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Zoning board paves way for turning neighborhood of small homes into apartment buildings near Ashmont T stop

The Zoning Board of Appeals this morning approved a developer's plans to replace a single-family home on Fuller Street near Dorchester Avenue with a three-story building with six apartments.

In its 6-2 vote, the board did set two provisos for 20 Fuller St: That James O'Sullivan try to move the building's main entrance from the side to the front and that he work with the BPDA on the building's "contextualism" with the surrounding two- and three-family homes. Board member Anthony Pisani said ensuring the building doesn't stand out like a sore thumb is especially important for "what it may portend for future projects similar to this one" in the side streets off Dot. Ave. across from the T stop.

He made his motion after nearby residents said several other houses in the neighborhood are now being advertised at "teardowns" to developers and builders looking to get in on the mini-building boom near the T stop, which includes larger apartment buildings directly on Dot. Ave.

The project needed zoning-board permission because it far exceeded the maximum density allowed on the street, in a two-family-house zone. Also, the six offstreet parking spaces proposed for the four three-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units is less than the 7 1/2 that would normally be required.

The mayor's office and some immediate abutters did support the proposal.

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This is pretty much the exact same as the report on the Dorchester Reporter - who ripped off who ;) ?

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But I just noticed your question.

I have a deal with the Reporter - when I run across a Dorchester story, I'll write it up for them if they don't already have somebody assigned to it. Sometimes, I'll add more Dorchester-specific facts to their version (like, say, with a regional crime-ring story that has a Dorchester angle) and sometimes, as in this case, I'll basically give them the same story I wrote here.

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One thing I've often wondered in these situations - since the city is upzoning (which we need - as long as it's done wisely and fairly - however one may interpret those terms), can the city require the developer to pay a "windfall tax" on the upzoning which makes their land significantly more valuable?

Something like that would be a great offset to capital budgets for things like parks and Walsh's goal of spending $1 billion on the schools over the next 10 years. I think it's also quite reasonable and fair that if the city generates a windfall for the developer, that the city share in the proceeds.

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Windfall tax would drive development costs higher. Snob zoning already results in artificially devalued property throughout the city. If zoning was revised to allow more projects as of right and realistic with market demand the cost of housing and development in the city would plummet.

The current system benefits NIMBY bigots, wealthy developers, and government paper pushers. Everyone else not so much.

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Developers work on the various margins - certain amount for land, so much for construction and so much for financing/overhead/sales fees/profit.

For example - if you buy a piece of land for $1 million, you might then allot say $500k for construction and $500k for other fees and a profit margin.

So say you buy a piece of land for $1 million and plan to spend $500k developing 3 units planning to sell them for $2 million total.

Then the city comes in and says - we'll let you build 6 units. so now you own the land for $1 million - you have to spend double developing the units - $1 million and let's say your other costs still double (they probably won't) - but you can sell the units for $4 million. Sure you should make some extra money - but you've basically got an extra million dollars because your land acquisition is now 25% of development costs, not 50% thanks to the largesse of the city/zoning board. I would think the city should be entitled to at least a portion of that "windfall" - other than the usual higher stamp fee, eventual property taxes etc.

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That's hardly restrictive zoning, you can't add a lot of density anywhere. It's already two family.

Just because someone doesn't want their established neighborhood to get an extreme amount of density doesn't make them a Nimby, otherwise everyone could be called that.

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This wouldn't be a problem if these homes were affordable to the residents that are being displaced/new less wealthy residents that would have typically bought or rented the house. Perhaps they will be but I highly doubt it! This is going on all over Dorchester. Neponset Circle and the neighborhood between Neponset Ave and Adams St comes to mind.

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This wouldn't be a problem if these homes were affordable to the residents that are being displaced/new less wealthy residents that would have typically bought or rented the house. Perhaps they will be but I highly doubt it! This is going on all over Dorchester. Neponset Circle and the neighborhood between Neponset Ave and Adams St comes to mind.

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A realtor told me that a lot of the pressure in Dorchester is coming from folks who were living in condos in Southie but are now married with young kid(s). A lot of those types who want to stay in the city but want the conveniences of a driveway and a backyard are targeting the Dot neighborhoods along the water (Savin Hill, Pope's Hill & Neponset).

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Pssst all true... (but, Pope's Hill is in Neponset)

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;-)

But the realtors seem to differentiate the neighborhood listings more now.

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Yes, both St. Ann Parish and Neponset. Who listens to realtors?!?

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Also forgot Lower Mills and Cedar Grove I guess :)

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Donald Trump is president?

Wake me up!

Seriously though, I can see why. Pope's Hill has amazing views and a lot less traffic than other parts of Neponset.

Likewise Cedar Grove is much more suburban and quieter than the rest of Lower Mills.

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Did you ever notice, when housing gets affordable, the economy's in the tank, everyone's laid off, and no one can afford to buy a home? They don't build houses for fun. It's about how much money they can make.

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I read or heard somewhere a while ago that to get a lot of land and build one of the modern versions of the triple-deckers costs about $1.2 million on average. I forget if it was just Dorchester or all neighborhoods in Boston but regardless it makes more sense when you see them listed for $450-500k+ for each floor based on that.

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You make it sound like a negative. But the real crime is the low density zoning forced upon the transit accessible area by snobby residents. Those snobs should be punished for making the city unaffordable by conspiring to make it impossible to build sensibly near T stations until now.

The sad fact is that if we want to see affordable housing that isn't provided by government funding, then we would have had to start decades ago allowing the building stock to grow naturally and age, so that it would be naturally affordable today.

The selfish residents & politicians who wrote the restrictive zoning rules in the past are almost entirely to blame for the present mess. But they will escape scot free.

And the process will repeat itself until the Commonwealth comes down on snob zoning and makes it illegal.

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Before you criticize these people as snobs, you might want to take a trip down there (it's easy to get to by Red Line). There's a ton of dense development built, being built and planned in these people's backyards - along Dorchester Avenue. A few years ago, when the city went through one of those rezoning exercises, people agreed to put dense development where it makes sense, i.e., right on Dot Ave. and to try to preserve housing options for people who don't want to live in a condo or apartment.

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Which neighborhoods/ stations are you referring to?

Its interesting that the people who complain that the streets of Boston weren't made for cars, are the same people that want to put 15-20 unit buildings on streets with all single family dwellings built in the 1800's.

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