Neighbors tell owner of Dorchester three decker to unenclose his porches, then they'll talk about him selling it

The Board of Appeals yesterday rejected a request from the owner of a Milton Avenue to legalize the way a previous owner enclosed its porches without a permit some 20 years ago, after neighbors objected to the way he was trying to sell the property to a non-profit group that helps house homeless families.

Owner Kelvin Sanders told the board he needs its approval for the work so that he can sell the building at 96 Milton Ave., at the corner of Stockton Street, to FamilyAid Boston.

But residents say the building is an eyesore and that Sanders shouldn't be allowed to capitalize on the previous owner's mistake - and, in fact, he should be required to re-open the porches, they said. They also questioned why, in the current real-estate market, where properties routinely get sold with the buyers assuming all risks, Sanders was asking for the legalization.

The mayor's office and the offices of city councilors Andrea Campbell and Annissa Essaibi George joined neighbors in opposing the request.

After the vote, board Chairwoman Christine Araujo told Sanders he really needs to talk to the neighbors, after which, she said, he could come back with a different proposal for the building.

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What?

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"neighbors objected to the way he was trying to sell the property"

One of the most important attributes of our great republic is property ownership. Its part of the Fifth Amendment, the ability to own, sell, use and exclude those from YOUR property.

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Yes, but ...

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The issue is he is trying to sell something that has an illegal component - the unpermitted enclosed porches.

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Not per Google satellite view

No evidence of anything on the roof per Google satellite view, at least as of August 2017. I'm puzzled by the complaints that the building is an eyesore - it looks tidy enough to me. At least from the Google Streetview photos, I'm hard put to figure out exactly where the porches in question are located.

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agreed

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I didn't think it looked that bad via google maps, better than half of the dilapidated falling apart porches and decks in that area.

NIMBYism

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IOW, it was all OK with the neighbors until he threatened to bring in some homeless/undesirables.

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Except ...

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And my apologies for not putting this in the original post, but Campbell's office says one of the issues was that the property was long used as a rooming house (then the zoning board said they didn't want to hear about it, because that had nothing to do with the narrower zoning issue they were dealing with).

Whats the real problem here

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If the neighbors are unhappy the building is an eyesore, why would they care who / how he sells it?

Are they objecting to him selling as is to a non profit that helps homeless families who will probably keep most of the existing building the same,

Or would they like him to sell it to a developer who will fix it up and sell as luxury condos?

This has the smell of NIMBism.

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Pretty much

That seems like my take as well. We have 'things without permits' everywhere in the city. This has to be a case of 'we don't want those people here', even though such houses are part of the solution.

I'm shocked that city councilors are siding with the neighbors. No one has apparently cared about these porches for 20 years. (And I'd be dying to find out how much unpermitted work those neighbors have done to their own homes...)

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Dorchester

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Nimby’s next frontier ... as interpreted by people who have probably never lived in Dorchester. Seriously though, I have no knowledge of the organization or this sale but it’s hard to argue we haven’t incorporated a fair share of the housing needs for those down on their luck. Does nimby even make sense as a buzzword here at this point? If someone were really that freaked out by public housing or non-profit housing would they have bought here?

homeless

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it's more of who the person is selling that house has been there my whole life it's what it would be used for is the problem so lets find a problem

Please! Punctuate.

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I'd like to be able to understand what you are saying, but it is difficult because I can't tell which words go together. If you added periods to show where each sentence ends, it would help.

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Front porch?

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I just took a google street view tour of the immediate neighborhood. The house looks just like every other wooden three-decker in the neighborhood -- years of low-cost maintenance that have stripped away all architectural flair, but in reasonably good shape and not in any way an eyesore.

What am I missing? What is the story that isn't asshole neighbors who don't want the future use of the building -- and if so, what's with the City Councilors joining on?

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I'll take a triple decker any

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I'll take a triple decker any day over the prefab warehouse squares they're developing and building these days all over the JP, Rox, West Rox, Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale, etc.

Google Streetview

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I recommend you take a closer look at this one. The "prefab warehouse squares" you're maligning are a damn sight better that this poorly taken care of triple decker.

Neighbors

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I surely wouldn't want homeless shelter near my house, i can understand why people are upset.

You already have this kind of shelter near your house.

This nonprofit does scattered site shelters. It is the same as section 8, except they pay more. They have also started to double families up. They have lots of rules. Kids cannot not enter apartment without a parent (sounds obvious but they apply it 14-17 year olds so it is hard for the parent to work).

I promise you, there is a scattered site shelter less than a mile from your house if you live the Boston area. They are good decent people in a bad situation. But these programs have been taking over the few section 8 apartments that are left in the city, so it doesn't really help as much as it should.

I am not sure I agree with the neighbors, unless there is a reason that the work is illegal. If it is not a structural issue then it should be grandfathered in. However, there needs to be an inspection to show that it is within code.

If you look at the building superficially, it looks fine, but that is clearly vinyl. And that could hide problems. That poured cement stair looks cracked up and the railing is lower than permitted now. Also look at the way that the mail boxes are above the stairs. Is that ok?

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Well

I don't want to live near uncharitable assholes, but there you are.

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Start thinking

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Stop believing in feelings.

You are ignorant and that can be fixed, but seek facts and truth, stop putting faith in rumors and lies.

Am I missing something here?

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Am I missing something here? Was the neighbor who lives next door one the same neighbors who complained to the City about the enclosed porch? Because Google Maps shows that person's house (right next door) having the same style enclosed porch with BARS on the window facing the subject property!

Sanders has been involved in

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Sanders has been involved in a number of shady real estate transactions in Boston, some of which can be tied to members of the Pam family.

In a previous job, I had to look into real estate transactions to determine if they were legit arms-length transactions. In Boston, there has been a surprisingly large number of transactions where someone buys a property, transfers it to an LLC, then the LLC sells it to another LLC that is managed by the original seller, who then moves it to another LLC, etc. And all along the way numerous mortgages are being taken out from e-mortgage companies. Sometimes these lending entities even turn out to be one of the previous buyers or sellers of the property, if you trace the players in the LLCs back far enough. Really, really weird stuff. There is an insane amount of real estate fraud taking place in Boston, most of it hidden by LLCs managed by other LLCs, etc.

Anyway, once you get looking into these LLCs and whose names come up repeatedly in these transactions, Kelvin Sanders is one of those names.

The owner also operated the house as an illegal boarding house

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I live in the neighborhood and I can also tell you that the owner operated the house as an illegal boarding house for years. The neighborhood association has been working with the city for two years to try to get him to operate the house as he is legally permitted to - as a triple decker - instead of as a 24 room boarding house.

The house also is only zoned for four bedrooms on each floor and had the owner received the variance this would have essentially allowed him to have five bedrooms on the second and third floor.

Why should anyone with that history get a variance for anything?

because that doesn't have

because that doesn't have anything to do with the porch
because the past is the past
because he won't own it any more.

Do you want to get rid of him or not? There is no justice in variances. The only thing that matters is whether or not the variance is safe.

We also have evidence that

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We also have evidence that FamilyAid is no longer interested in purchasing the house.

And he is still welcome to sell it. The house will just be out of compliance with zoning laws and he will likely make less money.

And it does have something to do with the illegal boarding house situation. The house would have been considered to be in compliance except that neighbors discovered he was operating it illegally, complained to Boston and ISD started cracking down on him. He then decided to apply for a variance to be able to operate the house (legally) as a boarding house instead of as a triple decker and then withdrew his application at the last minute after facing fierce neighborhood opposition. Because he had applied for the initial variance his house was then considered to be out of compliance.

Had he rented out the house legally this never would have been an issue.