Joined by district City Councilor Matt O'Malley, residents in the area of Weld and Centre streets once again told developers their proposed replacement for the collapsing old Weld-American gas station is just too big.
The latest proposal from the developers calls for 16 residential units and a commercial unit that would be limited through a deed restriction to professional use, for example, by a lawyer or accountant. An earlier design featured 17 residential units and no commercial space.
Although the four-story building meets zoning requirements for the West Roxbury Centre Street corridor, residents on Hazelmere Road behind the property said it would tower over their land, which sits in the Roslindale single-family-home zone, especially because the land slopes down from Centre towards their property.
Residents said a proposed roof deck would mean loud, disruptive parties that would reduce their property values. And they said the 26 parking spaces were just not enough. Especially when combined with the elimination of the illegal spaces in front of the gas station now, the result would mean a flood of cars parked on nearby residential streets, they said.
One resident expressed the fear that the rooftop HVAC units for the condos would vent a mist of deadly Legionnaire's Disease into the neighborhood below.
O'Malley and residents said they could probably support a three-story building, and said they were appreciative of the efforts to do something about the eyesore the gas station has been for more than 20 years - although one resident said the station has become even more of an eyesore in the year since John Sullivan and Gary Martell bought the property.
Martell said he's sitting on a $5.5-million bank loan and that he's not sure how much smaller he can go. He and his architect said city ordinances require they provide some sort of open space for the building's residents.
Martell said he could provide this through balconies on each of the units, but said that might be more intrusive for residents than a single roof deck. When residents said the difference is a roof deck could be used for rambunctious parties - one predicted police resources would be drained by the constant need to respond there - while balconies are too small for that, Martell questioned how the condo dwellers' parties would be any different than the ones residents of single-family homes could throw.