Saturday, 2:15 PM
Task force presses city on BC expansion plan
By Peter Schworm, Globe staff
A community task force reviewing Boston College's proposed expansion is urging city officials to seek "substantial modifications" to the plan and require a 10-year moratorium on expansion into the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.
In a strongly worded 17-page letter received Monday, the Allston-Brighton advisory group cited a range of concerns about the $1 billion campaign's impact on the neighborhood. It voiced opposition to the university's plan to build dormitories for 500 undergraduates on its Brighton campus, the former headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.
Instead, it urged the college to house those students on the college's main Chestnut Hill campus and called for a 10-year moratorium on expansion to "safeguard Allston-Brighton's residential character." The panel asked city officials to deny the college a permit to convert a high-rise apartment complex near its campus on Commonwealth Avenue into a dormitory unless it accepted the conditions.
The panel also criticized the college for not being "fully responsive to Task Force and community concerns," and urged city officials to "respect those concerns by holding BC accountable."
College officials were reviewing the letter and could not immediately comment.
The 12-member task force was appointed by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and carries significant influence over city decisions on college expansions. As a result, its critical stance likely puts pressure on the college to adjust its proposal to neighborhood concerns.
This summer, Menino said he opposed BC's plans for the off-campus dormitory, which would house 560 students, and urged the college to make room for students on its main campus.
College officials view the expansion as critical to its long-term success, and say they cannot reach their goal of guaranteeing undergraduates four years of campus housing without new dormitories in Brighton and on Commonwealth Avenue. In June, the college announced plans to build new dormitories for nearly 1,300 students to quell neighborhood complaints about unruly students.
BC now houses about 85 percent of undergraduates on campus, and neighbors frequently complain about disruptions caused by students who live in the neighborhoods.
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