(Image courtesy Google Maps)
The city of Boston is moving forward with efforts to convert vacant city-owned lots into commercial urban farms.
The move is part of recently approved zoning that streamlined the process of developing farms in neighborhoods.
The Department of Neighborhood Development recently released guidelines for bidders for three lots in Roxbury and Dorchester, which the city expects will work well with the zoning. If farms are developed on the lots, they would be the first to utilize the new zoning.
Located on Ballou Avenue, Harold Street, and Akron Street, development guidelines were created for each of the locations, after the city met with neighbors and stakeholders.
The Ballou Avenue parcel includes four connected lots at 98-100 Ballou Ave., 102-103 Ballou Ave., 106-108 Ballou Ave., and 110-112 Ballou Ave.
Combined the lots total an approximate 19,970 square-feet and are valued at $140,800, according to the city’s Assessing Department.
“The development concept for this is site is to have a non-profit entity acquire the property and improve it such that the land is suitable for the production of food crops. These improvements must be designed in a manner that is complementary to the neighboring urban fabric,” read the Request for Proposals issued by DND for Ballou Avenue.
The RFP, the standard process followed by DND when selling property, guides potential developers and provides them with a blueprint for what the city and community would like to see happen at the property.
In addition to laying out the details of the parcels, the RFP also includes language that requires selected developers to appear before the community before projects are approved and limits what can be done at the sites, such as raising livestock.
The Harold Street parcel includes two vacant lots located at 225 Harold St. and 227 Harold St. Combined the lots total an approximate 12,699 square-feet and are valued at $79,500, according to the city’s Assessing Department.
The Harold Street parcel’s RFP is, for the most part, similar to the Ballou Avenue RFP and includes many of the same provisions.
Like with Ballou Avenue, the Harold Street RFP also provides protections for the community once a developer has been selected and is operating on the property, including how the site is maintained and how it interacts with the greater community.
On Akron Street, just one parcel has been advertised by DND.
Located at 3 Akron St., the parcel is approximately 8,762 square-feet and is valued at $65,700, according to the city’s Assessing Department.
The Akron Street’s RFP is similar to Ballou Avenue and Harold Street and provides language that requires additional public meetings and guidelines for the property’s upkeep.
All three of the RFPs have a submission deadline of January 22.
Public meetings were held for all of the sites and for the most part neighbors were supportive of seeing some sort of improvements at the properties, which in the past have been magnets for rubbish and other unwanted activities.
To read about the community meeting for Ballou Avenue, click here.
To read about the community meeting for Harold Street, click here.
To read about the community meeting for Akron Street, click here.
For a copy of the Ballou Avenue RFP, click here.
For a copy of the Harold Street RFP, click here.
For a copy of the Akron Street RFP, click here.