The Zoning Board of Appeals today approved a local landlord's plans to replace a derelict factory building on Lagrange Street with a 40-unit condo building.
The main changes in the project, which the board rejected in April were a shift in the driveway location away from the Needham Line bridge and owner Michael Argiros's decision to hire local construction workers to put up the three-story building, rather than having the bulk of the building built in a factory and then assembled on site.
It was the modular nature of the construction near Centre Street that angered at least one zoning-board member last time. He voted in favor today, after a representative of the local carpenter's union testified in support of the wood-frame proposal.
A series of Centre Street business people told the board they approved the project because it would bring new vitality to the quieter end of Centre Street. Mayor Walsh's office also supported the project. Two out of towners said they wanted to move back into the city, West Roxbury in particular, but have been stymied by the lack of condos.
But a number of residents - and aides to city councilors Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), Michael Flaherty (at large) and Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) urged another denial.
The project, they said, was too big, would cast too much of a shadow on the neighboring historical burying ground and would cause traffic problems on an already congested street.
And they predicted parking problems on nearby side streets. They said unit owners assigned to one of a number of elevator parking spaces wouldn't want to bother with that and would instead park on the street.
Residents said they were shocked that Argiros came back with basically the same plan the board had rejected in April.
"Let's find the right solution, not the first and easiest one," John Cardarelli said.
Jim Cahill, who opposed the project, said he had attended all of the numerous neighborhood meetings on it since it was first proposed in 2014, said he had never seen any of the business owners and out-of-towners who testified today at those meetings.