Columbia-Savin Hill Civic leaders want 'comprehensive planning' for new developments

The board of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association (CSHCA) sent the following letter to elected and appointed officials on March 22. Excerpts of the letter follow:

We have actively supported many proposed development projects, actively opposed many, and most importantly, sought to improve proposals impacting our area. We host informational meetings, debates, occasional clashes, and public actions to ensure that as many of our neighbors as possible can understand development proposals and help create a CSHCA response. Most importantly, we strive to communicate our positions to the appropriate parties.

We are facing an influx of 10,000 new housing units and, at least, 5 million square feet of new commercial space. CSHCA is deeply concerned that the current “popularity” of our neighborhood among developers has the very real potential to lead to infrastructure chaos.

The city’s merger of two separate, but contiguous, developments on Morrissey Blvd. and Mt. Vernon Street, for the purpose of joint planning by the city and state, is progress in the right direction. We ask for an ongoing comprehensive approach to planning for all developments.

Currently, we do not see any comprehensive basis for planning that acknowledges 10,000 new units and 5 million sf (at least) of new commercial space. We feel it is imperative that those metrics be officially recognized as the starting point of any relevant and future planning processes. Granted, this “cumulative” approach has not been the norm, but 10,000 units and over 5 million square feet of commercial development is not normal by any means.

We, and the Columbia-Savin Hill community, must be assured that the “planning” categories will include transportation (vehicular, MBTA, pedestrian, and biking), infrastructure (water, sewer, and utilities), parking, allowances for green public spaces, long term climate resiliency, necessary services and shopping, and affordable housing options.

Thank you for considering this important request.