BPDA Approves Revised Plans for the Orient Heights Housing Development

July 28, 2018
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Last week the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved Trinity Finacial’s Notice of Project Change regarding some tweaks made to the Orient Heights Housing Development project.

In its ruling the BPDA said they approved the changes to the project in order to ‘keep the project moving forward’ as Trinity gears up to begin Phase II of the project.

Over the past few community meetings, Trinity Financial’s Eva Erlich said while some minor tweaks were made to the project they were done in response to residents’ concerns at previous meetings.

Trinity has eliminated the 42 units of non-public market rate housing that was part of the original plan but this was after Trinity heard concerns about increased density without a second road that would connect Valler Road and Waldemar Avenue.

When the project started the cost of connecting Valler Road with Waldemar Avenue below justified connecting the two streets. With an original price tag of $3 million the cost soared to nearly $10 million after the road was studied and the soil tested. After meeting with engineers and looking at the cost so the road can meet city standards it became very expansive to make that connection from street to street.

When Trinity updated the community on this development in the winter, residents expressed concern that replacing the 331 units of public housing and then adding an additional 42 units of market rate housing could lead to congestion without the two roads connecting. So in response to these concerns Trinity decided to focus on replacing the 331 units over the same land area and eliminate the market rate component.

Phase I, which was completed in the spring, replaced 90 units with 120 units. Phase II, which should begin in the fall on Valler Road, will add another 88 units of new public housing.

That will leave only 123 units left for Phase III. Trinity was able to add more housing units down below on Waldemar in order to allow some wiggle room to replace open space and add new open space for the community as well as refurbishing the basketball courts and community room.

Trinity’s Notice of Project Change that was approved by the BPDA includes a decrease of four residential units to be constructed as part of the Phase Two project, bringing the total from 92 to 88 units. The elimination of two parking spaces, bringing the total from 78 to 76 parking spaces.

The elimination of the 42 non-public residential units from the project, bringing the total number of residential units from 373 to 331 all public housing units.  The elimination of 49 parking spaces from the project, bringing the total number from 306 to 265 on-street and off-street parking spaces. The elimination of approximately 57 bicycle parking spaces from the project, bringing the total number from 388 to 331 bicycle parking spaces. An increase of approximately 73,290 square feet of open space from the project, bringing the total from 87,985 square feet to 161,275 square feet of open space. The elimination of the roadway connection from Waldemar Avenue to Vallar Road. The existing community center within the project site will be renovated instead of newly constructed, 1,000 square feet of community gathering space will be provided in Phase II and 5,200 square feet of community gathering space will be provided in Phase III.