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Highland Park residents oppose plans for new Dunkin' Donuts

America runs on Dunkin’? Not in Highland Park, residents say.

Community members will meet Wednesday night to discuss their opposition to a city designation with plans to build a new Dunkin’ Donuts in the neighborhood, despite previous public feedback against the project.

Last year, the Department of Neighborhood Development called for proposals to renovate seven vacant lots near Bartlett and Washington Streets in Roxbury. In May, residents were invited to a community meeting to discuss the three final proposals for the Archer Bonell site, and left under the impression that their feedback would weigh into the final decision.

In August, they were shocked to learn that the department had partnered with Waldwin Development Group even after the community voiced many complaints against their proposal. The proposal included a four-story building with upper floor market rate apartments and two commercial spaces on the ground floor, one of which would be reserved for the Dunkin' Donuts.

“The opposition for this plan pretty much boils down to the idea that the city had asked us for engagement around input to shape who they would eventually pick,” said Rodney Singleton, the co-chair of the Highland Park Project Review Committee. “We did so and you can see that through the coUrbanize site. And overwhelmingly, if you look at those comments, you can see there are clear winners, and the folks that they chose were dead last.”

During the public comment period of the process, the DND asked residents to share their concerns through the coUrbanize portal on their website. Out of 22 responses, 12 individuals designated Mainline Development Group as their number one choice. None of the 22 responses were in favor of Waldwin Development, and four shared direct concerns with the company without picking an alternative.

In their proposal, Waldwin Development said they already granted one of the two commercial spaces to the new Dunkin’ Donuts, which will be owned and operated by The Waldwin Group themselves. The development company said their plan would provide many temporary construction jobs for local and minority employees, as well as around 75 permanent jobs in the area.

However, many residents are concerned with the idea of welcoming an unhealthy fast food franchise into a neighborhood with a strong emphasis on local business. Some noted that although the company is promising 75 new jobs, many of those will be through Dunkin’ Donuts, where employees will earn non-living wages. This is in stark contrast with the apartments above, which have estimated to go for roughly $2000 per month.

Many residents favored Mainline Development’s proposal, whose energy-efficient building would include 27 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms — 13 of which would be reserved as affordable units. The proposal also included ground-level commercial space for local or new businesses with the possibility of office space for freelancers.

Bernard Mayo, who is listed as the DND’s project manager for the site, could not be reached for comment or clarification into the designation process.

“This is classic city of Boston,” Singleton said. “The decision is pretty much arbitrary.”

One resident used the coUrbanize portal to express their frustrations after Waldwin Development won the bid, questioning the impact of community input.

“What is the point of our feedback if not one person from the community supported the Waldwin project that was ultimately chosen?” the user, identified only as C Perrin, said. “How exactly does this forum serve our community??”

Kaidi Grant, a local activist and the co-founder of the John Eliot Square Neighborhood Association, has made it her mission to fight the project. Last week, she started a petition that has since gained over 100 online signatures and nearly 75 paper signatures against Waldwin Development’s proposal. Grant said she hopes to reach 500 signatures by Wednesday’s meeting.

Earlier last week Grant lined the fence surrounding the Archer Bonell site with chalkboard tape and invited residents to write what they’d like to see come in the area. By the next day, each piece of tape was full with ideas that contradicted the current bid.

“We are very pro-development,” she said. “We just want the right development. We’re opposed to having a low-end franchise that would not support our vision to see local business. We want to see art galleries and incubators… home working spaces… opportunities for the Roxbury stakeholder and residents. We need businesses that are able to lend a quality of life that is healthy and that would be dedicated to ensuring that Roxburians, generationally, can stay here. This particular designation did not have any due process with the neighborhood.”

Grant said that following the meeting, the community group will recommend the DND reconsider the proposal and exclude any fast food franchises from future bids. However, should the DND refuse, Grant said residents are ready to boycott and protest the decision, and will even seek legal action if necessary.

