Negotiations and Memorandum of Understanding
The Town of Brookline, the neighbors who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and CHR entered into negotiations for a comprehensive plan for Hancock Village. Ultimately an agreement was reached in Nov 2016 in principle with the following parameters:
- 382 new units in the Brookline portion of Hancock Village (22 units will replace existing units to be demolished in the construction, 14 from Brookline and 8 from Boston). These units will contain 546 bedrooms, in a mix of 1 BR, 2 BR, and 2 BR + den units.
- Most of these units will be in two large buildings, one on the Russett side and one on the Beverly side of Hancock Village.
- There will be no buildings in the greenspace between Hancock Village and neighboring properties. There will be roads with some parking. The remaining greenspace will be deeded to the town as park land.
- There will be no regular vehicular access to Russett Road. The traffic will be exit directly onto Independence.
- A portion of the development will be made under affordable housing guidelines and will contribute to 54 affordable units. 144 units will count towards the town’s subsidized housing inventory.
- There will be no further development of Hancock Village.
Formulation into Zoning changes proposed in Warrant Articles for the November 2017 Town Meeting.
While the principles were agreed to, the details and implementation needed to be solidified. CHR and Brookline put the principles and parameters agreed upon in the MOA into final form, without significant input from neighborhood representatives. The master development plan is shown below.
Some features of the proposed warrant articles that surprised neighborhood representatives were:
- Conversion of 13 existing laundry rooms to bedrooms.
- Giving CHR the right to add 25,000 sq ft of additions to existing units in 10 years. In last minute changes, this has been reduced to 300 additions of 60 sq ft each (18,000 sq ft).
- A trash house located at the edge of HV, 10 ft from abutters. In last minute changes, this has been moved, but there is no indication of to where.
- The dissolution of the HV NCD. In last minute changes, the NCD will remain but severely limited in its authority.
- The possibility of protecting Hancock Village from future development through a deed restriction will not be possible. The maximal restriction that MA DHCD would permit and still allow for two of the buildings to contribute to affordable housing as a Local Initiative Program will be 20 years.
- The plan would put affordable housing in 2 buildings, but the third large building on Sherman Rd. would not have affordable housing.
Because of these changes to the MOA, the neighborhood could not support this comprehensive development plan. Precinct 16's Town Meeting Members unanimously opposed the Warrant Articles, and they failed to pass Town Meeting.