NUBE Letter to BRA on New Street Development

Publication Date:July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014 

Casey Hines,
Project Assistant
Boston Redevelopment Authority
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Dear Mrs. Hines:

Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE), a multi-ethnic, community based organization is writing to express our concerns in regards to the proposed New Street Development project located 6-26 New Street. The project contains approximately 250 studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom residential units, as well as commercial space which developers anticipate it to be restaurant. NUBE is extremely concerned about the future of East Boston, because projects similar to New Street have been approved and developing across our neighborhood will have a serious impact on the makeup of our community for generations to come. We are concerned that the interest of the current community is not fully reflective and that the BRA does not have mechanism in place to ensure that East Boston will receive the maximum benefits from East Boston Waterfront Development. 

As an organization that advocates for the inclusion of all East Boston residents, we are particularly concerned with the latest revelations from the KPMG audit on the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s that indicated, the agency is “less efficient, responsive, and accountable to the public than it should be.” Considering that these projects were approved 10-15 years ago, it is imperative that there be a thorough and inclusive process on waterfront development projects. For the past five years, NUBE has not seen a reevaluation or robust inclusive community process to assess these projects based on current neighborhood needs. That is why we believe that there needs to be a halt of all East Boston economic development projects until the there is an inclusive community process that institutes an enforceable Community Benefits Agreements that reflects the current community needs. We anticipate that this will begin the process of restoring confidence in the City of Boston economic development process while ensuring what we are building today is reflective of all of the community’s current priorities and infrastructure needs.

In the immediate, we demand that all East Boston Waterfront proposed development reconvene in a community process with all stakeholders, including neighborhood-based groups that are reflective of the a majority of the neighborhood and must include the families that reside in Maverick Landing, which is the community at the center of all these projects and most directly impacted. In addition, we believe that before further approval of the New Street project, developers need to state in their project notification change their commitment and plans to:

  • Enhance housing affordability for the diverse neighborhood going beyond meeting the compliance affordable housing requirements of the Mayor of Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy, by increasing it to 25%, that affordability is developed onsite and accessible based on 60-65% of the neighborhood median income.
  • Ensure that the projected creation of approximately 340 construction-phase employment opportunities and go beyond the City of Boston Ordinance 5-5.3 Boston Residency Job Policy to ensure employment opportunities to local residents. As well as, develop and share enforcement and monitoring plan that includes commitment in contracting with contractors that have a proven history of meeting the BRJP compliance.
  • Commitment to ensuring that permanent economic opportunities pay the prevailing wages and that the approximately 20 new permanent jobs on the Site and commercial space will be open for local small businesses and residents of East Boston to access economic opportunities.
  • The project must include financial resources for the surrounding community infrastructure and quality of life. The project must include financial support for completion of LoPresti Park, a park that has not been renovated since 1983 and central in the revitalization of the waterfront and ensure ongoing support.
  • Public access to the waterfront for all East Boston residents. Developers should create a welcoming and accessible pathway that serves as an extension to the Harbor Walk and provides access to the Greenway.
  • In addition, we support the concerns community members expressed at the July 9th New St. project community meeting on the limit of family unit housing opportunities of two and three bedrooms, parking constraints, and affordability of units for the neighborhood.

NUBE is not opposed to development, but we cannot support the New Street Development project in its current form. We believe economic development should be done in a balanced approach that allows for a healthy coexistence for all that live currently live in East Boston. Most importantly, we want to ensure that decision making process is transparent, accountable and inclusive that includes those in the community that are most impacted. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter and please feel free to contact us at 617-981-4010 or gmota@nubeastboston.org for further information or clarifications.

Sincerely,

Gloribell Mota, Lead Organizer
Maverick Association of Residents (MAR)

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