Over-the-bridge Savin Hill proposal draws a crowd to meeting

A relatively short meeting of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association on Monday attracted a packed house for a briefing on ongoing planning projects and upcoming meetings, and for an opportunity to object to a proposed over-the-bridge Savin Hill development.

The crowd was drawn by a proposal, slated for discussion at planning board meeting the next day, to subdivide the property at 200 Savin Hill Ave. and add a two-family dwelling. Neighbors were distressed by the prospect that any work done there would increase density and possibly involve the removal of the large trees on the parcel by the street.

Patrick Fandel, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services liaison to the community, told the meeting on Monday that two abutters meetings have occurred but the project was “nowhere near a ZBA date” and would not be able to move forward until he gave the okay.

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Glover’s Corner Planning is moving toward completion, said Mark McGonagle of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. A series of meeting over the past 16 months has focused on housing, transit, density, affordability, and other topic areas for the largely industrial swatch of Dorchester Avenue between Savin Hill and Fields Corner.

In response to questions from the civic members, McGonagle sketched out some general takeaways from the process so far.

“These studies that we do… we are trying to identify areas we feel are well suited for growth and development. We are looking at larger developments.” Density and height in some areas of the study could be between 60 and 150 feet, he said, but the taller structures would be located away from the already housing-heavy areas. “We aren’t going to do that in the neighborhood section,” he said. Some light industrial may remain in the plan, which is ultimately aimed at adjusting the zoning for the area.

The next community meeting on the planning project is scheduled for Jan. 16 at DotHouse, starting at 6 p.m. It will focus on the environment and open space. After that, the neighborhood associations will get a chance to ask questions of planners outside of the normal meeting schedule.
“As we get closer to the finish line, it is absolutely appropriate to bring out our staff,” McGonagle said. Some of the senior planning team will present to neighboring civic groups in February and March.

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A marijuana-focused meeting organized by civic activist Marti Glynn will be held on Monday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Strand Theatre. Glynn says representatives of 26 civic and community organizations will attend the panel discussion, which is not open to the general public.

The Mattapan Food and Fitness coalition will be hosting a public meeting on the topic of cannabis at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 10, at the Mildred Avenue Community Center.