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Frequently asked questions

How much will the rent be, and what is included?


Starting in 2020, 8 of the units will be rented for $650 a month and 6 of the units will be rented for $850 a month. The annual rent increases will be capped not to exceed the inflation rate as measured by the CPI (Consumer Price Index). For reference, the US Inflation rate was between 0 and 3% over the past 20 years, and it is expected to remain in that range for the foreseeable future. The monthly rent will include heat, cold and hot water. Each unit will have an electrical submeter and each resident will be able to track their energy usage in real time. Residents will be educated on ways to minimize their electrical usage. Since the dwellings are small and very efficient, it is expected that the typical electrical usage will be around 100 kWh/month per unit, adding about $20/month to the monthly rent. Residents who are mindful of their energy conumption will likely uses less than 100 kWH/month, or less than $20/month.




Who will be living at 141 Westville St?


The employees from our cafe will get priority for the lower priced units ($650 a month), and then preference will be given to applicants whose daily activities are within walking/biking distance or a reasonable public transit commuting time of 141 Westville St. Beyond that, this development is not meant to favor a demographic group over another. We will consider and welcome the application of anyone who can demonstrate that they will be respectful neighbors and pay the rent on time.




What about parking?


There will be zero car parking space (but plenty of indoor bike parking) on the property. Only people who do not own a car will be allowed to live at 141 Westville. It will be clearly spelled in the lease and strictly enforced.




Why rent only to people who don't own a car?


For multiple good reasons: 1) Providing off-street parking would greatly reduce the number of units that can be built on the lot and make them much more costly; they would no longer be affordable.
2) Since there is an acute shortage of affordable housing near dependable public transit stops, it is both fair and logical to give priority to people who need public transit the most and are going to use it most efficiently. People who can afford a car have a much wider range of options since they can reside in areas that are not well served by public transportation.
3) Bringing in addtional car-owning residents would increase traffic congestion and make street parking more challenging. It would likely be met with serious neighbor opposition. 4) As of 2018, the largest source of green gas emission in MA is transportation. Radically reducing car emissions whenever possible is the most efficient way to address the issue. Other impacts reflecting the developer's view are stated in a Wikipedia article titled "The effect of the car on societies"; "The modern negative consequences of heavy automotive use include the use of non-renewable fuels, a dramatic increase in the rate of accidental death, the disconnection of local community[5][6], the decrease of local economy[7], the rise in obesity and cardiovascular diseases, the emission of air and noise pollution, the emission of greenhouse gases, generation of urban sprawl and traffic, segregation of pedestrians and other active mobility means of transport, decrease in the railway network, urban decay and the high cost per unit-distance on which the car paradigm is based"




What amenities will be included in the building?


The lower level of the building will have two washers and two dryers for common use, secure indoor bike storage and a bike repair station. There is also a 210 sqft lounge/common room. Incoming residents will be involved in deciding on the use of that room. An outdoor shared patio will be provided at the rear of the building. The neighborhood and the rest of the City offer a great range of amenities within a relatively short distance.

Dedicating more of the building’s indoor space to public use would reduce the number of units available and greatly increase the rental cost of the remaining ones.

A city-owned vacant at the rear of 141westville was recently transformed into a small attractive public park/garden. It will provide the residents with some welcome greenery at their back door.




Have apartments this size been built recently in the City of Boston?


While the City of Boston has allowed for a few hundred units of micro-housing to be built in the Seaport District, the rent for these homes typically starts around $2000. They are only affordable to a small percentage of better off Bostonians and very much out of reach for the working class or anyone earning under $60k a year.

A more useful comparison is found an hour South of Boston. In Providence’s downtown area, the historic Arcade Mall building was recently redeveloped into 48 units of housing.

Half of them include a living area of 225 sqft and a monthly rent in the $700 to $800 range. Other units are larger and pricier. The developer reports that the smallest units are far more popular than the larger (and more expensive) units, attesting to the high demand for smaller and more affordble housing options. The success of this project is well documented in a popular video available on Youtube -see link below.