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East End News

First look at updated proposal for Venable Street tonight

Interested in seeing the new plans for Better Housing Coalitions’s Venable Street project? All are invited to come out TONIGHT at 6PM to the BHC headquarters at 23 West Broad Street.

The affordable housing project on Venable Street has drawn criticism by near-by neighbors for the social and safety implications of the central parking lot, the scale of the buildings, and the aesthetic of the design. A meeting was held last night with Councilperson Newbille, towards impressing upon her the feelings of the community and the need for revision.

The Commission of Architectural Review rejected the initial proposal at their November meeting. BHC is working on a new design, thought it is unclear if this will be ready in time to make the January CAR agenda.

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Venable St Site Plan (UPDATED)
Venable St Site Plan (ORIGINAL)

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Jason PickartAlexa Williams-BrownJulesTCadehoMark Kronenthal Recent comment authors

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Jeff Farrar
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Jeff Farrar

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Marc Kaplan
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Alison Porpora
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Alison Porpora

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Mark Kronenthal
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Mark Kronenthal

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Emily Klinedinst
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Does this include that boarded-up school building?

Rebecca Parker
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What is a negative safety implication of a central parking lot?

Rebecca Parker
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The building that is the same in both schematics, I think

Liz Opalak
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Liz Opalak

Both renderings include the school house which CAR has already approved the rehabilitation of. The concerns over safety involving the parking lot were that in the original rendering there is one rear entrance for 30/36 units in the block long Jessamine St building. This issue is being addressed in the new design.

mary
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mary

BHC, CAR, and Union Hill… There has been opposition to Union Hill residents asking the city to abide by its own rules. Some people, including BHC members, have been reduced to calling names. Others simply say that BHC is a nice bunch that’s done good things and therefore – we ought to let them do what they want to do. Jefferson Mews is touted as a jewel by BHC in its “good works” crown; but it should be noted that the history of Jefferson Mews and BHC is very similar to what’s currently going on in Union Hill. What was… Read more »

Chloe
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Chloe

Are the new drawings accurate with regards to the play area being taken out to allow space for the split up apartment buildings? Or is there something in regard to a public space or play area that I’m missing?

Don O'Keefe
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Don O'Keefe

This looks much better than the previous plan. The corner should be occupied to maintain and improve the fabric of the district, as is shown in the update. Varied building height and massing will give the street frontage a more natural and attractive appearance. The heights could be increased, but given what is possible in this conservative city, it seems reasonable. Sadly, parking is still a requirement, but at least its impact on the street has been mitigated.

Liz Opalak
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Liz Opalak

The play area has been removed in this iteration. The reason it was in the initial plans was to maintain the view of the Citadel when coming up Venable St (aside from the obvious use).

Cadeho
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Cadeho

Pretty soon, the only way to see an old gas station would be in pictures or way out in the country…

JulesT
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JulesT

These plans appear to address some previous concerns. They’re not perfect but they should be seriously evaluated by civic association and CAR.

I’ve had personel run ins with CAR but, I am pleased such an organization is in place to protect these communities from ourselves, developers and civic groups ( yes, civic groups can get a bit out of control with demands etc at times)_ CAR is a valuable gateway committee and they are doing a very nice job overall. Hats off to everyone but, be very careful when allowing exemptions to standards.

Liz Opalak
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Liz Opalak

Cadeho the gas station and the neighboring lot are owned by BHC but are not being developed during this project and so are not included in this site plan. A senior BHC member has commented there are plans to develop the gas station into commercial space at a future date.