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Developer withdraws plans for Harvard Street apartment building, will aim for smaller project

An architect's rendering of the proposed housing development at 429 Harvard Street. Photo courtesy of Oak Hill Properties.
July 9, 2024

The developer behind a controversial proposal to build an apartment building on Harvard Street has withdrawn his plans and will pursue a smaller building instead.

Town officials and neighbors were frustrated by Oak Hill Properties’ original proposal, which called for a six-story, 40-unit building at 429 Harvard Street, the site of a shuttered Citizens’ Bank.

The company wanted to move forward under 40b, the state’s so-called “anti-snob” zoning law, which allows developers of mixed-income or affordable housing to override zoning regulations in communities where fewer than 10% of the housing is affordable.

Click here to read the previous Brookline.News coverage of the proposal.

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The Select Board drafted a letter to the state arguing that the project should not be allowed to move forward under 40b, and that the project was not aligned with the town’s recent rezoning of Harvard Street, which was approved by Town Meeting last fall

However in a letter sent on July 8, Oak Hill’s managing member Ashkan Sanieoff told state officials the company would withdraw the application for a 40b, and instead will develop plans for a smaller building that complies with the four-story zoning guidelines for Harvard Street.

“We strongly believe that this is an excellent location for a mixed income housing development and retail and our team looks forward to working with the town and neighborhood to craft a project under the new zoning,” wrote Sanieoff.

The Select Board was scheduled to discuss the project further at its meeting on Tuesday night, but postponed the discussion until a later date.