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I find this opinions expressed in this letter to be disappointing.

UPNA responds to Pine Street Inn Welcoming Committee
South End News, May 1, 2008

The following is intended to respond to the recent statements made by a group created with the assistance of Pine Street Inn that ironically refers to itself as a “welcoming committee.” Specifically, this ’Pine Street Inn Political Cartel’ (hereafter “Cartel”) has made erroneous and divisive statements that merit a stern rebuke from the Union Park Neighborhood Association (UPNA).

From the UPNA’s perspective, the Cartel was created ostensibly for the purpose of declaring our neighborhood anti-homeless and, in essence, welcoming itself to our neighborhood. This neighborhood considers the theme and specificity of the attacks not only inaccurate, but offensive.

This neighborhood has a rich history of supporting both diversity and the Pine Street Inn. As you know, many of the UPNA’s members have proudly provided or offered assistance to Pine Street in the past. The Cartel is launching criticism on a neighborhood that has been very supportive of Pine Street’s mission. As we all know, many neighborhoods in our city have informed Pine Street that it is not welcome – but not ours. And the Cartel’s implication that no objection is legitimate when it comes to a proposed Pine Street complex is unfortunate, unconstructive, and disrespectful of the process all organized neighborhoods follow when engaging proponents of major projects in their midst.

First, this neighborhood’s objections to Pine Street’s proposed complex for Upton Street are related solely to its size and scale. This neighborhood, long before the Cartel was created, made it clear to Pine Street that it supported its efforts to create housing in our area but felt the proposed complex’s size was disproportionately large.

Second, the UPNA held three public meetings over a period of seven months beginning in June of 2007, regarding Pine Street’s proposal to create a 15,500 square foot rooming house on Upton Street. The first meeting provided a presentation of a concept with the general plan of 30-40 units. The plan was overwhelmingly rejected by the neighborhood as being too large. Pine Street officials at the meeting said they understood the objections of the neighborhood and would come back with a smaller proposal.

The revised proposal was not smaller; instead it was on the high range of the original plan. Understandably, this neighborhood considered Pine Street’s response to the public meeting cynical and indicative of its “neighbors be damned” approach since June of 2007.

Third, the Cartel wrongly insists that the Pine Street proposal is a private matter and public debate of its merits should be squelched. There is very little “private” about the proposed complex. The majority of funds expended by Pine Street (59 percent) are provided by taxpayer dollars, Pine Street will be paying significantly less property taxes than if the property is sold as single family houses or condominiums, and we believe that Pine Street will need zoning approval for its proposal.

Fourth, the Pine Street proposed complex is simply too large. The Cartel’s strategy attempts to trivialize this legitimate concern of a small residential street. The Pine Street proposal will be drastically larger than any of its other facilities on residential streets in the South End. The concerns of the neighborhood do not deserve to be minimized or circumvented by the Cartel.

Pine Street should return to legitimate discussions with the neighborhood about the size of its proposed complex – not creating cartels with the small number of supporters in our neighborhood. UPNA continues to be willing to discuss the issue of the proposed size in good faith with Pine Street. Pine Street should expect no less from its officers and constituencies.

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