Deja Vu - More claims that Allston rentals will be subject to city's laws

Mayor Menino Orders Inspectional Services Walkthrough of Allston Area with Heavy Student Population | City of Boston:
February 17, 2012 
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced that the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), in collaboration with the Boston Police and Fire departments, has completed a three day code sweep of rental units located at Gardner, Pratt, Linden and Ashford Streets in Allston, an area heavily populated with students. ISD will again be in the area tomorrow at 12 PM to follow up with students, distributing pamphlets with information on rental housing resources and how to protect themselves from potential health and safety hazards. 
“Boston is home to thousands of students, and they all deserve a safe place to live,” Mayor Menino said. “We will not allow landlords to take advantage of students by neglecting their properties and putting people at risk. We also want to make sure that renters in Boston, particularly students, are aware of their responsibilities as tenants. We will continue to work with the student community as well as landlords to ensure a safe environment for everyone.”
Where have I heard this before? Oh, that's right we hear the same thing every year or two, usually in the fall when students return to Allston. I wonder if this time there will be more consistent follow through.

Here's effectively the same story from 6 years ago.

Landlords Who Take Advantage Of Students Targeted - Mayor Tours Off-Campus Housing -
August 31, 2006
As thousands of college students descend on Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino promised to crack down on landlords who take advantage of students.
NewsCenter 5's Pam Cross reported that Menino said routine inspections of apartments usually rented to college students found trash, rats and other unsanitary conditions.
"It's one of the worst (apartments) I've seen, especially for a neighborhood," said Edward Kennedy, of Boston Inspectional Services. "There is definitely a rat infestation here as well."

"They have debris (blocking windows). Coming out of the window, you would trip over something," Menino said.

What type of housing would improve North Allston

While reading this story in today's Crimson about Harvard's plans for new housing in Barry's Corner (Barry's Corner Plans Worry Allston Residents) I thought back to the home-ownership post I wrote in 2008 regarding the ownership/rental mix for the new Charlesview housing.

During the public review of Charlesview the project was described as having apartments south of Western Ave and condo along Telford St on the north side of Western Ave. For many in the community who believe that more homeownership would be a good thing here, we looked forward to the construction of these condos.

But while construction of the apartments is moving ahead briskly, there is no activity relating to the construction of the condos which are now describes as being "Phase 2" of the project and, according to this Globe story, that "phase’s timing is market dependent" and who knows when or if that means it will be built.

So, getting back to Barry's Corner, the documents that I linked to in that 2008 post have been moved or deleted, and data from the 2010 Census is now available. 

But the story is still the same regarding two topics raised in the Crimson article - Allston has few families and few homeowners.

Allston: 13% owner-occupied housing units. Households with individuals under 18 years = 9%
Jamaica Plain: 44% owner occupied.  Households with individuals under 18 years = 23%
South Boston: 40% owner occupied.  Households with individuals under 18 years = 17%
Roxbury: 20% owner occupied. Households with individuals under 18 years = 35%
South End: 39% owner occupied. Households with individuals under 18 years = 15% 

Strong and consistent evidence indicates that homeowners are more likely to: a) be satisfied with their homes and neighborhoods; b) participate in voluntary and political activities; and c) stay in their homes longer, contributing to neighborhood stability. 
Building small apartments in Barry's Corner will maximize Harvard's profit and will also move Allston in the wrong direction - further exacerbating our lack of families and homeowners.

Hopefully it will be possible to balance Harvard's goals for a money-making development of Barry's Corner with the type of housing that will also advance the housing and social goals of Allston.

Alford ask Mayor to remember Allston

Remember Allston -

Mayor Tom Menino offered the correct incentive for Vornado Realty Trust to finally deal with its gaping problem downtown (Feb. 3). I hope he applies the same incentive to Harvard to complete its science complex, which is a 5-year-old, 5-acre, 50-foot-deep hole in our neighborhood.

The BRA has notified Allston that it will “discuss the planning and development of Harvard-owned properties from this point forward.” At this time — and after requests from the community — the BRA agenda still does not include a discussion of the abandoned science complex. Like with Filene’s/Vornado, I hope Menino will not issue more permits until Harvard has completed its science complex or at least shown a plan that would have parallel construction of the complex with any new development.

— Paul Alford, Allston

Gardner School featured in national report

Congratulations to Allston's Gardner Pilot Academy for being featured in this report by the Center for American Progress!

Lightening the Load - A Look at Four Ways that Community Schools Can Support Effective Teaching -
"The Gardner Pilot Academy in Boston, Massachusetts, also established an English language program for its students’ families that now serves 100 families. There
are five levels of classes, ranging from Basic Beginner to Advanced, offered on weekday evenings to accommodate the schedules of working adults. Classes are
free of charge, and child care is provided....

While only 25 percent of Gardner families attended parent teacher conferences in 1997, 98 percent of families participated in the 2010-11 school year"

New Balance's New Brighton plans

As I wrote 2 years ago about New Balance's potential expansion, the devil is in the details, and it will be a long time before the details of this plan are worked out. But the big ideas of offices, track and field, hockey, and hotel all sound pretty good. Especially if this spurs infrastructure improvements like a commuter rail stop (and it is hard to imagine a project of this magnitude without it) in the Everett Street / Market Street area it can be really great.

Boston Redevelopment Authority project website

New Balance's Letter of Intent to the BRA