August 2012: Chestnut Hill Realty filed a proposal to develop 271 units under MA Chapter 40B, an affordable housing law that allows developers to circumvent local zoning in return for construction of projects with at least 20% Affordable Units. A summary of the proposal is available here.
- 271 total units
- 126 in 3 story buildings along both Russett and Beverly Road
- 145 units in a 5 story building on the Russett Road side of the property.
- Unit breakdown: 22 3BR, 103 2BR, 22 2BR+loft, 104 1BR, 20 1BR+loft
- Road with 302 surface parking spaces and a road over the greenspace between current Hancock Village and Russett and Beverly Roads.
- 144 garage parking spaces
- Setbacks of 3 story buildings from adjoining Beverly and Russett properties are as low as 10 ft.
December 2012: The Selectmen wrote a 62-page letter to MassDevelopment outlining the reasons that they request denial for project eligibility, stating,
“the Selectmen believe that the project proposed ... is poorly conceived, the site is not appropriate for any development, and the project is poorly designed for the site and the neighborhood. The project will negatively impact the existing tenants residing in Hancock Village and the abutting single-family homeowners. The proposed development does not meet any of the design criteria contained in the Handbook prepared for MassDevelopment and the other subsidizing agencies. Chestnut Hill Realty has chosen the least appropriate locations on its property to propose new buildings. The design of the proposed buildings is not consistent with the existing residences abutting the development.”
The Selectmen also expressed strong concerns about transportation/traffic, public safety resources, and environmental impacts/stormwater runoff. Furthermore, the Selectmen emphasized Brookline’s long-term robust efforts and recent successes in developing more permanent affordable housing. Other letters requesting that MassDevelopment deny eligibility came from Brookline residents and neighbor groups, Mass. Rep. Ed Coppinger, the Pine Street Inn, and the Brookline Green Space Alliance.
February 2013: CHR withdrew its 40B eligibility application, but stated that it would submit a new one. Days before, MassDevelopment had voted to deny the eligibility application and had drafted its letter to CHR, when CHR mysteriously withdrew the application. The prepared denial letter can be found here. The reason for the denial was clearly stated:
“...MassDevelopment has determined that the conceptual site plan is not generally appropriate for the site due to the Project’s complete elimination of the existing greenbelt buffer between the current Hancock Village residences and abutting single-family neighborhood homes; the Project’s inadequate setbacks; and the massing of the Project’s proposed five-story which is generally inappropriate for the site and not well-mitigated by topography or other means.”