City Councilor Mike Ross is opposing Fisher College’s controversial plan to expand student housing in the Back Bay.
“Fisher College is a proud institution with a long history, but ultimately, I don’t think increasing residential housing in the Back Bay is a smart move,” said Ross, who is stepping down as District 8 city councilor after 14 years to run for mayor in November. “I don’t think I can support that.”
The college filed an Institutional Master Plan Notification Form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) on June 4, outlining its plans for the next decade, including the addition of 300 students to its enrollment; student-housing expansion of 177 new dormitory beds, bringing the total to 466, in the area of Berkeley and Arlington streets; the construction of a two-story rear addition at 118 Beacon St. and a roof terrace at the rear of 104-114 Beacon St.; and a change in usage for a building recently acquired by the school at 10-11 Arlington St. to administrative offices.
“For Fisher to succeed, it would require success for the Back Bay as well, which begins with not increasing student housing in the neighborhood,” Ross said. “I don’t think [this proposal] is good for the community, and ultimately, it’s not good for Fisher.”
Ross said in recent years, many other schools had relocated away from residential communities to the benefit of both the communities and the institutions themselves, suggesting that Fisher might consider a similar move. “I want Fisher to succeed in the Back Bay and will continue to work with them to achieve this,” Ross said. “But I can’t give them my support if they move forward with residential housing in the neighborhood.”