Roxbury Corners Coop Files Injunction to Stop Tubman House Closing, Demo

The full-court pressure returned to the Tubman House project this week, as a preliminary injunction and civil complaint was filed in Suffolk Superior Civil Court on Aug. 18 for United South End/Lower Roxbury Development Corporation (also known as Roxbury Corners Coop off of Columbus Avenue).

Attorney Brian Kaplan filed the complaint and the injunction, but was not immediately available for comment on the matter when called by the Sun.

The complaint is listed as being against the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), United South End Settlements and 566 Columbus LLC (the developer New Boston Ventures).

Those listed by name as Plaintiffs include Carol Streiff, Carolyn Ray, Elizabeth Patricia Nolan, Connie Forbes, Lloyd Raymond Fillon and Quanda Burrell Nanton.

Some of those named have also been referred to as ‘Roxbury Voices.’

“The plaintiffs move this Court for a temporary restraining order – and, after notice and a hearing, a preliminary injunction – prohibiting the defendants and their agents from (a) demolishing the Harriet Tubman House, (b) closing on the sale of the property, (c) recording documents at the Registry that will eliminate a covenant restricting the property to non-profit community uses only, and (d) recording at the Registry other documents in furtherance of the Project described below,” read the motion. “These events are all imminent and will cause irreparable harm.”

It is described as a breach of contract case in the filing, and goes back to a 2001 settlement agreement where the BPDA promised to use its best efforts to allocate and whatever may be available for the develop with the South End Urban Renewal Area of:

•residential real estate projects with one-third low-income units, one-third moderate income units and one-third market rate units.

•other community benefits such as non-profit community facilities.

A man who brought suit against the project last year, abutter Jared Katsiane – whose suit was quickly dismissed in Superior Court at the time, has publicized a rally that was to happen Wednesday night after Sun deadlines. It was described as a community speak out to preserve the Tubman House, the Honor Roll Mural and Black history.

In a letter to the Sun this week, United South End Settlements and New Boston Ventures thanked their hundreds of supporters who lent support to the recent approval of the project by the South End Landmarks Commission.

“We at United South End Settlements and New Boston Ventures want to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of supporters who live, work and represent the South End neighborhood who helped ensure the success of our project over these many months,” read the letter, which appears fully elsewhere in the Sun. “The recent approval by the  South End Landmarks Commission will enable USES, a historic 128-year-old non-profit organization, to continue to provide early education, out of school time, and economic mobility programs to the hundreds of children and families we serve in the South End and Lower Roxbury community.”

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