The grassroots group of concerned residents opposed to what they call an ‘overdevelopment’ of East Boston held their second protest recently in Central Square but this time they were joined by a slew of elected officials and candidates for office.
Stand Up for Eastie, founded by Frankfort Street resident Joni DeMarzo after she and her family opposed a development project next door to their home they feared would severely impact their quality of life, held their first rally back in July in Wood Island and Day Square.
This time the group was joined by current City Councilor and state senate candidate Lydia Edwards, senate candidate Anthony D’Ambrosio and At-Large City Council candidates Ruthzee Louijeune and Dave Halbert.
The group and its supporters spent the Saturday afternoon in Central Square handing out flyers, carrying signs and trying to educate people on the impacts development has had on the neighborhood.
“We know development has always been going on, year after year the city expands, more people move here and that is all fine but it’s never caused East Boston such disaster and tragedy before,” said DeMarzo at the rally. “So why now? Why East Boston? There are 20 different neighborhoods in the City of Boston from Allston and Brighton to Charlestown and Chinatown, Downtown, Dorchester, Southie, continuing to Roslindale, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan plus more..so why is East Boston being singled out, why is East Boston getting slammed with overdeveloped projects?”
DeMarzo argues that the system is being manipulated and residents are left to suffer.
“The zoning laws that are written in black and white are being violated by the authorities,” she said. “The mayor’s office, the ZBA and BPDA are putting the people of East Boston last. Although they all nod their heads and say “we hear you loud and clear” they are in fact failing us. Over and over and over, we send in our comments and concerns, and over and over they put profit over people. How many times are the authorities going to approve variances to the same old courageous LLC’s with no demonstrated hardship? Is it because the more that is approved then the more the city profits off of our property taxes? Is that why there are so many tiny studios being built? Because more units equals more money? And yet we are told to believe that the reason to keep adding in more luxury condos is because of the “housing crisis”. Is anyone in authority thinking how this is all affecting us, the people who actually live here?”
DeMarzo went on that development projects are taking away open space, knocking down mature trees, and the identity and history of the neighborhood is being demolished.
“Families are rapidly leaving this neighborhood and no one can afford to financially live here unless you’re a millionaire,” she said. “And no one can deal with all the stressors to continue to want to even live here. And most importantly many families are being displaced.”
DeMarzo called on City Hall to, “Stop permitting developers that destroy our neighborhood. Stop the corruption of the system. Just do your job and protect your people.”
Stand Up for Eastie’s goal is to create homes that are affordable and encourage developments that restore family homes. The group also supports developments that build true ‘family-style’ homes adjacent to pre-existing one, two and three family dwellings.