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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Boston City Councilor Liz Breadon to Introduce Order for an Allston-Brighton Master Plan and Zoning Initiative

 

Boston City Councilor Liz Breadon to Introduce Order for an

Allston-Brighton Master Plan and Zoning Initiative

 

At the Boston City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, District 9 City Councilor Liz Breadon will introduce an Order for a public hearing on an Allston-Brighton Master Plan, in response to the significant impact of development on Boston’s Allston and Brighton neighborhoods.

 

The hearing is intended to be the initial step in the creation of the first-ever comprehensive and holistic master plan for the respective neighborhoods of Allston and Brighton. 

 

Over the past 10 years, Allston and Brighton have experienced an exponential increase in real estate development. Over 13 million square feet of new construction have been approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency, including 7,000 new housing units approved for construction in alignment with the City’s goal to build 53,000 housing units by the year 2030.

 

“Residents of Allston and Brighton have been frustrated by the absence of a cohesive vision for the community, and often feel helpless when variance-driven development projects pop up in our neighborhoods,” said Breadon. “From a planning perspective, we must ensure housing that is affordable for a greater range of Allston and Brighton residents, including working families, young professionals, students, and artists and creators.”

 

“As we move toward more transit-oriented development, the growing populations of Allston and Brighton need a thorough and comprehensive plan which addresses the urgent needs of the community. These include supporting small businesses as well as creating and sustaining pedestrian-friendly business districts where residents can access services, amenities, and food stores within a fifteen minute walk from home,” said Breadon. 

 

This will be the first master plan that will be informed by the amended zoning code to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. It is hoped that the master plan will address the need for city planning that promotes racial and economic equity and inclusion, and the pro-active development of vibrant, resilient, and inclusive communities that are welcoming to all regardless of age, family structure, and economic status. 

 

“Now is the time for Allston and Brighton residents, civic groups, and city planners to collectively and strategically plan the future of our neighborhoods,” said Breadon. “I’m very excited for a public hearing that will include testimony from residents, local civic leaders, city planners, and the public to discuss and craft our collective strategic vision of economic development, transportation, and housing by and for the people of our communities.”

 

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Elected officials, advocates, and community leaders have spoken out in support of the order for an Allston-Brighton Master Plan:

 

Representative Kevin Honan, 17th Suffolk District:

"Allston-Brighton is one of the most desirable communities in the Commonwealth to call home. In order to keep our vibrant neighborhood accessible to all, we must have a clear vision for the future. Through a comprehensive master plan, we can become a statewide model for inclusive housing opportunities, transit-oriented development, and smart growth. This public hearing is a timely first step in ensuring everyone has a seat at the table to discuss the future of our neighborhood. As State Representative, I thank Councilor Breadon and I look forward to working with all our local leaders and civic groups to develop a roadmap for strategic future development in Allston-Brighton.”

 

Representative Mike Moran, 18th Suffolk District:

“Given that Allston-Brighton has never undergone a major Master Plan or Zoning Initiative, I commend Councilor Breadon for introducing this amendment. Due to the size and scope of projects in the pipeline, this is a great step to identify our transportation needs and ensure the neighborhood’s long-term sustainability.”

 

Galen Mook, Executive Director, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition:

"With development both immediate and long-term, Allston and Brighton need a comprehensive plan to best steer impacts and benefits that the increase of residents, businesses, and institutions bring. Allston and Brighton historically grew from the expansion of the streetcar, which depended on robust public transit combined with the ability to walk and bike from homes to parks to businesses and workplaces – not on automobile-dependent households. This is coupled with the fact that we are hemmed in by the borders of the Charles River, Mass Pike, and lower-density zoning of Brookline and Newton, and many residents cannot afford individual car ownership. In order to equitably develop into the next decade and century, we need to truly comprehend the looming growth, and approach even small developments in the context of how residents will still live, work, and play in Allston and Brighton today, tomorrow, and ongoing.”

 

Anna Leslie, MPH. Director, Allston Brighton Health Collaborative:

“Understanding community health needs and assets must begin with a resident-engaged and resident-driven process. A neighborhood-wide process will allow us to further understand the growing health inequities in the neighborhood, the assets we have to achieve greater equity, and puts resident voices and priorities at the center of planning.”

 

Jason Desrosier, Manager of Community Building & Engagement, Allston Brighton CDC:

“Allston-Brighton is on the precipice of major transformation and we need to take this opportunity to be proactive, rather than reactive, and plan for the future we want. With the Western Ave Study and Rezoning process, Harvard Enterprise Research Campus, Allston-Brighton Mobility Study, I-90 realignment and opening of Beacon Park Yards for development, and wave of development projects both approved and under review by the BPDA, this is the opportunity to pause and give thought to intentional, comprehensive planning. A plan for Allston-Brighton would ensure goals laid out in the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing zoning amendment add to the vitality of the community – so that Allston Brighton remains a safe, stable, equitable, and healthy neighborhood for all.”

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