HVNA Releases Suffolk Downs Poll Results

With the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) poised to give the green light HYM Investment Group’s massive 162-acre mixed-use project at the historic Suffolk Downs site on Thursday, the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) recently conducted a poll of residents that will live the closest to the proposed development.

During the group’s September meeting the HVNA board released the results of the poll that posed two questions to residents. 

The results of the first question, “Do you support the current Suffolk Downs Development project?”, 52 percent of residents answered ‘yes’ while 31 percent answered ‘no’. Another 17 percent said they were ‘not sure’. 

The results of the first question, “If made to choose between the two options for the Suffolk Downs Development, (20 percent affordable housing or 50 percent affordable housing, which do you prefer?”, 79 percent of residents said they support 20 percent affordable housing while only 21 percent said they support 50 percent affordable housing at the site. 

The poll comes at a time when groups like City Life/Vida Urbana are trying to pressure the BPDA to delay a Suffolk Downs vote until HYM Investment agrees to more affordable housing. 

On Tuesday, City Life/Vida Urbana held a rally outside City Hall. 

“Suffolk Downs is the site of a plan for a massive mixed-use development including 10,000 housing units, and it’s surrounded by predominantly immigrant and working class families now at higher risk of eviction in the COVID-19 crisis,” said the group in a statement. “The BPDA plans to vote on core aspects of the land’s future this Thursday, September 24th, including the extent of affordable housing in the development. Tuesday’s rally, organized by a coalition of community-based organizations called PUEBLO, will call for the postponement of the BPDA’s vote until concerns about affordable housing and displacement are resolved.”

Other groups have been outside the Suffolk Downs’ site during the week holding signs calling for 50 percent affordable housing although it is clear from the HVNA poll that the majority of residents most impacted by the project do not agree with 50 percent. However, the same residents do think the affordable housing component at Suffolk Downs should be higher than the typical 13 percent mandated by the BPDA for large projects in the city. 

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