Let there be gray (grey?)

At times it appears there is no spectrum of opinions with regard to housing, just black or white–NIMBY versus whatever acronym might describe those who find developers’ initial proposals acceptable, in the name of increasing housing supply to constrain prices. Seeking a middle ground, I propose that gray is the color of compromise, in the most positive sense.

The since withdrawn 70 Rowe St. proposal began at 150 units, shrank slightly to 135 units then detoured into a Verizon parking lot. The neighborhood, organized as Residents for Responsible Development in Auburndale (a carefully chosen name) did not oppose any potential residential development, despite a number of site issues, but urged a much smaller project, in character with existing housing. Alternative options were proposed by the developer, then withdrawn. For a variety of reasons, compromise eluded us all. Since the Mayor’s consultants identified 70 Rowe plus adjacent properties as potential sites for multi-unit housing development, I don’t doubt that there will be more chapters to this story.

Neighbors have just been notified that a developer is asking for a Special Permit to add a second two-family dwelling plus an addition at the rear of the existing non-conforming two-family at 50-52 Rowe St. I’ll go out on a very gray limb and say the lot is big enough to accept another two-family building of reasonable size (fighting words?). I’m curious what my neighbors and the abutters think about the proposal and will be asking them. I look forward to the July 26 Land Use Committee public hearing. Maybe something in scale with surrounding homes will be proposed. Perhaps one of the eventual four units could even be made affordable in perpetuity.

Is there also some gray area for the Orr block?

For an entertaining list of housing acronyms: http://www.planetizen.com/node/152

And wasn’t Monday night’s better-than-postcard sunset spectacular??

Born and raised in North Carolina, came to Boston after college, then to Newton in 1985 a little after our daughter was born. I've lived in Auburndale longer than anywhere else in my life.

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