The BRA yesterday approved plans to turn a lot that has been vacant for four decades into 40 units of housing - and a "peace park" with walkways in the shape of a peace symbol at Blue Hill Avenue and Quincy Street.
The Community Builders' proposed Clarion building would also feature space for shops on the first floor.
BRA board members voted unanimously for the $12-million project, but members Ted Landsmark and Mike Monahan questioned how "contemplative" people could get on a plaza with no place to sit or get out of the sun.
BRA staffers and Community Builders' officials said they agreed to make the plaza less friendly to potential sitters - and to take out the proposed trees - because of concerns from nearby residents that the plaza would become a haven for neighborhood noisemakers and punks after dark. "The community really doesn't want people hanging out after hours," an official said.
However, they added they're hopeful that the commercial space closest to the plaza would be rented to a cafe, which would put out chairs - and possibly even umbrellas - for daytime use.
Monahan also suggested that Community Builders ensure contractors on the project hire students from Madison Park High School for apprentice programs to help learn the building trades.