The Board of Appeal today approved a total of 27 new residential units across East Boston. Because none are in projects of 10 or more units, all can be sold at market or luxury rates, with no units designated for people making less than the median income.
In a sign of political changes to come in the neighborhood, though, incoming City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who takes office in January, opposed two of the projects supported by outgoing Councilor Sal LaMattina.
The most contentious project of the day was Charles DiPrima's plan to replace a single-family home at 84 Faywood Ave. with a four-story, three unit condo building. LaMattina, who lives nearby, supported the proposal; Edwards opposed it.
Although it would be bracketed by two three-unit buildings - one built in 1900, the other under construction - a number of residents on Faywood and Beachview Rd. said they were worried about the precedent being set, that out-of-town developers would begin to swoop in and buy up other single-family homes in the only part of the neighborhood zoned for them and destroy the bucolic, kids-on-bikes atmosphere they moved there for.
"It's a section of the city that looks a lot like Medford and Belmont and Arlington," Beachview Road resident Joseph Arangio said. "It's why people moved there."
Another Beachview resident, Eric Roberts, who lives with his wife and two daughters, said the city needs housing for families with more than just two people in them. But once a single-family home is replaced with condos - which he predicted would start happening if the board approved the project, "it'll be gone forever." Other residents argued DiPrima's need to make more money did not constitute the sort of hardship that would be required for the board to grant variances for the project.
LaMattina and other supporters, however, said the house is the only single-family house left on that stretch and that DiPrima is a local developer doing quality work - and adding more housing stock to a neighborhood in desperate need of it.
The spectre of out-of-town developers destroying what's good about East Boston also came up during a hearing on a proposal to build a four-story, seven-unit building with six parking spaces on what are now two vacant lots at 90 Cottage St., between Maverick and Everett streets.
"Our neighborhood is being taken away from us," neighbor Brenda Gorovitz, whose grandparents bought the house she lives in in 1902, told the board.
The board voted in favor.
Also winning approval:
- A four-story, nine-unit condo building on what is now a vacant lot at 80 Marginal St. Diane Modica, who lives across the street, says she's glad something is finally being built on what has been empty space since at least the 1920s, but said at 45 feet tall, it's out of character with the neighborhood. This was the other project on which LaMattina and Edwards differed.
- A four-story, six-unit building with six parking spaces on a site now occupied by a single-story commercial building at 67 Lubec St.
- The conversion of a triple decker at 189 Trenton St. into a six-unit building.