whole bunch of stuff along "Olympic Blvd") and disrupting/building upon "vacant" (that is to say - open space and parkland) that people actually use, such as Franklin Park.

The "Thomas M. Menino Memorial Olympic Velodrome" would be quite appropriate, methinks.

up
Voting closed 0