"Brookview Village" Prompts a Fiery Discussion
It was a fiery conversation that preceded the Zoning Board of Appeals postponing a vote on "Brookview Village" Tuesday.
City Councilors questioned the speed at which the "Brookview Village" "friendly 40B" is being processed, with Councilor Joseph Delano saying that it could be construed that there were behind the scenes dealings.
"This thing is being rushed through at breakneck speed," said Delano who described the 225 unit development as "mediocre housing." "There is no way this is a good project for the city. It its that good they would have brought it in the front door."
Brookview Village is a 225 unit "friendly 40B" apartment complex that is planned to be located off of Ames Street. It is being developed by the Gutierrez Company.
Delano hit upon the major objections of many people in the audience Tuesday night: the speed of the approval process, going through the ZBA rather than the council and the impact it would have on the city. As he spoke, he made reference to the ZBA being lobbied by the developer and other things occuring behind the scenes.
"I am offended by that," said ZBA Member Paul Giunta of the statement that there were things going on behind the scene.
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Other members of the council urged officials to slow down the process until the effect of adding the additional housing could be fully explored.
"My concern is this project is moving very quickly," said Council President Patricia Pope. "Perhaps we should put the brakes on this."
Councilor Matt Elder and Delano both questioned the possible impact on the city through the cost of additional students. The cost of one additional special need student could flip the benefit to the city completely on its head, said Delano.
Elder questioned the use of industrial land for residential purposes. He also questioned a 40B coming in when the city is above its mandated 10 percent affordable housing.
"That should end the discussion in my mind," said Elder.
Giunta that the city should hire someone to address the best use of land throughout the city.
"Get a professional in here that can give you some advice," he said. "If you are waiting on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council you could wait for 10 years."
The ZBA has another three months before they must, by law, render a decision on the project.