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Condos proposed for land off Cummins Highway in Roslindale Square

A developer is looking to build several condos on land behind the Triple Eatery on Cummins Highway.

At a neighborhood meeting tonight, Patrick Mahoney showed a rendering of a building with eight two-bedroom units with 16 parking spaces that would replace the single-family home that now sits on the oddly shaped, mostly landlocked, 15,000-square foot parcel.

However, Mahoney agreed with a request from residents to lop off at least two units after they said the building was too large for the neighborhood, which consists largely of single and two-family homes.

He also agreed with residents to have his architect change the architectural style from something that would fit in with the modern buildings along Broadway in South Boston to something more similar to the colonials and Victorians in the neighborhood - possibly in a townhouse style - and to try to shrink the height of the building by five feet feet or so.

Regardless of the final configuration, however, Mahoney said access to the building would be via a 12-foot-wide driveway next to Triple Eatery. The current eight-foot driveway off Florence would be converted to a landscaped area with a patio-like walkway for residents to save a few steps on the way to the square and the train station.

Residents expressed concern about people making a left turn into the driveway from Cummins Highway, saying the road is already prone to backups. They praised him for committing to at least two parking spaces per unit, saying the parking problems they already have with people parking to take the train into town will likely be exacerbated once the restaurant opens up in the old substation at Cummins and Washington Street.

Mahoney added that even with the change of primary access from Florence to Cummins, the building would likely retain its 47R Florence St. address - because changing a lot's address is far more difficult than winning the numerous variances the proposal would need from the zoning board, he said.


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Off-topic (adj., archaic, pertaining to a pathetic, unveiled attempt to hijack a thread)--

Burning grammar question: isn't "landlocked" an absolute term?

Or is it a relative term, one perhaps for which there are--shall we say--degrees?

I thank you.

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Most parcels have a fair amount of feet on a public way. This parcel has two narrow little driveways, but most of it borders on other parcels.

So almost but not quite like being partly pregnant :-).

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That whole area bounded by Sycamore, Cummins, Florence, and Poplar is full of weird lots like this. I had to go to the satellite view to grasp where it is, and I go to JC's for auto work. Lots of rear houses and essentially dirt roads to houses in those parts.

I'm glad the developer and neighbors are working this out. I hope it works out for all parties in the end.

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The residents need a lot of consideration because developers leave after they sell.

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I drive by this every day to bring my kids to school and it's always struck me as a very weird. Seems like a better approach would be to buy out Triple Eatery and the hair dresser/auto body shop next to it and develop the whole works but I suppose the developer tried that and the owners didn't want to sell.

Two other oddities are the two garages near the intersection of Roslindale and Durnell. I believe they are owed by a contractor who stores stuff in them but surely the'd make more money putting up a single or multi-family there. And the big one is the Triple Crown movers building up the street. At some point, you have to figure that will get bought and converted when the owners retire. I'm a little surprised it hasn't happened yet honestly. Selling your land is easier than carrying heavy furniture around.

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Historical contribution.....

The land in question behind the "hairdresser" was at one time owned by Peter Eugene but he was not the original owner. We'd be talking back in the late 1960s and early 70s at this point in time.

The "hairdresser" building was land that was purchased by Daniel Hourihan to run the Hourihan & Sons Oil and Heating company. The building was built to be a facility where his oil delivery trucks would be stored (in the rear) and the garages underneath where they would also be stored and serviced. The underneath part of the building also served as a storage and stock place for oil burner parts and in the summer air conditioner units.

Dan Hourihan knew the land well as the family homestead was on Hawthorne Street at one time, and well into Dan's elder years.

The building on Cummins Hghy as you can see has two doors. The RIGHT side entered into the oil company office where you paid your bill and spoke to people for service. The LEFT side entered into the showroom where they offered various appliances such as washers, dryers, TV sets and even stereo systems. There were doors available between them but when the showroom closed you would only access the office area.

I know... because I wired the stereo demo section of that showroom and sold air conditioners and appliances there part time in my (very) younger years. I worked for Bobby Keough who was an inlaw to the Hourihans. He taught me a lot. My uncle (Harry Crafts) was their carpenter when they needed to do work on a home or commercial building when installing heating or commercial AC systems and drove the oil truck part time in the winter months. They were all high school friends. Talk about local business... !

(OT - For the Harvest Store crowd, Uncle Harry built out Harvest's original storefront in JP on south Street. That rounded front section was his artwork.).

Dan Hourihan started his company delivering coal in a wheelbarrow when he was a younger man eventually building it into a large regional heating company that was oriented to oil delivery, oil heating systems, and service. The appliances came later when this building was built.

As some may guess, Harold Hourihan (eldest Dan's son) eventually retired and the business was sold to Devaney Fuel in Dedham and the building was re-purposed. There have been various occupants over the decades since. Harold passed some years ago.

Regarding the lot for development. Part of the land purchase that produced the Hourihan Fuel building included an easement for that property to use the driveway that exits onto Cummins Highway. In those days the easement was through Hourihan's lot (hairdresser building) and at a later time moved to the side of the retaining wall adjacent to Triple Eatery as it is today.

FWIW, in those days Triple Eatery was a dry cleaner and tailor facility.

There was a series of exchanges by some locals over that lot regarding what appeared to be a large mill wheel that may exist on that property. It is doubtful there was ever a mill there because there was no flowing water, so the large round stones are a mystery. The entire area is a low point when compared to Mount Hope (the hill where Johnswood Road is - that's its official name BTW) but there was never any water that gathered there unlike at the rear of homes on Seymour Street and at the rear of Sacred Heart School. Indeed when i was a kid that was a swamp.

So the developer will have an existing easement that he can use for access.

The driveway onto Florence was non-existent back in those days. That came a long time later and would have to be researched with the city permitting people - assuming it is documented.

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... for all the great background information!

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They shouldn't be replacing single family homes with much larger condo buildings if it's on a street with other single family homes.

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It's not really on the street. It's more of an "interior" lot that has these two narrow driveways into it.

By right, the guy could build a 6,000-square-foot (or maybe 7,000, sorry, don't have my notes in front of me) single-family home on the property, but that would be equally out of character with the neighborhood (and never mind the question of who would buy such a giant house completely hemmed in by other people's backyards and the backs of a Chinese restaurant and a hair salon).

Also, one of the neighboring lots has a six-unit apartment building on it (right at the corner of Cummins and Florence). The neighbors weren't opposed to the idea of something going in there, maybe just not six units.

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A really large house is going to be less marketable if it's not in a spot where others have sold, as you point out. This spot is maybe somewhat different than others, but guidelines would be useful for when it's a suitable lot and when it isn't. If a neighborhood has a lot of single houses, then letting developers turning a bunch of them into condos isn't always the best thing for that neighborhood or the people that were originally there.

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That appears to mean that the developer can only make money if they can build something that they normally wouldn't be allowed to.

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They praised him for committing to at least two parking spaces per unit, saying the parking problems they already have with people parking to take the train into town will likely be exacerbated once the restaurant opens up in the old substation at Cummins and Washington Street.


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People actually do park like that.

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