Sheila's Letter to Julie Barros

To: Julie.Barros@boston.gov

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

Dear Julie,

I am writing to ask for your support in our opposition to a development next door to our studio building in Jamaica Plain. Many artists have already been displaced as the developer anticipates converting the industrial building to residential uses.

You have seen first-hand the vitality of our artist community in JP when we took a tour in recent months. As you observed, we are not hobbyists, but legitimate practitioners, many of whom employ recent grads of Mass Art, the Museum School and other local institutions. 

There are a few details you should know:

The project is not required to go through Article 80, the public process for development review 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. The Plan not only supports artist uses, but also specifically makes exceptions for residential conversions of industrial properties. This property does not qualify for the carefully defined terms of eligibility for those exceptions.

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 ratified by the BPDA Board. I am attaching my letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals, detailing our technical position with respect to the zoning. 

Thank you for all you are doing to elevate the role of art in our City!

Sheila Gallagher

Studio : 128 Brookside Avenue, Jamaica Plain