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North End residents explode in anger after sitting in City Hall for 90 minutes waiting for a hearing on a Salem Street proposal that was deferred

A Zoning Board of Appeal hearing scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on a proposal to add a five-story addition to a real-estate office on Salem Street wasn't called until 1 p.m. And then the building owner's attorney asked for a deferral because there were only six board members left by that time - and projects need at least five votes to go ahead.

97 Salem St. Realty Trust wants to use the new floors at its current one-story building next to Antico Forno for nine residential units.

As acting board Chairman Mark Erlich asked for a vote on attorney Jeff Drago's deferral request, one resident rose and asked if he could say something about the deferral. Erlich said no and several residents erupted in anger and began to denounce the delay. "The mayor wants the money!" one resident yelled repeatedly.

Erlich said deferral requests take precedence and that residents could have their say on Feb. 25, the date set for the next hearing.

Free tagging: 


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The building next door has a blank wall and is several stories tall. Build it!
(It's not something crazy, like allowing an existing 3rd floor to be used as a studio apartment!)


Voting closed 31

... for example, in baseball, why shouldn’t this batter get 4 strikes instead of the usual 3? I mean, he is an awesome guy, and that last pitch was barely inside the strike zone....

Voting closed 16


Voting closed 19

what's the reason this seems reasonable but isn't? I'm struggling to think of anything, but maybe there's something I'm missing.

Voting closed 20

what's the reason this seems reasonable but isn't?

If the rules that everyone else is playing by, require neighborhood input and ZBA approval, then go get the neighbors on board, get the hearing, and get ZBA approval. Or get the rules changed for everyone.

Voting closed 10

Yes fine it needs neighborhood approval. Nobody is saying otherwise in this chain. What we're wondering is what is the reasonable reason for (anyone) not giving approval for this?

Voting closed 11

There are many reasons this is an issue including the fact that the new addition will block the light and air and be too close to the abutting buildings BEHIND this building. The building owner has tried this multiple times and lost. Boston needs AFFORDABLE housing NOT more $$$$ apartments.

Voting closed 9

The same people crying about the housing crisis are the same people trying to stop any additional units from coming online, NIMBYism at its finest. You live in a city, if you don't like that your about to lose light in your building then sell/move to a more suitable place. I'm sure when your building was built it then ruined the view/light,etc of someone else.

Voting closed 12

Awesome residents have a voice and are using it!

Voting closed 23

"The mayor wants the money!" one resident yelled repeatedly.

Sure thing....or actually the city desperately needs housing.

Voting closed 21

Why are bored members allowed to wander out before the end of the meeting, making it harder for a project to get enough yes votes?

If they have better things to do, maybe someone else should get that spot on the board.

Voting closed 24

This is the 3rd or 4th time this meeting was deferred and residents that are there to oppose this project are fed up. Board members just get up and walk out after people waited 90 minutes to be heard!

Voting closed 13

This is typical of what happens when residents organize to oppose a project. The developers, with the assistance of the Board of Appeal, do everything they can to drag the process out and wear the residents down. Residents lose time from work and pay lawyers to be present at hearings which do not go forward. For the developers, this is just the cost of doing business. This was a particularly egregious case. A group of approximately 40 residents waited an hour and a half to be heard. Their presence was known to the developer, the Board of Appeal and the Mayor’s Office. All of a sudden, one of the Board of Appeal members got up and left with no notice or explanation. The attorney for the developer got up and asked for a deferral because the Board was now short a member. When the lawyer for one of the abutters asked to speak, he was refused and the deferral was granted. Good for the neighbors who expressed their disapproval of this kangaroo court!

Voting closed 8