Sheila's Letter to Joyce

To: joyce.linehan@boston.gov

 

Email Subject Line: Upcoming ZBA hearing on 114-120 Brookside Avenue, JP, Tuesday July 25th

Dear Ms. Linehan,

I am writing you because I know that you have been sensitive to the needs of artists in our city. I am a 25 year resident of Jamaica Plain. I am also a professional artist, and a tenured Professor of Studio Art at Boston College. I have exhibited my work at the ICA, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, as well as several other nationally recognized institutions. My work has been represented by several local galleries, and galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. I regularly employ studio assistants who are graduates of Mass Art and the Museum School. 

My studio is located next door to the site of a proposed residential conversion, from an industrial building housing artist studios into a nine unit luxury residential building with parking. My co-tenants and I are very concerned with development patterns which threaten our ability to conduct our practice in the City. Anticipating a positive response from the Zoning Board of Appeals, the developer has already begun to displace artist tenants. 

There are a few details you should know:

The project is not required to go through Article 80, the public process that would normally evaluate public benefit, because it is too small. This leaves the decision solely to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will only learn of and evaluate the project next Tuesday.

The proposal does not comply with the letter or spirit of JP Rox, the recently approved planning process intended to guide development in our neighborhood and provide a measure of predictability for residential and commercial tenants alike. The Plan not only supports artist uses, but specifically makes exceptions for residential conversions of industrial properties. This property does not qualify for the carefully defined terms of eligibility for those exceptions. The Plan reaffirms industrial uses on this site.

We would appreciate your consideration of this petition, and hope you can bring this matter to the attention of those who can positively impact the decision of the ZBA. It should be noted that we are not asking for funding, housing, or other capital intensive forms of support. We are merely asking that this administration respect and support the terms of the JP Rox Plan, which was conducted in a thorough and inclusive manner, and was ratified by the BPDA Board. I have attached my letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals, detailing the basis of our opposition.

Sincerely,

Sheila Gallagher

Studio : 128 Brookside Avenue, Jamaica Plain