Maria Quiñones-Sanchez’s house on North Hancock Street faces the St. Boniface campus. And last month she introduced legislation
to rezone the blocks
surrounding Norris Square - from Front to Second, York to Berks – to preclude multi-family housing development.
That change alone could make it harder for NSCA to build limited-equity co-op housing at St. Boniface, particularly given the Zoning Board of Adjustment's deference to district Council Members.
NSCA’s executive director Patricia DeCarlo told the crowd Monday that the $5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program II
(NSP II) funding for the housing component
is a match for $5 million in state funding
toward the other three buildings. Because the funding is connected, the entire St. Boniface project could be scuttled if NSCA can’t get variances after a zoning change. (Making the demolition of St. Boniface church even harder to stomach.)
So when Maria Quiñones-Sanchez hosted a community meeting in Norris Square Monday, about 100 neighbors turned out wondering what gives?
For about an hour of intense conversation – often shouting over each other, switching between Spanish and English - Quiñones-Sanchez went back and forth with NSCA supporters who were clearly not ready to give up on the St. Boniface project so easily.
NSCA supporters complained that Quiñones-Sanchez has an “axe to grind.” Even neighbors who have supported Quiñones-Sanchez were confused about the Councilwoman’s motivations for her rezoning proposal. A lot of folks were wondering why NSCA and Quiñones-Sanchez are butting heads.
Quiñones-Sanchez said she's advancing the rezoning because she thinks NSCA’s plan for St. Boniface is an overuse of the site, and more generally to make sure neighbors get more notice about multi-family conversions and proposed developments because those projects will require a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.