Boston Uber driver charged with raping passenger in Newton last fall

An Uber driver who picked up a woman in Boston raped her, then dropped her off at Boston College, the Middlesex County District Attorney's office charges.

Luis Baez, also known as Pedro Valentin, had bail set at $2,500 today at his arraignment on three counts of rape in Newton District Court, the DA's office reports.

According to prosecutors, Baez, 34, picked the woman up in Boston on Sept. 29, then "drove her to a location other than her requested destination where he proceeded to sexually assault her."

Investigators were able to find him in part due to "information stored in the application from the victim’s ride request," the DA's office says.

Innocent, etc.

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink on Hyde Park's Fairmount Hill

A contractor managed to take out a water main in the area of Milton Avenue and Spring Hill Road this afternoon, cutting off water to people along Milton Avenue.

Darryl Houston reports the outage could extend as far as Warren Avenue. He reports BWSC workers managed to get water flowing again tonight, but that they didn't seem absolutely sure repairs would hold until the morning.

'Asian-influenced seafood' could be landing on South End/Bay Village line

The Board of Appeal today approved plans to replace an old pet-care place at the lonely corner of Tremont and Herald streets with a new seafood place that would offer outdoor seating in warmer months.

Stephen Chan's proposed Bootleg Specials would feature "Asian-influenced seafood," his attorney told the board. The restaurant would have 80 seats indoors and 28 outdoors, along with a 16-seat bar and room for another 16 people to mill about near the bar.

Chan is hoping to stay open until midnight most nights and 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and to offer brunch on weekends.

Chan still needs permission from the Boston Licensing Board to serve food and must either buy a liquor license on the open market or hope the board just happens to have a spare one when he files an application there.

His proposal was supported by the mayor's office - which said residents have been asking for something to go into the "very quiet corner" for a long time - and City Councilor Bill Linehan.

New Jamaica Plain apartment building with all affordable units wins approval

Architect's rendering.

The Board of Appeals today approved a 44-unit apartment building on Amory Street in Jackson Square that will have some units priced low enough for people making under $35,000 a year to afford.

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp.'s proposal will fill in a vacant lot that has been empty since it was condemned for the I-95 extension that never was, down the street from a mixed-income building the group built.

Backers of the project, who included the mayor, city councilors Matt O'Malley, Michael Flaherty and Tito Jackson, and several residents who got to City Hall for a hearing in the middle of a workday, said the project will bring much needed middle-income and low-income housing to a neighborhood that has become one of the prime examples of gentrification at work.

One resident praised the project for setting aside units even for people who don't make anything near the area median income. He said other JP developers have offered "fake affordable housing" out of reach for many of the area's longtime residents. Although proponents emphasized JP's particularly acute need, apartments would be open to all Boston residents meeting certain income requirements.

Some 29 of the units will have either two or three bedrooms.

The building, located a short walk from the Jackson Square Orange Line station, will have 22 parking spaces.

The BRA approved the building last year.

South Boston building juggernaut slows ever so slightly as zoning board actually rejects proposal

The Board of Appeal today rejected an East 5 Street resident's proposal to raze a garage and replace it with a two-family home with six parking spaces.

The board expressed reservations about Alex Lanstein's proposal to put two glass or translucent garage doors right at the street on a block consisting of brick-fronted buildings.

"It's a little jarring for the streetscape," board member Mark Ehrlich said.

The mayor's office and city councilors Bill Linehan, Michael Flaherty and Annissa Essaibi-George also opposed the proposal, in part because original plans called for a roof deck, which Lanstein said he had removed from the plans. Two neighbors, however, rose to oppose his proposal for allowing access to the roof by way of a headhouse rather than a hatch, saying a headhouse would let him come back later and request permission for a deck.

Fans of seeing every last square inch of South Boston built bigger and higher, however, also had decisions to thrill them at today's zoning hearings.

The board unanimously approved Mark DiPierro's proposal to replace his one-story glass business on a 671-square-foot lot at 277 Dorchester St. with a new office with three one-bedroom apartments stacked on top. The mayor's office, Linehan and Flaherty supported the proposal.

The board also approved Timothy Johnson's plans to replace a garage at 194 K St. with a four-story, three-family condo building with an elevator and a roof deck for the topmost unit. The top condo would, in addition to the elevator, have exterior access by a stairway down a neighboring builing he also owns, as well as six parking spaces that would be shared with that building.

The mayor's office and Linehan and Flaherty supported the proposal. One neighbor opposed, saying South Boston is just getting too congested with all the new development going on.

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