Case Study on Housing
If you look at the Allston Green District (Brainerd Rd.), this multi-building project was built for $75 million and was sold for $148 million. This calculates to a construction cost of about $300K per unit. Once built and rented out, the developer sold these buildings to an insurance company for about $600k per unit, which one can assume was still profitable to rent out at those current prices.
Since all Project 80 buildings are a violation of Article 51 zoning code, the city could have negotiated with the developer to make condos and sell them for $400k or $450k. This would still have given the developers a profit but would have created ownership opportunities for the community.
However, the city gifted variances to the developer, giving them huge profit opportunities, selling/renting it on the backs of the Allston-Brighton people.
By granting these variances, Boston is taking from existing landlords (big and small), and is giving money to a larger developer and larger landlord. Historically, these mega-landlord companies have not treated tenants or the neighborhood well. If the new developments were condos, the effect to smaller landlords would be limited or not noticeable and the benefit to the community would be huge to have more permanent residents rather than yearly renters.
Safety and Infrastructure
The issue of safety is one of Eric’s top priorities as a candidate due to the upcoming increase of populations by an estimated 35%-45% (28,000-39,000 people). Eric is committed to examining basic safety issues such as water, sewer, electric, fire, police, ambulance, roads, etc. that are being overlooked which clearly are imperative to protect the residents of Allston-Brighton. Eric will work with the various city agencies to confirm these safety issues are being addressed during this unprecedented growth this district is experiencing.
There needs to be a plan for infrastructure direction to match the level of new units built.
Neighborhoods with rapid development such as the Seaport fell victim to overdevelopment with no additional schools or fire/police departments.
We cannot let this happen to our district. With rampant growth In Allston-Brighton, Eric Porter is concerned that a few of these new buildings will go back to the banks like what happened 2008 and even in the late 1980s. Once this happens the decision will need to be made whether to make them low income housing, or condos with affordable ownership options. The choice is clear to Eric that condos and greater ownership would have a much larger impact and improvement to the community that has less than 10% owner occupied homes.
Accountability to Allston-Brighton Residents
It can be seen in today’s political world that the agenda of organized groups are taking precedence over that of individuals (the residents). Most residents do not have the time to constantly plead or fight for their needs and/or concerns as they lead a normal life and feel very neglected by their local politicians. Many Allston-Brighton residents are exhausted by the number of meetings they have to go to just to try to maintain their neighborhood.
The job of the City Councilor is to represent the residents to the City and speak on their behalf and fight for what the residents want. Eric Porter has proven the willingness to take on these challenges for his neighborhood and has even won legal battles that are nationally recognized to set future precedent that benefit all Boston residents.
While many, very smart people have been working on transit issues for decades, it’s challenging for anyone to claim to have the magic bullet. Eric is a daily bicyclist and feels the city has done a great job adding bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes. As City Councilor, Eric will review the extensive amount of internal reports that have been written about Boston transportation to fully understand the constraints of the current transportation system and discuss with MBTA and City.
Witha full understanding of the current and future challenges these transportation departments struggle with, Eric will act on the behalf of the residents A revised plan may require sharing the constraints with the residents so that not only a reasonable understanding can be established but also a collective intelligence can create new ideas.
Taxes and Improvements
Over the last 20 years, real estate taxes have seen a fourfold increase. Factoring in the massive increase in new construction in Allston-Brighton, the total amount of money the City of Boston has collected from Allston-Brighton is substantial.
On the contrary, the roads are not four times better,
there has been minimal infrastructure improvement on the public side, and even simple things like the decorations for festive year-end holidays have actually been decreased in our district. Eric will push for improvements for our neighborhood that the City of Boston outright owes its residents.
Raised by Depression-era parents Eric was taught about recyling and living minimally long before these environmental concerns became a popular issue. When purchasing products, Eric has always considered plastic waste and excessive packaging, to favor the products with the least amount of waste. This mindset has carried over to many area on how Eric approaches environmental concerns and the effects of modern industry has on the planet.
Eric’s plan is to ensure Allston-Brighton meets and exceeds Boston recycling initiatives and will look for new ways our residents can make ecological choices.