How Your Neighbors View Glover’s Corner Development

BPDA. Map area studied for Glover's Corner DevelopmentThe Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) held a “Community Conversation” meeting on January 10th about the Glover’s Corner development project. During the meeting, the BPDA distributed an updated Glover’s Corner Plan document (Adobe PDF) or data packet, for everyone to use when preparing for upcoming meetings during 2018:

“The data included here focuses on existing conditions of demographics, housing, and businesses in the study area, Dorchester, and Boston. At the upcoming workshops, we will collectively review this information to discover patterns and trends around housing and jobs in the PLAN: Glover’s Corner study area. We will then use what we discover to establish shared values around housing, businesses, and jobs as a baseline for future conversations. We will also continue to work together to identify additional neighborhood data we will need for future conversations… This spring, the City’s planning team is proposing to take a deeper dive into understanding current housing and jobs conditions and have a dialogue to establish values, needs and wants of the Glover’s Corner community in the future. We will use the feedback and questions from the January 10 community conversation to inform the content and structure of these future conversations.”

The document included findings organized into “Fast Facts” and charts. Some notable Fast Facts:

  • “By 2010, the population of Non-Hispanic Asians (mostly Vietnamese) in Glover’s Corner grew dramatically and became the largest racial/ethnic group, at 39%. Today that is estimated to be at 43%. 32% of households in Glover’s Corner speak an Asian language at home, most likely Vietnamese.
  • 22% of residents in Glover’s Corner have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to 47% in Boston. 28% of residents In Glover’s Corner have not completed high school, compared to 14% in Boston.
  • 27 percent of households in Glover’s Corner are homeowners, compared to 34% in Dorchester and 35% in Boston. In 2000, home ownership was higher in Glover’s Corner, at 35%. The decline occurred between 2000 and 2010, with a slight recovery from 2010 to 2016.
  • From 2000 to 2016, average gross rents (when adjusted for inflation) increased from $971 to $1,112 in the Glover’s Corner area, an increase of 15%, compared to 22% in Dorchester and 20 percent in Boston. In 2016, average rents in Glover’s Corner were 21% cheaper than for the city as a whole… 27% or renting households in Glover’s Corner are considered severely burdened and pay more than 50% of their income to rent, compared to 30% in Dorchester and 25% in Boston.
  • Median sales prices for all condominiums and 1- to 3-unit properties for 2017 (through 12/15/2017) in the Glover’s Corner area increased to $400,000, compared to $495,000 for Dorchester, and $600,000 for Boston. In Glover’s Corner, 67% of homes had self-reported home values at less than $400,000, compared to 63% of Dorchester
    homes, and 46% of Boston homes. The median home value in Dorchester was $351,946, 17% less than the citywide median value of $423,200…”

Other notable findings included estimates by housing type and by income level of the number of households at risk of displacement, and the results of a survey of local businesses which identified the neighborhood factors businesses find appealing about Glover’s Corner. The factors in rank order:

  1. Diversity – 71%
  2. Affordability – 65%
  3. Transit Access – 65%
  4. Strong Community – 65%
  5. Surrounding Businesses – 60%
  6. Visibility – 60%

The data packet document also included definitions about key terms used in the findings (e.g., Census Block Groups, Demographics, Income-Restricted Housing, and Housing Vouchers).

After the meeting, the BPDA posted on its site the feedback it received during the meeting from attendees. You can view the actual hand-written feedback (Adobe PDF) by residents and stakeholders on “Hope Cards.” Several themes seem to emerge from the feedback: community input throughout the entire process, affordable housing for lower-income residents, all development has parking, permanent jobs for local residents, responsible hiring by businesses, no displacement of current residents, programs for youth, and improved traffic flow on Dorchester Avenue.

Glover’s Corner Project Protested In Dorchester

The December 14th issue of DigBoston reported:

“… earnest technocrats at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA, formerly known as the BRA) still find it necessary to play the communitarian “public meeting” game when trying to sell bad deals that advance corporate interests to the working families who are all too often the targets of such deals… it’s nice to see that housing activists with the Dorchester Not For Sale coalition decided to crash a recent BPDA transit-oriented public meeting on its “PLAN: Glover’s Corner”—which is slated, among other things, to add hundreds of units of housing that will be mostly unaffordable to current Dot residents.”

“According to the Bay State Banner and the Dorchester Reporter, the Dorchester activists are taking a page from JP and Roxbury housing activists with the Keep It 100% for Egleston coalition who protested the larger BPDA PLAN: JP/Rox—which might ultimately involve thousands of units of new housing—until the city relented and mandated that 36 percent of the new units (and 40 percent overall, including units currently permitted for construction) must be affordable…”

The article cited an average medium income amount used by the City to define what “affordable” is, and the success of some activists to increase the number of affordable units in development projects. However:

“So while their activism raised the amount of “affordable” housing the BPDA planned to offer in the deal from 30 percent to 36 percent, it’s not going to help many people currently living in or near the affected neighborhoods to stay in the area unless the definition of affordable is changed to reflect economic reality. Given that fact, Mayor Marty Walsh’s much-vaunted progress on getting more affordable housing built on his watch is based largely on smoke and mirrors because much of it remains unaffordable to the people who need it most.”

Unfamiliar with the Glover’s Corner development project? You can learn more here.

Glover’s Corner Development: An Opportunity

At the December 4th General Meeting, a representative from the Glover’s Corner development project distributed a flyer, which read in part:

“PLAN: Glover’s Corner is an opportunity for the community and the City of Boston to think strategically about the future of Glover’s Corner.”

The area under study is huge, covering about 86 acres. Current land usage includes commercial (41%), residential (25%), industrial (17%), public/tax-exempt (14%), and mixed-use (2%). See the map below.

Visioning workshops held on May 18 and June 28, 2017 identified several neighborhood strengths (“cultural and economic diversity; close to Red Line transit; cross-roads of Dorchester; culturally diverse restaurants and local services”) and weaknesses (“lack of trees, green spaces, and places to gather; unsafe and hard to walk and bike; traffic and congestion; lack of access to certain services and amenities”). The workshop sessions also identified the highest priorities for the project:

    1. “Create housing for a range of incomes
    2. Plan for a climate-change resilient neighborhood”

Other top priorities identified:

  • “Create safe, walkable bike-friendly streets
  • Preserve and grow quality jobs
  • Improve transit options and connections
  • Provide support for local businesses
  • Support cultural diversity of the neighborhood
  • Create an active people-centric district through development”

To learn more, visit the Glover’s Corner Project at the Boston Planning & Development Agency site, and/or read the October 25, 2017 Land Use Workshop Presentation. A copy of the presentation is also available here (Adobe PDF; 11 MB).

Glovers corner boundaries. Boston Planning and Development Agency.