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.