Viet-AID goes back to drawing board on Geneva Ave. plans

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Sep. 3, 2008

The developer of a proposed 29-unit affordable housing building in Fields Corner was asked to make changes to the project and negotiate with abutters late last month, forcing at least a six-month delay. Some observers--pairing the opposition to this project with blockers of a smaller four-story building at the former site of the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley--note a developing trend in Fields Corner that is anti-density, hamstringing sizable investment in the area.

The Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development (Viet-AID) was set on meeting an Aug. 11 deadline to apply for city affordable housing funding, but could not settle down a late flurry of opposition from recently notified abutters in time. The abutters--raising alarms about the four-story height of the proposed building at Geneva Avenue and Bloomfield Street, parking and the overall number of units--rallied state Rep. Marty Walsh, Sen. Jack Hart and others to their cause, encouraging the Boston Redevelopment Authority to ask Viet-AID not to submit the project for approval until matters are resolved.

On the flip side, every neighborhood and civic association as well as the Main Streets organizations in the area supported the project and had been involved in its design for months, setting off confrontations at recent project meetings as to who was and who wasn't from the neighborhood, though many abutters do belong to (and some head up) the civic associations.

Nina Nguyen, one of two interim directors at Viet-AID and the one who is overseeing real estate development, referred questions to project manager My Lam, who did not return several phone calls for comment.