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Non-profit wins approval for 60 affordable apartments off VFW Parkway in West Roxbury

Update, 11/14: The BPDA board gave its OK today.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved plans by B'nai B'rith Housing New England for 60 affordable apartments in a building between VFW Parkway and Baker Street, to the rear of Savers.

The proposal now goes before the BPDA board this Thursday for final approval.

The board and the BPDA had previously approved a 60-unit condo project in two buildings at the site. Property owner Richard Olstein then agreed to sell the project to the non-profit group, based in Brighton.

Under revised plans submitted to the BPDA, B'nai B'rith says that 41 of the units would be rented to people making no more than 60% of the Boston area median income, with the rest rented to people making up to 100% of that amount (2019 area median income figures).

The new plans also show 60 parking spaces, rather than the 90 that Olstein won approval for. The number of one-bedrooms was increased and the number of two-bedrooms decreased, which means the project will have a total of 15 fewer bedrooms than under Olstein's proposal. B'nai B'rith said this was partly to help win funding from the city Department of Neighborhood Development for the units.

Project documents.



Suck it West Roxbury NIMBYs.


Build. Build more. But stop restricting housing development with ridiculous affordable housing regulations.


Working class people need housing. Do you think middle-aged men with engineering degrees want jobs pouring your Dunks coffee?


Yes, but every Yuppie dorm developers build is 60 more working class families that get to stay put in their triple deckers instead of being pushed out and made to move to these affordable housing complexes.

Build. Build more.*

* but not in my historic neighborhood of low rise housing for the rich.


Are you proposing we swap the Back Bay for the West End?

While I generally prefer density of 15-maybe 35 stories in the area - can you point to a development that I've actually fully opposed? Keep in mind - the 40-50 story buildings would be 20% smaller without the stupid affordable housing requirements.

You hide behind them to pretend you're not actively rooting for a more inequitable society.

Keep rooting for the robber barons and oligarchs. We'll keep fighting for our kids' futures.

for lack of a better term - social capitalism. Help those who can't help themselves - let the market determine most of the rest in the context of reasonable regulation.

As I've stated elsewhere - I'm a strong advocate of Michael Bloomberg - far from the right wing nuts you try to associate me with.

Must be hard for you to deal with a true moderate who can rationally challenge your flawed socialist worldview.


... the regulations, to help the community. You have a problem with that, Stevil?


Since when are middle class people a charity?

If we just zoned for and built market rate housing - the "problem" would take care of itself. All this limits profitability of development, restricting supply, driving up costs and actually making the real estate gazillionaires into multi-gazillionaires. But they dupe the liberals into thinking somehow this is "for the people" when in fact it's just lining their pockets (some of which goes to line the re-election funds of politicians).


Seems like to you it's poor people.


These are not for poor people. They are for middle class people. I didn't know the middle class was now a charitable cause.

And if you haven't been paying attention (which apparently you haven't because you didn't even read my post) - these policies - plus a few others like the residential exemption - are why middle class people can't afford to live here. The problem is that there are too many of PT Barnum's suckers that fall for this crap because their brain-dead politicians know people like it and tell them it's good for them.

Become a developer and show us how you'll make Boston a utopia then. We'll be waiting.

Do you read?

The developers aren't the problem. They just want to build profitable housing.

But the GOVERNMENT requires them to build a percentage of unprofitable housing - so due to zoning and other requirements, marginal projects don't get built, restricting supply and driving up costs. Then the GOVERNMENT tells you they are requiring even MORE "affordable" housing, restricting supply further and making prices higher.

And morons think this is a good idea so politicians like our mayor and city council just feed you more of it so that you vote for them.


I'm with Stevil the whole way. He speaks the truth. I'm a developer and between affordable housing requirements, a hot construction market, cost of construction materials due to trade wars, and lack of good reliable labor, it is really hard to make the numbers work. When you are asked by the City to provide 13%+ affordable units at a low area mean income, that money comes out of your pocket. Couple that with today's construction costs and most projects can't work at low density. The risks are so high. We do it for fun and the challenge, not for money.

Now I understand why nobody bothers to build any more housing in Boston these days.

They don't build enough. It's well known in development circles that many smaller developments could be 10-15% bigger, but because this generates the need for an additional affordable unit, those extra 1-3 units don't get built because that requires an extra unit of affordable. Plug in the cost of the affordable unit and the project moves from profitable to marginal or unprofitable and those units don't get built.

Unintended consequences...

But what about the "fun" and the "challenge"? LOL.

i'm not buying that part either - but the rest is valid

... meets the 60% AMI criteria. In 2016, that was $20,000 below middle class as defined for the Boston metropolitan area (Pew) https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/05/11/americas-shrinking-middle-cla...

Regardless, if the necessities to sustain life-- food, water, clothing, housing, and medicine-- are priced beyond someone's means, then who cares if they are labelled "middle class?"

$54k per year IS middle class. These are NOT for poor people - they are for middle class by definition. If the cut off is $54k for 2 people ($13.50 per hour if both are working) THAT is middle class, not poverty. What part of that don't you understand?

And the bottom line, as noted, is stupid policies like this do not lower prices. They make the problem worse - and people like you that don't understand basic economics perpetuate the problem.

...and adjusted rent isn't exactly charity, anyway. At the rate they'll charge, they could even see what would be a profit were this a business, just not as high as it would be if they charged more.

And there is no nationally applicable "middle class" income standard-- take a look at the Pew report.

Regulation can stabilize prices. An unregulated market doesn't necessarily lower prices.

This argument has occurred a dozen times on UHub and isn't worth rehashing, but the bottom line is that you, Stevil, buy subsidized and regulated food, and drink and wash in subsidized and regulated water, and you are much healthier than you would be were that not the case. Your food costs would more than double, your diet would change, and you would be ill more often, you'd have less money for all your other expenses.

When I see you on here fervently demanding to pay more for your tomatoes and corn because you don't want to receive a subsidy, or insisting that you want Dasani to fill your toilet tank so you can pay the market price, I'll listen to you.

That you begrudge people the same subsidies and care for their housing hat you take for granted with your food and water is a double standard.

You either never took econ 101 or you failed it.

There is very little middle anymore.

Let's see how you make do on that much money. I dare you.

Pension, healthcare, external savings or under the table income?

Or someone that has boatloads in trust and only takes out enough to qualify for these benefits (you might be surprised)?

How about the young people I work with that make this kind of money and forget to mention their rent paying roommate?

And bottom line, never said it's easy. That's kind of the point of trying to work more, harder, smarter so you don't have to live as a charity case.

And avoids altogether the point that with proper zoning and the elimination of this foolishness, the market will clear the excess demand in short order.

I’m a bleeding heart liberal and agree with this. If we get past soon to die NIMBY’s and build denser near transit neighborhoods like West Roxbury we’d make it less expensive to live and take care off the road. Oh not to mention have a less segregated city, which would allow us to have more neighborhood schools, which would keep families in the city...

"Transit neighborhood"

Once an hour commuter rail service that doesn't even run on the weekends, and a handful of buses that get stuck in commuters blowing through the neighborhood from dedham/westwood/norwood.

yeah real transit density there.

Orange Line Extension when, people, come on.

Not disagreeing with your main point, but the Needham Line does run on Saturdays now, and has for several years.