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Boston Residents Voice Opposition to New Allston Residential Project at BPDA Meeting

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Boston residents expressed opposition to construction plans for a new residential project in Allston that will replace an existing decades-old building at a Thursday Boston Planning and Development Agency meeting.

During the meeting, the development team detailed its preparations for the new residential building, which will be located at 90 Braintree St. and will comprise upwards of 100 rental units and more than 50 parking spaces. Proposed back in November 2020, the project has undergone three rounds of Impact Advisory Group meetings — including its most recent assessment on Thursday.

The proposed project is part of a much larger wave of development coursing through Allston. Developers plan to build 273 residential units at 180 Western Ave. and another 252 units at 176 Lincoln St. — both Harvard-leased parcels. The University, which owns roughly one-third of the land in Allston, also plans to construct 345 units in the first phase of its Enterprise Research Campus. Meanwhile, at the former Skating Club of Boston, yet another company plans to establish a 655-unit development.

Dave Wamestar, executive director of development at Anchor Line Partners, presented at the Thursday meeting on the public benefits of the project, which he said included heightened sustainability, greater neighborhood safety, creation of construction jobs, and an increase in the area’s affordable housing.

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Wamestar also said the developers “made the extra effort” to create affordable housing units on site, including 22 units under Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy.

IAG member John Bligh voiced concerns about the lack of parking available to residents.

“I think your parking is really low for the mass you’re building,” he said.

Cailtin Coppinger, BPDA’s contact for the project, said access to parking is deliberately uncoupled from rent in the development, explaining that the strategy “ultimately leads to less vehicle usage around the city.”

“People really have to make that choice if they really want to pay to have a car in the city of Boston, and sometimes, the price of parking really leads them to choosing not to have a vehicle,” she said.

The project also faced criticism from public attendees of the BPDA meeting. Richard Lavoie, a vice president of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 3, voiced his opposition to the project, asserting that it fell short of “community standards.”

“As it stands right now, it does not conform to community standards — those standards for wages and benefits — nor is there a commitment to work with a responsible contractor,” he said.

Boston resident Jimmy Vaughn stated his dissatisfaction with the planned construction.

“I work in the area and I am 100 percent against this project,” he said without further comment.

Four other public attendees joined Vaughn and Lavoie in expressing opposition, which Wamestar said left him “perplexed.”

Responding to the public comments, Wamestar said he was “taken aback” due to his work on other major projects in the surrounding area that he said have created thousands of jobs for local residents.

Wamestar said he hopes the project on 90 Braintree St. can be brought before the BPDA board for approval in February. If the project receives the go-ahead, he said, construction could begin later this year.

—Staff writer Michal Goldstein can be reached at michal.goldstein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @bymgoldstein.

—Staff writer Devinder S. Sarai can be reached at devinder.sarai@thecrimson.com.

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