Vacant lot in Roslindale near Forest Hills could sprout apartments

Proposed building on Lochdale Road

Architect's rendering.

A developer filed formal plans with the BPDA this week for a four-story, 36-unit apartment building on Lochdale Road, off Washington Street.

In a rarity for a proposal served by numerous bus lines and a half-mile walk to a T stop, developer Owen Kiernan's filing never once uses the phrase "transit-oriented development." In fact, the proposal calls for more parking spaces than units - a total of 46, "in response to community concerns and requests for adequate on-site parking."

Kiernan has been working to transform the parcel since at least 2017, when he originally proposed a five-story, 42-unit building.

His $7-million proposal would include five affordable apartments. He hopes to begin construction late this year, with completion expected for early 2021.

In addition to the BPDA, the zoning board will also have to approve the proposal.

43 Lochdale Rd. small-project review application (21M PDF).

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Comments

Too Much Parking

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Too many parking spaces that close to a central transit hub. Nevermind all the bus routes on Washington St to get there. “Community concerns” is just code for NIMBYism.

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Voting closed 30

"Community concerns"

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Are community concerns. It's not that the neighbors don't want new housing in the area. Their concerns are with parking, which is something that comes up across the city. If you want MIMBYism, go put to 361 Belgrade Avenue. While there might be actual community concerns out there, there are people who just don't want the school being built.

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Voting closed 8

Nah

As Waquiot states, people are allowed to be concerned about developments in their immediate neighborhood. The city doesn't have to accommodate all of their requests of course. If you were a long time resident who has had their parking slashed thanks to the very useful (to other people) bus lane and were now looking at further competition for on street parking, you might raise an objection. In the long run, I suppose the answer is that the current resident who needs a car to get to work will simply have to be displaced and a new resident brought in who can use public transportation but let's not pretend it's not a bummer for the person getting displaced.

Now developments in 'downtown' Roslindale, that's where the NIMBYs come out in droves to cry about parking or low income housing or neighborhood character, etc... Gray beard progressives carrying on Dapper's legacy, that's our speciality here.

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Voting closed 8

Point of Order

There was a study of who was parking in the bus lane zone and when.

It wasn't neighborhood people, and it wasn't overnight.

Never mind that people can still park there during non-bus hours.

Sheesh.

More to the point, it was public parking (hence the results - commuters headed to the train station). It wasn't owned by the neighborhood, or individuals. That parking is owned by the city.

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Voting closed 17

Woosh

Again, I said it was a good idea. I think we can recognize that the bus lane was a great improvement to the flow on Washington St. while also recognizing that it had an impact on people who live down near Forrest Hills on streets where there is very, very little parking. So I'm sure there are folks who moved there 10 years ago who have jobs in places not served by public transport who lost out on this urban improvement. That's fine, life happens and we can't optimize the city for any specific person BUT let's not pretend they don't exist.

But go ahead, score your U-hub points talking in generalities.

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Voting closed 11

Talking in specifics

People can still park overnight.

The study analyzed that SPECIFIC area.

You are the one talking in generalities here, not me.

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Voting closed 10

Hard to justify this much

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Hard to justify this much parking this close to Forest Hilla when there are zero parking buildings getting approved in Roslindale Square, a mile walk from FH.

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Voting closed 12

Zoning - not NIMBY

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This is some fo the last land zoned as light industrial in Roslindale. The changes would need approval to re-zone the parcel at the very least from light industrial to residential or mixed.

The number of car slots actually is required under Roslindale zoning enacted a few years back... maybe 5-6 years or so ago, so this would fit current residential zoning. In fact the number of car slots may be less. Any changes will require a ZBA variance.

The abutting street, Kitson Rd is a private way and not a City of Boston street and access via that private way has questions regarding abutting rights since the building will not be addressed on that street. If you have ever been there it is a poorly maintained bumpy road and only used occasionally by vehicles that don't care about their under carriages.

Interesting that Kitson Rd. is not even listed in the City's private street directory suggesting that it is not even a registered street of any kind. That suggests that it is solely owned by abutters or even one private entity which may be Kinetic Systems which runs the whole length o that street. Indeed, is that wholly Kinetic's property? The abutters from available maps are the developer, Kinetic Systems, and Puritan Ice Cream which has an employee and customer parking lot that abuts the developer's land.

