May 2017 FOAW Coalition Update

This post provides an update on the pending 64 Allandale lawsuit and news of events and issues related to Allandale Woods and the Allandale area, as mailed to the Allandale Coalition mailing list.  For more information contact the Coalition directly: thefoawcoalition@gmail.com

Highlights:
- September 7, 2017 hearing date now set for City of Boston Motion to Dismiss
- Residents motion to consolidate residents' and Springhouse cases pending; City does not object; 
Springhouse has yet to respond .
Other Issues: 
- Natural resource analysis for Allandale area property submitted to Boston Conservation Commission via "Request for Determination of Applicability"
- 90 Allandale and 1225 Centre future development remains pending


Details:

1. 64 Allandale
A hearing on the City of Boston Motion to Dismiss residents' lawsuit has been set for Thursday, September 7, 2017.  Link to the Notice : http://bit.ly/2qGFjfy

City argues that residents lack standing to bring the case and that approvals of the 18-unit luxury housing development do not constitute spot zoning. Links to the City's Motion and residents' response are provided below. This is not a hearing on the underlying issues of City project approval, but only on the City's Motion to Dismiss.

Links to all case materials thus far:

Residents initial complaint : http://bit.ly/2ofbIXR
Springhouse initial complaint : http://bit.ly/2nMLxvY
City's Motion to Dismiss : http://bit.ly/2oeRzku
Developer Answer to complaint: http://bit.ly/2pUIhA4
Residents Reply Memorandum: http://bit.ly/2qhd3Q4
Residents Motion to Consolidate (as prepared): http://bit.ly/2rbrBB9
Residents Memorandum in Support of Motion to Consolidate (as prepared) : http://bit.ly/2rabNh4
Court Notice of Hearing: http://bit.ly/2qGFjfy

2. Lawsuit Fundraising
Thanks to all who have contributed thus far and to Allandale Farm for its support and Kelleher's Bar and Grille for hosting our kickoff event. Donations are still welcome during the interim period; checks may be made out to "The FOAW Coalition"; all are encouraged to visit the Farm and Kelleher's throughout the summer.

FOAW Coalition
100B Allandale Street
Jamaica Plain MA 02130

Comments or questions on the effort are welcome; updates will be provided as events proceed.  

3. Related Allandale Developments

90 Allandale
90 Allandale, a two acre site adjacent to 64 and Allandale conservation land, is being marketed by a private offering. This site will likely be evaluated by investors as a potential luxury housing development site with density beyond that allowed by the existing community plan. The listing agent asked that offers be submitted by April 27, 2017. 

As of Friday May 19 there is no indication that acceptable offers have been submitted. While prevailing opinion is that purchase for development is unlikely while the 64 Allandale case remains unresolved, possibility remains that a speculative developer might move forward with the property.

Investigation of Allandale Natural Resources

Following up examination of natural resources begun during the 64 Allandale process, the City's wetland consultant investigated possible water flow connections at City conservation land and the bordering residential property.
The investigation included a "dye test" whereby benign green coloring was introduced at an up-gradient location and downstream observation points monitored to determine whether connections exist as evidenced by appearance of the dye.

Link to full package of material submitted to Conservation Commission as a "Request for Determination of Applicability" : http://bit.ly/2qDjKhU
Reply of land planning firm retained by 90 Allandale : http://bit.ly/2rALkdH

The Conservation Commission hearing on the "Request for Determination" will be in June; hearing date not yet confirmed.


1225 Centre Street.

15+ Variances Sought for 8 Units; No Abutter Meeting Yet Scheduled by Mayor Walsh's Office 

1225 is the former gas station site between Sophia Snow and the Spaulding building. Now vacant, this small parcel is an especially significant property for Allandale Woods as it includes wetlands and borders a vernal pool. 

A proposal for 8 housing units has been filed with the City. The proposal requires multiple zoning variances and Development Authority, Conservation Commission and Parks Department approvals.  We calculate that no more than 1 unit may be built on the property under the existing "Conservation Protection District" guidelines. We will provide updates as the City process moves forward.
 

4. Events. Other Updates. 

While many are familiar with the history of properties along Allandale, it's useful to recall that present-day Allandale Condominiums and Springhouse Senior Living were successfully developed only after lengthy and at times contentious negotiation and the rejection of initial proposals. 
The basic principles that guided past development and preservation decisions along Allandale remain true today.
Those involved held firm to baseline requirements - site-appropriate design, landscaped buffer areas and year-round screening, sensible, safe entry/exits and substantial designations for public conservation land - which have endured over time, retaining Allandale's unique qualities while providing for reasonable growth and private use of property.
Importantly, these successful developments were carried out via comprehensive and binding planning agreements rather than the spot-zoning and the "trust me" approach we have seen with 64.
Finally, emerging awareness of the value of walkable / bikeable communities, of directing density closer to transit and at blighted or underused sites, furthering affordable / workforce housing while protecting biodiversity and natural resources strengthen the rationale for appropriate development near and along Allandale and elsewhere.