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Dorchester apartment building aimed at homeless families rejected over parking concerns

Proposed rendering of Wales Street building

Board says: No way.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today rejected a proposal by the non-profit Heading Home to replace a crumbling 10-unit apartment building at 37 Wales St. in Dorchester with 23 new apartments rented to families trying to get out of homelessness.

Heading Home had proposed a building with no parking spaces for residents; the current building has ten. "Most clients don't have cars," Heading Home CEO Danielle Ferrier told the board. Residents would be "transitioning out of homelessness" and allowed to earn no more than 30% of the Boston-area median income.

But that stuck in the craw of neighbors, who said they didn't believe the new residents wouldn't promptly fill up the already parking-short Wales Street with cars.

"They're trying to shove this down our throats," one resident said. "From 10 [units] to 23 is crazy."

Residents also cited flooding issues caused by failing retaining walls at the site.

In addressing Heading Home, board Chairwoman Christine Araujo only cited the parking in calling on the group to try to work out the issue with neighbors: "Obviously, there are issues that should be addressed," she said.

Board member Mark Erlich agreed that "10 to 23 is a big jump" and moved to reject the proposal - which the BPDA board had approved in January - without prejudice. The board then voted 6-1 for that - which means Heading Home can file new plans in less than a year.

Video of the hearing:

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Comments

...aka 'We don't want those sorts of people around here.'

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Voting closed 133

Excellent proof that Boston drivers are selfish and classist. They would rather someone die on the streets than take up one of “their” parking spaces.

Let them know what you think. https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-araujo-64060311

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Voting closed 22

We all realize that "parking concerns" is just "we don't want these people around here", but it's still incredible to me that the Zoning Board is willing to let "we value people's ability to store private property on public land over the well-being of our citizens" be the go-to excuse for this.

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Voting closed 103

... hoard all the free on street parking for themselves. Some of them probably even have driveways and garages but are too lazy to use them. I say eliminate all on street parking on Wales Street and widen the sidewalks.
Best of luck to Heading Home when refiling the plans. Boston needs more development like this.

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Voting closed 95

MY GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO PARK MY CAR WHEREVER I WANT IS MORE IMPORTANT

/snark

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Voting closed 63

Like always, the anti-car league is angry that residents don’t want something in THEIR neighborhood. Hahaha! Y’all are too funny.

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Voting closed 21

OK! This is the opportunity to put this, say, on Pondside in JP? Because obviously this would be a pure delight with no problems for the neighbors who have, presumably, set down some kind of roots in the area that they call home. But it's Dorchester, so why shouldn't they want just whatever on their street. Every one of you should be begging to have this on your street.

I mean, obviously parking is a ruse.

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Voting closed 38

Periodt!

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Voting closed 5

I'm happy to donate all the land I own in the city of Boston to this goal.

That said, I don't think the fact that I don't own any land in the city of Boston should preclude me or anyone else from having a voice on this. Unless we're declaring that only the wealthy get to decide what gets built (well, at least, declare it more openly than we already are, that is).

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Voting closed 22

Jamaica Plain has a ton of housing for the needy. Try again.

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Voting closed 10

Not Jamaica Plain.

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Voting closed 13

Not Jamaica Plain.

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Voting closed 8

The things that are yours end at your property line.

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Voting closed 38

Defend zoning laws to me again, because they're precisely how we ended up with this smokescreen cudgel of abuse that will keep the homeless homeless.

See also: Immigration laws, the War on Drugs

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Voting closed 42

“10 to 23 is a big jump" - Mark Erlich

Actually, it’s an increase of 13 housing units for families that, unlike yourself, have NO PLACE TO LIVE.

Shame on Christine Araujo and the Zoning Board of Appeal. I hope the Mayor appoints individuals who will speed affordable housing with a fraction of expediency of development that pollutes Boston’s overbuilt waterfront and Fenway. Parking seemed to be of little or no concern to the Zoning Board of Appeal in those “neighborhoods.”

Of course, we know of the insider trading that has taken place with luxury housing in this city and the Zoning Board of Appeal.

Disgusting.

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Voting closed 38

Remind me. How many homeless people have cars again?

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Voting closed 15

There are homeless people who have jobs. There are homeless families. Don't think that all homeless people are living literally in the streets. Some are couch surfing, some are in shelters, some are living in their cars. Some have jobs they can only get to by driving.

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Voting closed 28

that homeless people don’t have cars. Restricting car ownership and parking, in the city, is some people’s way of restricting the lower class and working people. A new form of bigotry and convince me it’s not.

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Voting closed 22

but were I homeless with a car, I'd take somewhere to live (and have to figure out parking myself) over having easy parking but no home.

And regardless, parking spaces are public property. If you want a parking space allocated to your specific property, you should buy or rent a place that has its own private parking area.

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Voting closed 20

What if that individual relies on their vehicle to get to work?

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Voting closed 13

Or they need to stop hoarding publicly owned resources.

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Voting closed 12

No kidding.

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Voting closed 8

...the same way the rest of us do. I guess it's possible you could construct a scenario where there's a homeless person who needs a car for their job and also needs to be able to park that car directly in front of wherever they live etc, but that seems rare enough to me to not be something to make larger construction decisions around (and in any case, seems like a problem that would be better solved by adding handicapped spaces to the street, rather than refusing to build homeless shelters that don't have parking spaces).

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Voting closed 12

So true!

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Voting closed 9

They don't have residential parking signs.

But that flooding thing could be a big deal.

Although with the salvation army site there, I don't you can claim the resident's are afraid of those people.

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Voting closed 12

They don't have residential parking signs.

If one looks at each past street view going back to 2007, it looks like they don't need them there either. There are plenty of on street spaces there already, even if every apartment in the proposed building had one car. Looks like a huge red herring.

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Voting closed 24

surely that's a problem that could have been fixed during construction, but now won't be.

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Voting closed 8

How does that apply if this is built? I see no large bodies of water around and it looks like it's in the middle of a hill.

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Voting closed 12