Not all South Boston construction approved: Board rejects addition to triple decker on East 6 Street

The Board of Appeals today rejected a triple-decker owner's request to extend the three floors of his building at 712 East 6 St. after the mayor's office, newly elected City Councilor Ed Flynn and residents said the new space would harm the character of the neighborhood and cause potential public-safety issues - even though the proposal met all the zoning requirements for its lot.

That Mathew O'Hara's proposal to add about 635 square feet of space to his building - which would let him increase the number of bedrooms from seven to nine - was before the zoning board is because the property sits in an "interim planning overlay district," that was created by the BPDA as it works out overall zoning for South Boston and which requires zoning-board approval for any new projects.

One nearby resident said City Point's triple deckers represent a historic part of neighborhood architecture and that letting O'Hara extend his triple decker would "set a dangerous precedent for the destruction of that precious architectural heritage." He added the extension would increase the risk of a major conflagration by moving the building that much closer to its neighbors to the rear, would reduce their privacy and would restrict air circulation there, as well as remove some open space in a neighborhood without much of that. He added the interim zoning was put in place to stop such an "egregious project."

Another resident presented the board with a petition signed by some 409 nearby residents in opposition. In addition to the mayor's office and Flynn, the offices of City Councilor Michael Flaherty and state Rep. Nick Collins also opposed the proposal.

O'Hara's attorney, George Morancy, said the opposition was unfair. "I understand that people don't like it, but my client is playing by the rules," he said. He said the zoning for the lot requires a rear setback of 20 feet, and that even with the extension, the enlarged building would be 31 feet away from the rear lot line. And the expanded building would have a "floor/area ratio" - a measurement of density - of 1.8, when the current zoning would have allowed a ratio of 2. And even with the extension, the lot would still have "700 square feet of true green space."

But only board member Anthony Pisani sided with O'Hara.

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Comments

Triple deckers as

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Triple deckers as architectural heritage?

Is this real life?

Also, if a building complies with code, why in the world in the midst of an affordability crisis are we stopping construction?

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If the building doesn't have

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If the building doesn't have landmark protection, there shouldn't be any restrictions to modifying it because it's historic.

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Probably casting shade on

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Probably casting shade on that prime triple-double deluxe street parking real estate. We don't want that to depreciate.

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Do a 180 on that street view

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Do a 180 on that street view and check out the historical, architectural gem right across the street. Clearly he pissed off someone in city hall or whatever.

Couple fallacies here...

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Jumping to Conclusions

(That it's automatically true he pissed off someone in City Hall with no evidence.)

Cherry-picking Fallacy

(That taxes aren't fueling our free society because you found one example*)

*That you baselessly believe just because you automatucally pass all blame for anything to the government.

hmmm

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"after the mayor's office, newly elected City Councilor Ed Flynn and residents said the new space.."

Ahhh that's it, someone with the Mayor's ear didn't want this to happen.

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At the Southie candidate

At the Southie candidate forum I attended, Mike Kelley pandered even harder to the local NIMBY crowd, so there wasn't much choice in that election.

When I was a kid in Westie and our neighbors put on an extension that covered up half their back yard, we did nothing, because that's what you did when you got richer and it was their property and none of our damn business.

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The truth? The mayor could care less

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And I don't mean that in a bad way, but short of a GE or Winthrop Square-sized project, the mayor himself just doesn't get involved (which, when you think of it, is probably a good thing - can you imagine how much time the mayor would have to spend on stuff like this?).

So how does the mayor's office decides whether to support or oppose most small projects like this one? The neighborhood liaison in the mayor's office convenes and then goes to abutters' and neighborhood meetings. And then he or she takes the side of whichever opinion is in the majority. It happens with zoning/BRA hearings and it happens with licensing hearings all the time; in fact, typically the liaison will cite the majority opinion specifically in supporting or opposing whatever is up for discussion.

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NIMBYs

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NIMBYs gonna NIMBY

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Hilarious

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"One nearby resident said City Point's triple deckers represent a historic part of neighborhood architecture and that letting O'Hara extend his triple decker would "set a dangerous precedent for the destruction of that precious architectural heritage."

Is this guy a comedian? God forbid Boston modifies one of its tripple deckers to increase bedroom count. Not too many of those left, gotta preserve those architectural gems as is. I dont even think Id be able to identify it as a tripple decker with a whopping 650 additional square feet added to the back of the house... which you cant see from the street.

"He added the extension would increase the risk of a major conflagration by moving the building that much closer to its neighbors to the rear, would reduce their privacy and would restrict air circulation there, as well as remove some open space in a neighborhood without much of that."

LOL. Sounds like this guy has some real gems for neighbors. You live in Southie but you want privacy and open space. Thats adorable. I wanted a seat on the T this morning :(

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Precious architectural heritage?

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So building a blacksmith's shed or chicken coop or other home business use in the back yard would be fine by them?

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They didn't

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The chairwoman called for a vote and they voted without saying why - except for Pisani, who explained that he didn't like the idea of rejecting a proposal that met all the basic zoning requirements.

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Just gonna go ahead and assume

This wasn't some big time developer.

Because if were, the city would have bent over backwards to make it happen, while telling the opposing residents where they can stick their petition.

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O'Hara

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O'Hara's a small time developer that's done a bunch of filp jobs. There's always construction debris lying beside his projects for months. I'm far from a NIMBY, but he's the type of person folks should protect their neighborhood from.

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Law < Opinion

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There may or may not be statues or regulations on the books on the timely disposal of construction materials from job sites, but regardless of the legal standpoint neighbors do watch these things and word gets around, which may result in 409 people signing a petition against a builder requesting an appeal on a building ordinance.

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Like most things that get

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Like most things that get opposed in South Boston, the crying and complaining comes from people that got priced out and live on the south shore but have a second cousin that still lives in boston.

city hall isn't going to spend the time to see if the people actually live in South Boston.

Door to door

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The old fashioned way....the direct abutters took the time to go door to door, rang bells and explained the impact to them. They also took the time to go to City Hall and face the Zoning Board. There is not a homeowner in Southie today that has not been impacted by overdevelopment and greed so I don't think it was too difficult to get signatures.
Nine bedrooms in Southie today equates to at least nine people and at least nine cars with no parking available or required. Southie today is not made up of families or even singles living alone. It is roommates that advertise and sublet on Craig's list because a family or single cannot afford the rents.
These places are not being developed and priced for a family or affordable housing. They are developed to get the largest ROI.

Stop forcing false narratives...

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“Nine bedrooms in Southie today equates to at least nine people and at least nine cars with no parking available or required.”

No it doesn’t. I live in a three-story home converted to three condo units. We have 7 bedrooms, 6 adults (living in only 3 of the bedrooms as couples, with the other 4 BRs used for occasional guests and therefore almost always empty), 4 cats, 1 dog, 1 car. We all use public transportation and we walk our dog to her vet appointments. The neighbor with a car is gracious enough to lend it to the rest of us on occasion if we need it. There’s a Zipcar lot 1 block from our home.

Stop forcing false narratives. There are no absolutes in who now lives in Southie or how.

new space would harm the

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new space would harm the character of the neighborhood and cause potential public-safety issues - even though the proposal met all the zoning requirements for its lot.

wow, NIMBYism at its worst.

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If this was on the West side

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If this was on the West side it would be approved despite neighborhood objection. Down here in the 'lower end' a person can practically reach out their window and touch a new or renovated developement next to or behind them.