“We’re not playing around,” she said. “This is going to set the precedent for any future development within Highland Park. We will not move forward without the city standing by their guiding principles to be transparent and to listen to the desires of the neighborhood. And this will hopefully be a victory for Roxbury as a whole. That’s the goal here — how do residents change narrative and how do we respect the voice of the community.”

The John Eliot Square Neighborhood Association will host an information meeting about the project on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 6:00 p.m. at the B2 Area Police Station.

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Do you know the difference? between the Zoning Board? also called Board of Appeal? http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=180
http://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/building/appeal.asp

and the Zoning Commission?
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=21
http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/zoning/zoning-commission

City of Boston
Boards & Commissions
Select a Board or Commission from the drop down list provided.
Policy Area:
Board:
Department: Zoning Board of Appeals
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=180
Contact: Derric Small derric.small at boston.gov
Email: zba at cityofboston.gov
Authority: City
Term: 3
Stipend: $0.00
Seats: 7 [ 8 listed? ]
View the Enabling Legislation
http://archives.lib.state.ma.us/actsResolves/1993/1993acts0461.pdf
Member Appointed Expires Status
1) Christine Araujo 7/23/2012 7/1/2015 Active Flag
2) Bruce Bickerstaff 7/23/2012 7/1/2015 Active Flag
3) Peter Chin 7/23/2012 7/1/2015 Active Flag
4) Mark Erlich 9/6/2013 9/1/2016 Active
5) Mark Fortune 4/23/2012 6/1/2015 Active Flag
6) Tyrone Kindell Jr. 10/24/2014 10/1/2016 Active
7) Kerry Walsh Logue 11/10/2014 11/1/2016 Active
8) Anthony Pisani 7/23/2012 7/1/2015 Active
Apply for the Zoning Board of Appeals Board
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/application/apply.aspx?...

City of Boston
Boards & Commissions
Select a Board or Commission from the drop down list provided.
Policy Area:
Board:
Department: Zoning Commission
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=21
http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/zoning/zoning-commission
Contact: Jeff Hampton jeffrey.hampton at boston.gov
Email: ZC at cityofboston.gov
Authority: City
Term: 3 years
Stipend: $0.00
Seats: 11
serves as the legislative body for adoption of all Boston’s zoning regulations and amendments.
View the Enabling Legislation
http://archives.lib.state.ma.us/actsResolves/1993/1993acts0461.pdf
Member Appointed Expires Status
1) Nelson Arroyo 12/3/2001 5/1/2004 Active Flag
2) Jane Brayton 12/3/2001 4/23/2005 Active Flag
3) James Clark Active
4) Robert Fondren Active
5) Jill Hatton Active
6) Jay Hurley 5/21/2001 5/1/2004 Active Flag
7) David Marr 5/5/2008 5/1/2011 Active Flag
8) John McDonnell 10/5/2010 11/1/2012 Active Flag
9) Michael Miles 10/5/2010 10/1/2012 Active Flag
10) Olivia Waishek 10/5/2010 10/1/2012 Active Flag
11) Jared Wollaston 5/22/2012 11/1/2014 member
Apply for the Zoning Commission Board
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/application/apply.aspx?...

BOSTON ZONING COMMISSION
http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/zoning/zoning-commission
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/default.aspx?boardid=21
Name Organization
7) Mr. David Marr Building Trade Employers' Association
4) Mr. Robert L. Fondren, Chairman Boston Society of Architects
6) Mr. Jay Hurley Greater Boston Massachusetts Labor Council AFL-CIO
2) Ms. Jane Cooper Brayton Neighborhood Representative – Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood
9) Mr. Michael Miles Neighborhood Representative – Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee
3) Mr. James C. Clark, Vice-Chairman Mayor's Selection - Homeowner
11) Jared Wollaston Greater Boston Real Estate Board
10) Ms. Olivia Waishek Neighborhood Representative – West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association
5) Ms. Jill Hatton Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
8) Mr. John McDonnell Mayor’s Selection
1) Mr. John M. Arroyo Mayor’s Selection

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what

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God forbid you have a business that gets people's ass in gear.

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Surely you mean, "enlarge people's asses" because nothing says get in gear like empty calories and shitty weak coffee!

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!

