A Zoning Board of Appeals ruling today should end a lawsuit that had blocked construction of a proposed-39-unit senior apartment building next to Turtle Swamp Brewing on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.
The board approved a plan by developer New Atlantic Development to construct the five-story apartment building for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. five feet away from the property line with the brewery, rather than right up to the property line, as part of an agreement the two had reached with Turtle Swamp Brewing owner John Lincecum and his landlord, Monty Gold.
To keep the same number of apartments, New Atlantic will shrink an "inset"that was designed to visually break up the building's "wall" along the brewery property line, New Atlantic owner Brian Goldson told the board before its vote to approve what it considered only minor changes to the project. He added that while this will mean the elimination of a small courtyard, it will also let the company put in windows on that side of the building.
Lincecum and Gold had sued to block the project after the zoning board approved the proposed five-story apartment building in February, 2021. The lawsuit sparked protests by people already upset at Gold's previous lawsuit against an even larger Pine Street Inn apartment building across the street.
Lincecum and Gold charged the new building might drive Turtle Pond out of business both because its construction would require blocking Turtle Pond's driveway/seating area - a charge the JPNDC and New Atlantic denied - and that the developers had only applied for the required zoning variances to maximize their profits somehow, on a building that would be rented to seniors making no more than 60% of the Boston area median income.
But last month, Lincecum, Gold, the developer and JPNDC reported to a Land Court judge they had reached a possible deal in mediation, and the judge agreed to send the whole matter back to the zoning board for its ratification, through a process intended for only minor modifications to a previously approved proposal.
In addition to the apartments, the new building will have space for El Embajador restaurant, which now sits in the site's current low-rise building.