Wellesley Developments

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
796
Reaction score
146
This is locally-supported 40B, which is basically a way for rich white suburbanites to dump affordable housing in places they don't have to see it. In some cases that's okay (if there's convenient transit, for example) but in this case William Street is an access nightmare with egress only to WB Route 9 (which can't really take the new cars from this development). As we discussed in the other thread, there's an intriguing transit accessibility for this via Waban if a footbridge were built to Newton, but really MassDOT, the Town, and the developer need to extend William over 128 through the former Harvard Pilgrim property if anything more is built on it. In a perfect world, the Harvard Pilgrim site itself would be densified and the entire William Street corridor returned to a forest area to front the river, but that's obviously not realistic.
You could walk to Eliot. It's a mile so it's rather long. I've been to this Office Park driving and yes it is a nightmare getting there.
 

xec

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
510
Reaction score
279
It's the "hide the poors where they can't get out" project.
Regrettably, that's not always a bad thing. I'm talking in general here, not about this particular case because I don't know the particulars in this case (never even been to Wellesley and don't know anyone who's lived there). The reality is that in some cases the quote above should be expanded to read

It's the "hide the poors where they can't get out and do serious damage" project.
This old post by Charlie_mta seems apropos here:

I grew up in a tough public housing project where there was a lot of vandalism and graffiti, (but before spray paint was invented, mostly cigarette burns on walls, pens, etc.), and it really degraded the place. The project kids tore down every tree the housing authority tried to plant, carved up the main front doors to all the multi-unit buildings, and generally ruined much of everything else. Eventually all the front yards had to be paved over because nothing green could survive the vandalism. I despise that kind of mindless shit, never did it myself and have never understood why anyone would.
I didn't grow up in the projects, but I did grow up in project-adjacent apartments, so I experienced things like a rock suddenly crashing through our living room window and stairwells littered with discarded potato chip bags, soda cans and cigarette butts. One of my brothers who had friends living in the project told me a favorite pastime of project kids was to set a piece of paper on fire, drop it inside a mailbox, and enjoy the sight of smoke from the burning mail.

Sometimes NIMBY obstructionism is a way for rich white suburbanites to dump affordable housing in places they don't have to see it. Other times it's just the hard-headed realism of local residents who'll be affected by a project colliding with the charitable idealism of long-distance supporters who will not be personally affected by it.



The fact is, sometimes reality has to be taken into account, whether you're happy with the results or not.
 

kmp1284

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
2,019
Reaction score
276
Regardless of what the SJWs and armchair policy experts have to say and even acknowledging that maybe more could have been done to better integrate this segment of the population into the community I’m sure that those who’ll benefit from the 40B program will be delighted to live in a modern apartment in a safe and tranquil town and have the opportunity to send their children to Wellesley’s exceptional public schools, even if they are tucked away behind an office park.
 
Last edited:

BronsonShore

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
221
Reaction score
502
Regrettably, that's not always a bad thing. I'm talking in general here, not about this particular case because I don't know the particulars in this case (never even been to Wellesley and don't know anyone who's lived there). The reality is that in some cases the quote above should be expanded to read

It's the "hide the poors where they can't get out and do serious damage" project.
Regardless of what the SJWs and armchair policy experts have to say and even acknowledging that maybe more could have been done to better integrate this segment of the population into the community I’m sure that those who’ll benefit from the 40B program will be delighted to live in a modern apartment in a safe and tranquil town and have the opportunity to send their children to Wellesley’s exceptional public schools, even if they are tucked away behind an office park.
This +1000. What those SJWs don't get is that these people probably don't even want to be integrated into the town at large. Who wants to feel like they have an equal stake in a community, anyway? If I were poor, I would definitely want to live in a place surrounded only by other poor people, completely cut-off from those who traditionally serve as the economic, cultural, and political drivers of the town. And also (though this really goes without saying) I would absolutely want the housing to be built in such a way that my children would be completely and totally stigmatized in their exceptional schools. If my kids were poor, I would want them to know exactly how poor they were, you know?

Now if I were one of the rich people of Wellesley, on the other hand, I would want the same thing! No one wants their children to to have to see people who live differently than they do. Do you understand how hard it is as a parent to have to explain the fact that some people haven't been to Santorini? It's one of the most difficult conversations a parent can have.Towns just work best when they're completely economically, socially, and racially segregated. Everyone knows this.
 
Last edited:

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,537
Reaction score
3,628
Regardless of what the SJWs and armchair policy experts have to say and even acknowledging that maybe more could have been done to better integrate this segment of the population into the community I’m sure that those who’ll benefit from the 40B program will be delighted to live in a modern apartment in a safe and tranquil town and have the opportunity to send their children to Wellesley’s exceptional public schools, even if they are tucked away behind an office park.
Without being snarky in response, I'd point out that Wellesely's actual public housing project, Barton Road, is also tucked away in the woods along the Charles, but with some important differences. It's accessible to both directions of Route 9 and to local roads (at some point it had MWRTA bus service), and it's walkable/bikeable to one of those exceptional public schools. It's also down the block from a park with playing fields. Just a better situation in every way. So even when you decide to isolate low-cost housing in an obvious "project", you can do much better than this in making it livable.

