East Boston condos approved after owner removes three-bedroom units to keep students away

The Zoning Board of Appeals this week approved an Orient Height storeowner's proposal to put six condos atop his building after he reducing the total number of units - agreeing to eliminate planned three-bedroom units as a way to discourage somebody from buying a unit and renting it out to college students.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina (East Boston, Charlestown, North End), who originally opposed a planned four-story, nine-condo project at 1012-1016 Bennington St., spoke in support of the six-unit, three-story proposal at a board hearing on Tuesday.

He said the new proposal - which includes six parking spaces leased in a nearby parking lot - will bring a bit of new life to the area while at the same time minimizing the risk that students from across the harbor would seek to use its location across from the Orient Heights Blue Line stop as a convenient and cheaper base from which to disturb the neighborhood.

LaMattina said he originally hadn't planned to speak, instead letting an aide voice his support, but that was before he got e-mail from a constituent accusing him of selling out the neighborhood. He said he wants people to come into the neighborhood - as long as they're not students, at least:

I want them to invest in my neighborhood, i want them to live in my neighborhood, I want them to go to the dry cleaners down the street, I want them to go to the restaurants around the corner. That's what I want for my neighborhood.

City Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) also supported the proposal. State Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Back Bay) opposed the proposal. Livingstone does not represent East Boston, but is currently running in the state-senate district that covers the neighborhood.

Residents raised concerns about trash and about parking in a densely settled area at a busy intersections. A BTD representative also expressed concern about long-term parking plans for the building, should the nearby lot be sold.

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"I want them to invest in my

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"I want them to invest in my neighborhood, i want them to live in my neighborhood, I want them to go to the dry cleaners down the street, I want them to go to the restaurants around the corner. That's what I want for my neighborhood."

And then move out when they have kids. This city is going to become a city of young professionals and empty nesters.

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Going to become?

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Already is, with a few notable exceptions like West Roxbury. Same for Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville. Affordable housing (rent or own) = subsidized, Section 8 or public housing. Poor, mostly single women with children in public housing, ditto Section 8, and those who have no problem paying skyhigh rents and house/condo prices. The real socioeconomic diversity is now in the suburbs and outlying smaller cities.

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Um, you forgot a few places

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Like Roslindale, Dorchester and Hyde Park. Don't let your fixation on Section 8 blind you.

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Why do people forget Mattapan

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In particular, south of Morton Street. And the parts of Brighton further out from Commonwealth Avenue is full of families, too (but for how long is another story).

It's like I always say, people who like to talk down Boston should actually visit the places they talk about.

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And even Allston ...

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In particular, Lower Allston, although they might be on borrowed time as well, depending how how upscale Harvard makes the new neighborhood it's building.

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And I will wag a finger at myself

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Two words- East Boston

So yeah, there are neighborhoods that have a lot less families than they used to (I'm looking at you, Charlestown) but if you are looking around the city and not seeing families, you are downtown.

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East Boston is on a roll with

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East Boston is on a roll with new developments and improvements to existing properties, progression is what the people want, especially for those who have lived here long enough, 3 family residential homes in East Boston are on the market for seven days with multiple offers, before you know it , that 3 family home is immediately sold to the highest bidder, lifers who have lived here for generations are receiving 7 figures for their properties, sellers are receiving more than they're asking price, this is what your now seeing in East Boston. Jefferies Point was once the most sought after area of Eastie, now- it's just about anywhere in Eastie from Orient Heights to Central Sq from Eagle hill to Maverick Sq it's all highly priced properties.
Many homeowners are receiving mailings from Real Estate companies among them sotherbys and other Real Estate companies who deal with high end properties.

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Other people need 3-bed units, too

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I'm 25, out of school for 4 years now and I live in a 3-bed unit with 2 roommates. The majority of people I know that are under 30 live in 3bd+ units. That's really the only way to afford living here for many young people, not just college students

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seriously?

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Wouldn't a family be more likely to rent a 3 bedroom unit in East Boston than students? Great stuff LaMattina. You skillfully defeated that strawman AND helped ensure that the housing crisis in this city remains a chronic condition.

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I had a condo in the burbs,

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I had a condo in the burbs, 20 miles out from Boston. Private college nearby. Anyway, some parents bought a 2 bedroom condo next door for their kid, must have been at least 6 males living there. Parties every weekend, kegs of beer being carried in and out, teenage girls passed out on the lawn, loud music all night long, Friday-Sunday.

Condo people didn't have a clue what to do, minimal fines imposed, etc. I was told to close my blinds and not look out my windows, lol.

Went on for 2 years, those kids are probably doctors and lawyers now.

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Apparently, it's the thing to do

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Boston Globe, 10/29/15: College students latest wave to embrace East Boston.

Megan Post, a Weymouth native and senior at Suffolk, lives with Taylor Cole and a third roommate on Havre Street. They pay $750, $800 and $850 depending on the size of the bedroom, still cheaper than the approximately $1,300 per month (plus meal plan) for a dorm at Suffolk, which doesn’t guarantee students housing after their first year.

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In other words

They are adults who are wisely making appropriate and mature financial choices.

Good on 'em.

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Isn't it straightforward add

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Isn't it straightforward add a deed restriction to the 3 bedroom condos requiring them to remain owner occupied for, say, 50 years? That will keep most students out. Those type of restrictions are already in the deeds for affordable units. Plus there are a lot of condo associations out there that limit owners from renting units out.

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Oddly, while banks prefer to

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Oddly, while banks prefer to give mortgages to condos in buildings with high owner-occupancy, the same banks do not like to finance condo developments that put restrictions against renting in the bylaws.

Thanks to the banks, developers generally cannot promise these restrictions for new complexes.

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jokes on me

i was about to write "unbelievable", but lets be honest, it isnt remotely surprising

RIP

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Seriously

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The BTD is worried about parking? Since when? The BRA isn't worried about parking why should the BTD?

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"parking"

theyre "worried" about "parking"

which is funny because its a thing thats practically nonexistent in east boston anyway so i dont really see it getting worse.

its a damn shame the way things in this city are trending, with regards to housing, and what that means for a lot of people. its really, genuinely, a damned shame.

i guess the thing that i find most disturbing is that i feel like people in charge could do something about it, but don't. i don't know what they would or could do, that's not my job. but i feel like not moving in the exact wrong direction would be a good step 1.

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Students cram into anything

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Students cram into anything they can find. They move into illegal closets. A two bedroom is gold for several students.

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What you're saying is often true, anon, and

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often enough, it's produced rather serious problems, to boot.

Witness Binland Lee, the young woman who died in an Allston house fire back in 2013, for example. That was a direct result not only of a bunch of students cramming into any kind of housing they could find, but of the landlady in question doing illegal stuff, such as creating an attic bedroom in that house that did not have a second egress, like it was supposed to. Subsequently, Binland Lee was trapped. She had no way of getting out, and she died, as a result.

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Sounds like "coded" language

After all, Boston will never crack down on three recently-arrived families with sixteen people cramming into a three bedroom, so we have to remove these units because STUDENTS OMG STUDENTS.

Right. Wink. Nudge.

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idiots

Why aren't you building homes for families

OK - here's a 3 bedroom unit

No! take it away - students might live there. Oh, and why aren't you building housing for families?

sigh...

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I guess

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Prospective East Boston families should make sure to have two children of the same gender, close in age, so they can share a room.

Space your kids too far apart or fail to let the XX sperm win two times in a row, sucks for you, move to the suburbs.

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Oh, FFS.

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Oh, FFS.

Want to know the real reason families flee to the suburbs?

It's not the yard. IT's just the number of bedrooms.

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