Last week, we sent a letter to the Boston Board of Appeal in support of a proposed expansion of a self-service storage facility at 44 Lochdale Road (just off Washington Street near Forest Hills). The full letter is reproduced below. Although we typically focus on housing and retail that will improve street-level vitality and walkability, off-site storage also has its place in vibrant urban neighborhoods, particularly as density increases and some folks chose to live in smaller units and thus need some overflow space. We also see the proposal as a substantial improvement over current conditions; for these reasons, we sent the letter below.
Having received our letter and encountering no opposition (at least at the hearing), the Board of Appeal approved the requested zoning variations on July 25, 2017.
- Boston Planning & Development Agency Project Page for 44 Lochdale Road
- WalkUp Roslindale Support Letter for 44 Lochdale Road (PDF)
July 24, 2017
BY ELECTRONIC MAIL ONLY (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boston Board of Appeal
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
RE: Support Letter -Proposed Project at 44 Lochdale Road, Roslindale, MA
Dear Honorable Members of the Board of Appeal:
I write on behalf of WalkUP Roslindale to comment on the referenced appeal for zoning relief from the Board of Appeal (the “Appeal”).
WalkUP Roslindale, which takes its name from the international movement to foster “Walkable Urban Places,” is a collaborative group of residents founded in June 2015 to make Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in Boston. We advocate for a dynamic, livable streetscape. And, we support positive changes to our public and private built environment that strengthen walkability as a means toward better public health, safety, social capital, economic development and environmental sustainability. More information about WalkUP Roslindale and our initiatives can be found at www.walkuproslindale.org. We recognize that no single group of people can be said to speak for our entire neighborhood – instead, please take these comments as representing the collective, specific viewpoint of our steering group members offering what we see as the analysis that results from our mission and principles statements.
The project set forth in the Appeal includes the redevelopment and expansion of an existing self-service storage (the “Proposed Project”). The Appeal describes the Proposed Project as requiring two (2) variances from the Local Industrial (“LI”) subdistrict zoning under the Roslindale Neighborhood District of the Boston Zoning Code (the “Code”), specifically with respect to building height (the expanded building is proposed at 35’8” and the limit is 35’) and floor area ratio (the expanded building is proposed at 2.0 and the limit is 1.0). WalkUP Roslindale supports the Proposed Project and recommends that the Board grant the relief sought. The area of our neighborhood in which the Proposed Project is located has generally retained its local industrial character over the years and warrants its LI zoning subdistrict designation. While some parts of the subdistrict are in transition, the Proposed Project still fits within this character. Accordingly, although we might in another location push for more residential or mixed-use development in order to accommodate the continued growth of Boston’s population, we recognize that this location, given its adjacency to the City of Boston’s Animal Control facility and Cataldo Ambulance, can be expected to remain industrial/commercial for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, as the neighborhood’s supply of smaller and more efficient multifamily units increases, especially with respect to the hundreds of units recently completed, permitted, or in the planning process around nearby Forest Hills station, the need for off-site storage to complement these units also increases. In this sense, the Proposed Project is fulfilling an important community need. The Proposed Project also represents a substantial improvement in design quality and functionality over the existing condition despite the expansion of the overall facility size. Finally, we are encouraged to hear that the proponent of the
Proposed Project has committed to provide $15,000 in funding to Roslindale Village Main Street and LivableStreets Alliance to further progress the planning and design of the combined Roslindale Gateway Path/Blackwell Path Extension, located just on the other side of the MBTA railroad right-of-way from the Proposed Project. This project, which WalkUP Roslindale’s members have spent considerable time in helping to promote, has the potential to make the Arboretum much more accessible to more residents in our neighborhood as well as providing an alternative route for walking and cycling between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills, the Southwest Corridor and Franklin Park beyond.
In closing, we wish to reiterate our support for the Proposed Project and our commitment to making our neighborhood more walkable by collaborating with our neighbors to produce better outcomes for everyone. We very much appreciate your careful consideration of our comments and would be happy to discuss any questions you may have on them.
Matthew J. Lawlor Resident @ 15 Basto Terrace, Roslindale, on behalf of the following members of the WalkUP Roslindale Steering Group
Steve Gag, Resident @ 631 South Street, Roslindale
Liz Graham-Meredith, Resident @ 6 Crandall Street, Roslindale
Rebecca Phillips, Resident @ 10 Tappan Street, Roslindale
Adam Rosi-Kessel, Resident @ 36 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale
Rachele Rosi-Kessel, Resident @ 36 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale
Greg Tobin, Resident @ 1 Sheldon Street, Roslindale
Alan Wright, Resident @ 98 Birch Street, Roslindale
Copy to: Mr. Daniel Murphy, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (email@example.com)
City Councilor Tim McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
City Councilor Michelle Wu (email@example.com)
City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
City Councilor Michael F. Flaherty (email@example.com)
City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George (firstname.lastname@example.org)