Hey, there! Log in / Register

Nearby residents sue to try to block rural West Roxbury development, in part because it may not be as eco-friendly as the developer once claimed

Allandale Residences rendering

Rendering by Merge Architects.

Two residents of leafy Allandale Street last week sued the BPDA for its approval of a contentious 16-unit townhouse development next to Allandale Woods, accusing the agency of violating Boston's own requirements for approving the project and ignoring concerns by the city parks department about the potential impact on the woods.

Both the BPDA and the Zoning Board of Appeal approved an 18-unit development on two acres at 64 Allandale St. in 2016 - four units in an existing farmhouse on the site and sixteen new townhouses, in what was hailed as the city's first "net zero" development - a project that would not require a net flow of energy from the local utility grids. The BPDA later approved a reduction in size to 16 units.

Earlier this year, developer, WonderGroup, LLC, asked the BPDA to approve another change - the total number of units would remain the same, but their configuration would change - and the project would no longer have to be built as "net zero."

In their lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Allandale Street residents Jacqueline Lees and Elizabeth Bowen Donovan charge the BPDA should never have approved the "notice of project change" in a process meant for relatively minor changes, because, in fact, the configuration would mean significant changes, which would require a whole new public-review process.

They pointed in part to detailed comments on the revised plans by Boston Parks and Recreation, which urged that two units closest to the woods either be eliminated or moved elsewhere on the site, because of their potential direct impact on wetlands in the woods and on the unique wooded vistas for visitors to the roughly 100-acre Allandale Woods, "the City’s largest and most ecologically-significant, permanently-protected natural area."

Parks and Recreation also urged the BPDA to require WonderGroup to put in a small fenced in dog park for residents, to keep their pets from running off leash into the woods and killing any small animals they come across in what the department considers "a critical wildlife habitat."

Lees and Donovan also argue the project requires a complete new review because the original review, in 2016, was before Brigham and Women's Hospital across the street submitted its own plans for a major expansion and before another developer began looking at building an eight-unit townhouse development right next to 64 Allandale, at 90 Allandale.

And at a time of deepening concern over climate change, WonderGroup's request to replace the "net-zero" requirement with a promise to meet all applicable city codes - which do not require no new energy use from new developments - also warrants a new review, they say.

Lees and Donovan were among the residents who sued over the original 2016 cases in a suit that was dismissed by a judge in Suffolk Superior Court. They were in the process of filing an appeal of that ruling when WonderGroup submitted its plans for a smaller, but still energy-neutral project and they agreed to withdraw their appeal.

Complete complaint (1.25M PDF).
Boston Parks and Recreation concerns (951k PDF).
WonderGroup request for project change (23.8M PDF, includes renderings).
BPDA board approval of the revised plan (1.2M PDF).

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

I'll be amazed if this ever gets built in any configuration.

(And what the heck does it matter to this project if The Faulker is making changes across the road?)

up
11

Faulkner's expecting more traffic due to its expanded programs, some of which might be expected to come down the narrow Allandale Street.

up
20

If The Faulkner adds 500 spaces, the 16 extra cars a day from this development will not even register on any scale.

up
25

is adding 500 new parking spaces along with a second entry/exit driveway on Allandale St. to the new garage.

eeeewewwwwwww. gross. Put the density near the subway stations so we can have a little open space left over

up
21

500 is a HUGE number. It's weird that West Roxbury isn't coming out full force to block this the way they have with the Centre St road diet.

up
19

I think the road diet people assume traffic is terrible everywhere so they have to take their cars, so this is fine. However, if you can't drive to and park in front of the Real Deal or the like, you are a victim of woke culture.

up
14

People are up in arms about a school (Roxbury Prep/361 Belgrade) going in because “traffic”, but 5 mins away 500 extra parking spots are going in at the Faulkner and there isn’t equally as strong pushback?

up
18

Maybe it wasn’t about traffic after all?

up
41

I'm kind of digressing a little bit here, but does anybody know if anything else is happening with the Centre Street road diet? I'm really hoping it didn't get shelved because of a few loud cranks. It would make the neighborhood a lot safer and more liveable and according to polling it's overwhelmingly favored by the neighborhood.

Walsh couldn't run away from it fast enough.

up
11

Bummer.

Did they see what is going on HP with the development in the woods and say we can do that too?

Came out in 2016. Also way, way smaller than the Hyde Park proposal (14 units on two acres vs. 240 on 14 acres).

up
13

This is one where the project sucks and so do the NIMBY neighbors fighting it

up
22