So before we get all up in arms to "kill the automobile" let's look at what the law and regulations actually says. Laws are changed by the legislative and zoning as a city process, not by popular demand or philosophical bent, as so many people seem to think these days. Why don't they teach this in school?

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Voting closed 6

No zoning change needed

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All that's needed is for the ZBA to grant a variance. Well, in this case, several variances, because they have some violations in addition to the simple zoning - like the requirement that a building of this size get 50 parking spaces, not 46. But the zoning code seems more a set of guidelines these days than something that is set in stone and cannot ever be overridden.

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Voting closed 9

The Roslindale zoning code is

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The Roslindale zoning code is over a decade old at this point and was completed before the Great Recession and then building boom during the recovery. Like the zoning code in most parts of the city, it is outdated to our current housing needs and should be dramatically revamped instead of treated like some sacred text.

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Voting closed 14

Sacred Text? No... Will of the People!

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For those that are not aware... the zoning changes that went in for the Roslindale area of the city was a multi-year process that engaged city government aided by a zoning specialist company, but which was also a process that engaged the people of Roslindale in various public meetings (many) and also established working committees of residents and business owners. Roslindale was one of the last communities in Boston that went through such a process in recent times.

So to be clear, this was not something imposed by the city or state, but a process that the people of Roslindale specifically asked for, participated-in, and negotiated to what is now on paper.

The objective of the revised zoning was to improve residential and business development as time moved forward, and to also preserve the character of Roslindale that makes it a desirable place to live. While latitude was granted for some types of buildings as a matter of "grandfathering" before new zoning came in, the rules moving forward with a new vision was created that the PEOPLE participated-in, and agreed-upon. This was then formalized by city government and also at appropriate state levels.

The process took several years to discuss, negotiate, and implement. Any changes would take at least the same amount of time since the process for this is codified.

That said... if any recent development in Roslindale is an example of how Roslindale will soon look, then it's "quirky" nature is about to be short-lived. Further, all new development has been rapidly raising rents to apartments and business at a staggering pace. This is forcing the good working class and low-income people of Roslindale to places elsewhere. As to "mom & pop small business" that seems so desirable... well pretty soon mom & pop won't be able to afford it and only big box business will be able to afford occupancy. So much for that vision.

So regardless of the opinions of newbies, the Roslindale Zoning was a clear-cut process by the people that needs to be respected and upheld as much as possible.

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Voting closed 5

Anti-change

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and to also preserve the character of Roslindale that makes it a desirable place to live

And buried in all those words, there's the tell on what really was/is at play here - anti-change forces. You cannot stop change whether you want to or not. Zoning should not be something that is static and unchanged with time. What made sense ten years ago does not make sense now when we have to ramp up housing production to keep pace with the demand of people wanting to live here. To call that process "the will of the people" is also fairly questionable - it's well known and documented that neighborhood meetings, especially about development, are highly unrepresentative of the actual community demographically. I am familiar with that process and it was mostly people who did not want change involved, as you admirably admit to above. The promulgated zoning made illegal almost all existing housing in the neighborhood and forces people to make space for two vehicles per household, when the majority there own one or no vehicles per home. I could go on and on but if it's the "will of the people," then it's an unrepresentative subsection of people.

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Voting closed 9

That’s funny

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I’ve been in Roslindale approaching 50 years, and I’ve seen a lot of change, but I can’t say that Roslindale has changed enough since the last rezoning to merit more changes.

That said, as others said, be careful what you wish for when opening up that box. I would imagine that the people of Lower Washington Street wouldn’t be too keen on allowing more housing without more off street parking.

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Voting closed 2

But they're friendly ghosts

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Just look at how happy the couple by the fire hydrant is. I hope that when I'm a ghost I'm half as happy.

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Voting closed 5

Not enough affordable units

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Definitely not enough affordable units and I wonder how high the rent will be in the rest of the units....

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Voting closed 3

If you want more affordable

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If you want more affordable units, seek a bigger project and you’ll get more. But instead “community concerns” have brought a smaler project with too much parking. You cannot have all these things at once.

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Voting closed 4

The rent in the rest of the building will be

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Market rate.

That's how the rental business goes. You charge in rent what the market will bear. If the rental market tanks between now and when the building opens, rent might be $1200 a month for a 2 bedroom. Or it could be $3000.

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Voting closed 1