Bottom line: William Street shouldn't have housing. It probably shouldn't exist at all. It's definitely a crappy place to force people with low incomes to live.
 

stick n move

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Messages
8,031
Reaction score
3,555
Regrettably, that's not always a bad thing. I'm talking in general here, not about this particular case because I don't know the particulars in this case (never even been to Wellesley and don't know anyone who's lived there). The reality is that in some cases the quote above should be expanded to read



This old post by Charlie_mta seems apropos here:



I didn't grow up in the projects, but I did grow up in project-adjacent apartments, so I experienced things like a rock suddenly crashing through our living room window and stairwells littered with discarded potato chip bags, soda cans and cigarette butts. One of my brothers who had friends living in the project told me a favorite pastime of project kids was to set a piece of paper on fire, drop it inside a mailbox, and enjoy the sight of smoke from the burning mail.

Sometimes NIMBY obstructionism is a way for rich white suburbanites to dump affordable housing in places they don't have to see it. Other times it's just the hard-headed realism of local residents who'll be affected by a project colliding with the charitable idealism of long-distance supporters who will not be personally affected by it.



The fact is, sometimes reality has to be taken into account, whether you're happy with the results or not.
This is why the old model of public housing was a disaster and mixed income communities work perfectly fine. Dump a bunch of poor people in a secluded area with no foot traffic, retail, transit connections, car traffic, street grid and then defer maintenance and youve got a real problem. Multiple studies over the years have confirmed that the greatest thing that prevents crime from happening is foot traffic and eyes on the street.

When people are walking around, businesses are running, cars going by, people dont feel comfortable to break the law. In the old public housing you had no street grid, dark kitty corners everywhere, no foot traffic besides people who live there, no ground level retail, then on top of all that everybodys poor in a crime ridden area. The built environment directly lead to the disaster that came.

If you look around theres plenty of brick buildings that are essentially the same as those project buildings but theyre individual and part of a normal neighborhood and street grid. Obviously theres neighborhoods like in chicago that are just normal workforce housing and still high crime but thats due to concentrated poverty. If you have a normal built environment with foot traffic and mixed incomes living together you dont end up with these problems.
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
796
Reaction score
146
Should point out that this building is 25% income restricted. It's not like it's 100%.
 

mass88

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
2,155
Reaction score
142
In looking at Google maps, I was surprised to see how built out (relatively speaking) Wellesley is. Along 128/95, you have large swaths of land that is just woods - take the area from 109 to 135 as a prime example. Cemeteries take up substantial space in Roslindale and West Roxbury.

Anyways, where exactly in Wellesley would be a better place for low income housing? Will this be the only low income housing available in the town?
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,537
Reaction score
3,628
In looking at Google maps, I was surprised to see how built out (relatively speaking) Wellesley is. Along 128/95, you have large swaths of land that is just woods - take the area from 109 to 135 as a prime example. Cemeteries take up substantial space in Roslindale and West Roxbury.

Anyways, where exactly in Wellesley would be a better place for low income housing? Will this be the only low income housing available in the town?
The better place is in village centers next to the Commuter Rail stations and walking distance from schools.
 

RandomWalk

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
1,552
Reaction score
1,007
Intermixed throughout the town.

I think this conversation is now swerving into public policy, and away from the development at hand.
 
Last edited:

BosDevelop

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2006
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
118
In fairness, I would love to know what other sites in Wellesley you folks think you could build nearly 400 units on. I do not believe there are any such viable sites in the entire town. So, while it is easy to say the intention here was to "stick the poor people where no one will see them," that's not an entirely fair in my opinion given the size of this development. The far bigger issue to me is the one way in/out and that needs to be addressed.
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
796
Reaction score
146
The far bigger issue to me is the one way in/out and that needs to be addressed.
I don't see any way to address it. People who live there will just have to get used to going to the light and doing a U-turn if they want to go east.
 

737900er

New member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
7
In fairness, I would love to know what other sites in Wellesley you folks think you could build nearly 400 units on. I do not believe there are any such viable sites in the entire town. So, while it is easy to say the intention here was to "stick the poor people where no one will see them," that's not an entirely fair in my opinion given the size of this development. The far bigger issue to me is the one way in/out and that needs to be addressed.
If Wellesley actually cared about affordable housing they could have planned for the old Grossmans site to take a better development, but of course they don't. Even the old St. James site on Rt 9 would have been better.

Today the better sites would probably have been along Linden Street or by Weston Road between Central and Washington.
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
796
Reaction score
146

Not sure if this is the right document, but the 80% AMI for Wellesley seems pretty generous to me. 67k for one person and 96k for a household of 4. At 96k you aren't able to afford an SFH in Wellesley or even rent but it would hardly be considered a 'poors' job if that was a single income household. Perhaps it's just a reflection that the single income household is a dying species.
 

Top