Residents spoke out against the proposition from Chestnut Hill Realty to develop a 40B project at Hancock Village. The development would consist of 271 rental units with 55 units for low-income residents with a driveway at the end of Ashville Road and access from Independence Drive.
A repeated concern from the large crowd was the issue of school capacity.
“We have been adding classrooms at a rate of 30 per year,” Chairwoman Betsy Dewitt said. “We have zero capacity in our schools.”
“We don’t have open land, farms or fields or old industrial complexes where we could put new schools and we are already trying to cope with the explosion of school aged children today,” Selectman Nancy Daly said. “Doubling the student population would be a catastrophe”
With seemingly no room for more students and nowhere to expand to, concerned residents urged the Selectmen to write to the Housing Appeals Committee with disapproval.
One resident, who asked to remain nameless, provided a different point of view in his disapproval of this proposal.
“I would be very careful in saying that we can’t take care of students in the schools. If I were on a committee, I would be turned off by an affluent community saying they can’t take on students from affordable houses,” he said. “But the issue isn’t the 55 affordable housing, it’s the 277 units built on a street that isn’t really a street.”
Representative Ed Coppinger said that the proposed building is beyond the size and scope of Hancock Village because it would be five stories tall, where the surrounding buildings are three stories tall.
“We don’t believe this is a good project,” Brookline resident Judy Leichter said. “Not only for our neighborhood but for the entire town of Brookline.”
The Selectmen have to craft a letter by December 13 and submit it to MassDevelopment. MassDevelopment will be conducting a site visit in the near future.