With the supply of easily torn-down garages shrinking, developers are turning to expanding buildings in East Boston and Charlestown by adding floors and basement living space.
The Zoning Board, though, signaled today it's had enough of bedrooms being shoehorned into basements, rejecting two proposals in the neighborhoods to convert basement storage space into bedrooms.
"We're seeing so many of these basements in Eastie that just don't make sense," board Chairwoman Christine Araujo said during a discussion of a proposal to add a bedroom to the basement of 22 Paris St. in East Boston, as part of a plan to turn what is now a two-unit building into a three-unit building. Araujo said she does not want to return to the "overcrowded days of years gone by" of darkened basement units that are anything but "calm and welcoming."
It's one thing to turn a dark storage area into a playroom, but "to have a bedroom just doesn't make any sense," board member Mark Erlich agreed.
The board approved the overall Paris Street proposal, but with the provisio that no bedrooms be created in the basement.
It issued a similar basement-bedroom-free approval for a proposed renovation of an existing three-unit building at 41 Mt. Vernon St.
A neighbor opposed the other parts of the renovation, which would include expanding the third floor, saying it would put her home in shadows for significant parts of the day, but the board said it could not reject that because that expansion complied with the lot's zoning.
Last week, the board did approve two basement units, but only reluctantly.