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If this was in a rich, upper-class neighborhood, you'd be calling this what it is: "Not in my back yard" whining.

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The difference is that residents support building something on the site, so no NIMBYism, but the neighborhood group backed plans that did not include a Dunkin' Donuts outlet.

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I live on the opposite end of Fort Hill, and I have mixed feelings. This neighborhood doesn't have a lot of options as far as retail goes. There aren't restaurants, coffee shops; there is no shopping of any kind. There's nothing but housing and vacant lots until you get to Dudley on one end, or well into Brigham Circle or Jackson Square on the other ends. And I have mentioned more than once my frustration with the Jackson Square redevelopment plan and their lack of flexibility---hence why tens of thousands of square feet of retail space is still sitting vacant there as they build more that they can't fill. I just want to see my neighborhood actually become more of a neighborhood and less of the sleeper community that it currently is. If that means making a few allowances for a couple of chains at first, then so be it. I'd rather have a Dunkin Donuts or a Starbucks or a Tasty Burger (a local chain: the owners were turned down at 225 Centre because "no chains allowed") than nothing at all.

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valid point, however another main point of contention is that there is already a Dunkins ONE block away.

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Maybe the residents want to become rich and upper crust. I'm all in favor.

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Eat a dozen doughnuts every day and you will be fine.

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If not a DD, it'll be a nail shop or hair braider, so just get on with it one way or another. What, are they expecting start-up refugees fleeing costly business space in Kendall Square?

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In May, residents were invited to a community meeting to discuss the three final proposals for the Archer Bonell site, and left under the impression that their feedback would weigh into the final decision.

If people had that impression, they are fools. My experience with these meetings are that they held strictly for PR reasons. The developer has absolutely no intention of listening to other ideas. Yes, they may reduce the number of units, alter the floorspace a bit, etc., but that was in the plan the whole time. Again, strictly PR.

We are very pro-development,” she said. “We just want the right development. We’re opposed to having a low-end franchise that would not support our vision to see local business. We want to see art galleries and incubators… home working spaces… opportunities for the Roxbury stakeholder and residents.

Reality check. You're dreaming. Do you really think art galleries are going to pay the rent?

The bottom line is that the developer is the one putting up the cash for the development, and he needs tenants to pay the rent. Cute little galleries, artisanal olive oil shops, pastry shops, etc. are all very nice, but when it comes to laying out a hunk of cash, the developer/investor wants someone that's going to be around and pay the rent.

We're going thru a similar situation in my town right now. We lost our fantastic local supermarket, and CVS surreptitiously took the space. There's a group trying to block CVS and demanding that something else go in the space - like a small market, etc. I certainly don't want CVS moving in right across the street from our local drug store who successfully sued CVS for other reasons only about a year ago. But I'm not delusional enough to think that I have ultimate veto power over what some developer plans to put into a property worth >$2MM. If/When CVS moves in, I'll simply not patronize the place.

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Cute little galleries, artisanal olive oil shops, pastry shops, etc. are all very nice,

Not to mention businesses like those require a certain amount of gentrification to be financially solvent. But they don't want expensive apartments going in above the commercial? People who pay 2k for an apartment are the kind of people patronizing this art gallery they want.

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Why would anyone accept a proposal to build 27 apartments, with half of them affordable? That leaves $2 million on the table.

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I'm sure that is just what this neighborhood needs.

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What's the address of the parcel?

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This ?
Plans filed, community meeting set for Bartlett Yard project in Roxbury

Almost three-years after the massive Bartlett Yard property in Roxbury was purchased by the Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation, the group will begin the public process to develop the site.

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/roxbury/2013/03/hold_plans_filed_and...

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FYI regarding the post by Kvn - the link is to a 2013 article about the permitting for Bartlett Yard, In 2015 we began construction, starting with demolition, environmental cleanup, which are both now complete. The first new buildings start to go up in early 2016. Look for mixed-income apartments and a new local cooperatively owned grocery store and for-sale homes. Coming soon after - a mixed-used building with over 20,000 SF for local retail businesses and other uses promoting local wealth and health.

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