Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Many Brighton Elected Officials Oppose BC's Proposed Brighton Dorms

Boston College's just-released 10-year master plan continues to include a proposal to build undergraduate dormitories on their Brighton Campus, i.e., the former St. John's Seminary land purchased by BC in 2004-2007. One of the buildings has been moved a few hundred feet away, and the combined number of beds was reduced from 600 to 500, but the current proposal is mostly similar to that proposed earlier in the year.

Representative Michael Moran of Brighton expressed his opposition in July to Boston College's proposal:
"I am disappointed that Boston College went down this road, especially after they promised the community that they would not be putting any undergraduate dormitories on that side of Comm Ave. I think they should pull back and re-evaluate.

If they are hoping to gain community support for other things in their master plan, it will be very difficult to gain support for their many other projects if they started off with not telling the community the truth.

The notion of building UG dorms on this side of Comm Ave is something I do not support."
Representative Kevin Honan of Brighton also expressed his opposition to the dorms in a July phone conversation:
"I don't support that [undergraduate dorms] on the St. John's Seminary, no I don't support that.

An opportunity exists for BC to build more housing on their Chestnut Hill campus. There is no longer an opposition to them building dense[ly] on their Main Campus. The community feels that they would rather see BC build on their Main Campus. Use the land over at St. John's for administrative offices and academic purposes."
During the campaign for the District 9 City Council seat, Councilor-elect Mark Ciommo repeatedly expressed his opposition to the dorms.

Senator Steve Tolman, when asked Tuesday for his position on the Brighton Dorms, was more circumspect, saying that he has not yet formed an opinion. As for the master plan, in general, that BC just released, Senator Tolman said, "I think it's a good first step. They're doing it straight... I don't think there's any problem that can't be worked out."

Mayor Thomas Menino has not expressed an opinion on the Brighton Dorms proposal, but has historically favored increased on-campus housing for Boston's universities and colleges. Reverend William Leahy, S.J., President of Boston College, said that "the Mayor hasn't given his seal of approval on each individual proposal, but the [overall master plan] concept is favorable to him because he likes having students on campus..."

Outgoing Councilor-At-Large Felix Arroyo, and his replacement, Councilor-Elect John Connolly, both oppose the Brighton Dorms. Other Councilors-At-Large either did not respond to the questionnaire (Councilor Stephen Murphy) or did not give clear answers for or against the proposal (Councilors Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty).

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