Drew Starr could only stare in amazement at this person's parking job on Mass. Ave. near the Christian Science Center today: Too far from the curb, in a handicap space and with "a crushed bike lane marker underneath."
Missing Dogs Massachusetts reports Hercules was in a carrier bag snatched yesterday from the South Station bus terminal. He's six years old, two lbs. and was wearing a neon-green harness. If you see him, call 774-955-6541.
The Board of Appeal today approved a 129-unit, six-story apartment building at Brighton Avenue and Linden Street after developers said they would rent no more than a third of the units to students - and not allow students to occupy any unit at a density greater than one student per bedroom.
Noah Maslan of Eden Properties agreed to take the steps - along with reducing the number of studio units - to keep the building from becoming an extension of the GAP - the area behind that stretch of Brighton Avenue that is loaded with BU students. Some 17 of the units will be rented to people who make no more than 70% of the area median income.
The building will have 79 parking spaces. Maslin said he will do a number of things to reduce residents' desire for cars, including giving out a CharlieCard for each unit, adding a Hubway station and installing a real-time alert board in the lobby for nearby bus lines and the Green Line.
The building's first floor will be rented for commercial uses.
The mayor's office and city councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton), Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) and Michael Flaherty (at large) supported the project. Ciommo said the building is just a 13-minute walk - and an even shorter bike ride - to the new Boston Landing commuter-rail stop.
Carol Ridge Martinez, executive director of the Allston/Brighton Community Development Corp., noted that some residents wanted Maslan to increase Allston's small home-ownership supply by marketing the units as condos, but said that particular location, on a busy commercial street and bordered by a student-heavy area, just isn't ready for that. She added that Allston rents have begun to stabilize and that adding 129 more apartments would further help Allston become at least a bit less unaffordable.
Douglas Bacon, who owns the White Horse Tavern across the street, along with three other restaurants in Allston/Brighton, also praised the proposal. He said even his higher-paid workers can no longer afford to live in Allston. Scott Matalan, owner of Regeneration Tattoo and a member of the Allston Board of Trade, made a similar argument in supporting the project.
Also backing the proposal: Anabella Gomes, president of the Brighton-Allston Improvement Association.
But Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, said the building was simply too dense - three floors taller than the three-floor maximum residents and the city had set for the area several years ago.
Eva Webster, co-chair of the Homeowners Union of Allston-Brighton, said the low numbers of owner-occupied units in Allston is "outrageous" and "unconscionable" and said she did not understand how the board could allow Eden Properties to "create generational wealth for themselves on the back of Allston renters."
The Board of Appeal narrowly voted today to reject a 14-by-48-foot electronic billboard towering above the Massachusetts Turnpike after residents said they wanted fewer billboards, not more, especially not the sort that one resident said would be "glaring through my back windows."
The proposal for the computer-controlled billboard mounted atop a 60-foot-tall pole at 88-94 Lincoln St. was supported by Mayor Walsh, although a liaison did not say why, and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, which said the Amber Alerts and other messages it would flash would prove an aid to public safety.
Both the Allston Civic Association and the Brighton-Allston Improvement Association opposed the proposal.
ACA President Paul Berkeley said residents have been trying since the turnpike was built through the neighborhood decades ago to get property owners to take down billboards. "I feel like we unfortunately targeted for more billboards because of our location," he said. And atop a 60-foot pole, this one in particular, "you don't need to live next door to see it."
The BPDA also opposed the proposal, as did city councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) and Annissa Essaibi-George (at large).
The zoning board voted 4-3 to reject the proposal.
The Board of Appeal voted today to let developers John Morrissey and Michael Forde replace a vacant stretch of stores on Belgrade Avenue near the Bellevue commuter-rail stop with a four-story building that will house 21 apartments, first-floor retail space and 24 underground parking spaces.
The number of parking spaces is less than required by zoning, but the developers noted the commuter-rail platform is 200 feet from the building and that Belgrade Avenue has five bus lines running down it. The building is slightly shorter than an existing residential building on the other side of the dead end near the train station. In its approval, the board required the developers to work with the BPDA to ensure the building does not overpower the triple deckers on its other side on Belgrade.
The mayor's office and City Councilor Tim McCarthy (Roslindale, Mattapan, Hyde Park) supported the proposal. Nobody spoke against.
The Board of Appeal today unanimously approved variances needed for construction of a three-to-four-story apartment building off Walk Hill and Canterbury streets that will include a neighborhood shuttle bus to the Forest Hills T stop and money to help middle-income people buy homes in Roslindale and Mattapan.
The $32-million Walk Hill Residences, which would replace an existing floral shop, restaurant space and single-family home, will include 106 apartments - 12 affordable - and 147 parking spaces, most in an underground garage.
Developers Nabil Boghos, Charles Gill and Michael Biszko will put $410,000 in a Department of Neighborhood Development fund specifically for helping middle-income people buy homes in Roslindale and Mattapan and $50,000 into a city fund aimed at installing street measures to slow traffic. They will also work with the city to change the light sequences at the intersection of Walk Hill and American Legion and clean up and preserve the brook that runs along American Legion.
The BPDA approved the proposal earlier this month.
Richard Heath, a Jamaica Plain resident who participated in a BPDA review of the project, praised the developers for both shrinking the overall size and working to increase the number of rental units in a part of the city that needs them.
But city councilors Andrea Campbell (Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale) and Anissa Essaibi-George (at large) joined with nearby residents who opposed the project.
Rick Yoder, co-chair of the Mt. Hope/Canterbury Neighborhood Association, said the number of parking spaces is simply too low in a neighborhood where people are forced to own cars because the public transportation is so poor, and predicted many of the building's residents will try to park on nearby streets.
He said he was also concerned that the developers would continue to maintain the green space along American Legion Highway, which he said is officially a parkway, not a highway.
Other residents said building remains too massive for a neighborhood of single-family, duplex and triple-decker buildings.
Faith Girdler said that the building would tower over nearby trees. She paraphrased Joyce Kilmer: "I'm sure I will never see, a condo park, as lovely as a tree."
Eugenie Williams said a large apartment building violates BPDA planning guidelines that call for new structures to be "compatible" with their surrounding neighborhood.