The Board of Appeals today rejected plans by a developer to tear down a house at 844 East 3 St. in South Boston's City Point and replace it with a five-unit building with ten parking spaces after residents were joined by elected officials in opposing the proposal.
Not long after, the board approved plans by a developer to put up an eight-unit condo building on a vacant lot at the corner of Moreland and Montrose streets in Roxbury. Neighbors opposed the project with similar reasons as their South Boston counterparts, but unlike in South Boston, most elected officials with an opinion supported the proposal.
Jody Luongo had originally proposed a seven-unit building at 844-846 East 3 St., but reduced that to five after meetings with neighbors, his attorney, George Morancy, told the board. Morancy said the new building was less dense than allowed by zoning for the block and had more open space.
But nearby residents said that even at five units, the building was simply too large and out of character for a neighborhood with mostly single and two-family homes.
"This just isn't in keeping" with the area, Mary Bulger of East 3 St. said.
Neighbors were joined by the mayor's office and city councilors Ed Flynn, Michael Flaherty and Anissa Essaibi-George in opposition.
The board's denial is the second straight win for Bulger, wife of the former state-senate president, who helped quash plans for a multi-family building on Farragut Road in February.
Neighbors of a proposed eight-unit building on Moreland Street in Roxbury also said the building would be too large for the historic street, lined with houses more than 100 years old - and said it would cause parking issues and make the intersection of Moreland and Montrose street even more dangerous for parents and young children trying to get to the park across the street.
"It will totally destroy the look of the neighborhood," one resident said. "This wouldn't be allowed in the South End. This wouldn't be allowed in Brookline. This wouldn't be allowed in Newton."
But City Councilor Kim Janey rose to support the project, because she said it would bring much needed, sort-of affordable housing to the neighborhood. Developers said that if they could only build the five condos allowed under the lot's zoning - or the six neighbors proposed - they would have to price the units as high as $700,000 apiece. The extra three units, they said, would let them market the units for under $400,000.
Janey said she, too, had "deep concern around density," but said that if Roxbury is to continue to be a place where its current occupants can stay in, she had no choice but to support the proposal, with its lower-cost units. "I don't take this lightly," she said, also pointing to the developers' commitments to hire minorities and women for construction.
Representatives from the mayor's office and city councilors Ayanna Pressley, Annissa Essaibi-George, Michelle Wu and Michael Flaherty echoed her comments in voicing support. No elected officials opposed the proposal, although one resident did submit a letter of opposition she said was from state Rep. Chynah Tyler.
As she finished her statement in support, Janey said she wanted to meet with opponents to explain her rationale. And after the hearing, one of her aides tried to convince residents to visit with the councilor in her fifth-floor office. But angry residents were having none of it, telling the aide the time for Janey to talk to them was weeks ago.