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Nobody squawks as board approves new single-family homes in West Roxbury's bird neighborhood

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved plans for 29 new single-family homes at the end of a West Roxbury section where many of the streets are named for birds.

CAD Builders has proposed what will feel like a suburban subdivision in Boston's most suburban neighborhood: Each home will be about 2,600 square feet with four bedrooms and either a one- or two-car garage. They'll mostly be nestled on two new streets to be named Starling Street and Toucan Road. The streets will fly off of Willet Street, currently a mostly unimproved path off Washington Street just outbound from Heron Street.

"That's pretty unusual," zoning-board member Mark Ehrlich said of the fact that CAD was able to find so much undeveloped private land in Boston on which to put so many single-family homes.

Chris Tracy, who represents CAD and who said the Boston Public Improvement Commission has already approved the layout of the two new streets, said the names came to the company's owners after some time spent Googling bird names. He said that one of the owners just really liked the sound of Starling and Toucan and so the company went with those, even though toucans rarely visit West Roxbury, except on the side of cereal boxes meant for kids with heavy sugar needs.

In addition to the homes and streets, CDA will also build two pedestrian paths, one connecting residents to Washington Street, the other intended as a cut through for birders, hikers and the like to and from Roxbury Latin's wooded land to the north of Eagle Street.

The mayor's office and aides for city councilors Matt O'Malley and Michael Flaherty spoke in favor of the proposal at the zoning hearing. Nobody spoke against.

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Comments

We have a housing crisis but the city is green lighting 2,600 square foot homes. Are you kidding me?

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The city is experiencing a building boom of highrises. You have many to choose from for your new construction desires. Not all neighborhoods have to be densely packed blocks with no space for kids to play outdoors.

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How about duplexes? How about townhomes?

Greater LA including Anaheim, etc... has a population density the same as Boston proper. However if you compare greater LA vs. greater Boston, there are 8 million (!) more people living in that same area.

So, it's not the city, it's the suburbs. We don't need to turn Boston into Hong Kong so the fine folks in Newton, Brookline, can only have single family and low rise housing with leafy streets.

You realize that the vast majority of Brookline residents live in multifamily housing, right? It's true, there are pockets of big fancy single family homes in North Brookline (Cottage Farm, Longwood Mall, Pill Hill) and certainly lots of open space in South Brookline between single family homes... but most people in Brookline share a wall with a neighbor.

Hint: stroll down Beacon Street. Or Harvard. Or Longwood. Or St. Paul. Or Pleasant. And the detatched homes -- the vast majority in North Brookline are 2 and 3 families, sometimes with an extra apartment.

For the Densification Doofus' to start whining. Not everyone who wants to live in the City can live here. Single family residences are better for the environment. Less people, less cars, less trash, less mouths to feed, less utilities used and more green space.

Single family homes:
* consume more energy per square foot and per occupant
* require more transportation per occupant, either private (auto) or mass transit (more miles of bus routes/tracks)
* require more land that is removed from our ecosystem -- fertilized lawns and ornamental trees do not replicate the forests, grasslands, wetlands, or other ecosystems levelized to make suburbs

The people who don't live in your suburb don't just disappear -- they go make another one, and another, and another, sprawling across Eastern Mass.

Single family homes are absolutely not better for the environment than multi-family residences on the same amount of land.

Single family residences are better for the environment.

I don't know where you heard that, but single family houses cause longer commutes, more expenditure of resources per unit (think heating, cooling) and excessive and wasteful service use.

Good lord you are the Doofus here!

You do know that when you use more land to house people, you destroy more of this environment you allege to love, yeah? No? Okay.

The permits were in the bag. no one cares what the neighbors think or say. Even if the permitted new house needs variances they permit is issued and the neighbors have to chase it down and threaten to sue. The whole thing is a joke. Just look at the new construction on Baker and Cass st. tell me those lots are anywhere near conforming.