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Condos and a new daycare approved as replacement for closed plumbing-supply store and daycare on Washington Street in Roslindale

Rendering of proposed new building

Rendering by MGFA.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved plans for a four-story, 19-unit condo building on Washington Street at Lesher Street in Roslindale that will include space for a daycare to replace the one that closed after the start of the pandemic.

The building will be called the Benjamin, in honor of Benjamin Gold, who owned the current vacant building, which housed his plumbing-supply business for more than 40 years. Before he died, he told his sons - one of whom is the developer of the new building, the other who is his brother's lawyer - he wanted whatever replaced the building to include space for that daycare, the Little People's Playhouse.

Attorney Neal Gold said today he and his brother Ron are looking to find another daycare that could go into the space. He said they are talking to the Boston Outdoor Preschool Network in particular. The new building would have no outdoor space of its own, but is near both the Arnold Arboretum and Healy Field, he said.

The building will also have 17 parking spaces.

Four of the condos, or 21% of the total, will be sold as affordable, compared to the 13% required by the city. The building's roof will be covered with plants.

The BPDA board approved the proposal last year.

4011-4019 Washington St. filings.

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frustrating that this was approved by the BPDA last July, and only now was it approved by the ZBA

Voting closed 28

It is great to see 4011 Washington Street approved. We are very proud of this moment.

In my ZBA written testimony, I described how hard the Golds and the abutters worked to reach agreement.

Specifically, in my role as the Roslindale Coalition Coordinator, I facilitated meetings with direct abutters and the 4011 Washington Street team. As Mr. Gold described, there were many meetings. In my experience, these were the easiest conversations with a developer that we have ever had. We negotiated in true community spirit. We gave and we got. For example, the team responded positively to feedback and committed to or deepened their commitment to:

• enhanced greening of the building. One of the Gold family members has expertise in green roofs. There were happy conversations with one of our similarly knowledgeable Coalition members.

• increased number of affordable units

• homeownership opportunities

• committing to child care in the building

• donations to community benefits that serve us all (e.g., Healy Field)

As voiced by a Board Member, there are many insights to be gained from this building's success. She is correct in that this was deep and true collaboration between the developers and the neighbors most affected by this development.

Voting closed 17

Specifically, in my role as the Roslindale Coalition Coordinator, I facilitated meetings with direct abutters and the 4011 Washington Street team.

Great work! Who is in your Coalition and who appointed you to that role as facilitator? When you google its name, nothing comes up. Nevertheless, exciting to hear someone being so pro-development like yourself, Laurie, I mean, anon! Hope this attitude continues!

Voting closed 11

Hi Max. It's Laurie. I didn't realize I was up as anon. We very carefully protect the privacy of our membership. Why? We have been loudly -- and sometimes harshly -- criticized on social media (Reddit, Roslindale FB & Nextdoor sites). We prefer to not be called out in public in a hurtful way, so we keep the list private. We are Roslindale neighbors who are active in a variety of local organizations (green, social justice, Neighborhood Associations for example), people who own small businesses and work in Roslindale Square, and more. We want a community where we can disagree and still be civil.

Voting closed 1

The building looks great. Build it!

With regard to their location, Healy Field is 3/10's of a mile walk down a busy street.

Voting closed 10

So maybe instead of having the kids walk while holding onto one of those long knotted rope things, they load the munchkins up in those giant stroller things.

Voting closed 24

As the previous daycare used to do it all the time. I don't even think they crossed at the crosswalk by the gas station. The carers probably blocked the street to get the kids across.

I would see them from time to time while walking around the neighborhood. Watching lines of 3 year olds marching from place to place is one of the cutest things around.

Voting closed 32

I think this is a great project. I wrote in favor of it about 1:12 to 2 years ago. I don’t know why the delay. I am glad it is approved.

Voting closed 9

Aw, rats. I love that mural.

Voting closed 8

Take a picture, share it with the people who are lucky enough to live there.

People > murals.

Voting closed 8

@emac - what's wrong with being sad about losing a loved piece of street art? OP didn't say the building shouldn't be approved or that it's a travesty to tear down that wall. Art is important to neighborhoods and it's perfectly reasonable to be sad about losing some, even if you agree it's for the greater good.

Voting closed 24

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How benevolent of Benjamin Gold to include childcare space in his wishes for the new building. Wonderful that Neal and Ron Gold are fulfilling that wish.

Getting the Big BioTech Lab Developers in Boston’s Fenway to include childcare space in their buildings (many times the size of this one) is like pulling teeth with a pair of pliers.

Voting closed 21

are great at making up excuses for getting variances. First it’s the “we don’t need parking because we are close to a bus stop” now it’s “we don’t need open space because we are close to an arboretum”.
Do you know how stupid this sounds?

Voting closed 3

They weren't talking about the "open space" required by the zoning code, which relates to residential units (more specifically to yards, decks and balconies), because the building didn't need a variance for that, so the owners were not trying to sneak anything by.

One board member asked them if there was any way they could use the roof to provide a play area for the day care (answer: maybe), which led into a discussion about the nearby parks - and the fact that the Golds are talking specifically to an educational group that specializes in outdoor experiences/education for young kids.

Perhaps I should have put that in the story for folks more familiar with the intricacies of the Boston zoning code.

For what it's worth, here are the variances that were granted:

Article(s):Article 67, Section 32 Off-Street Parking - Off street parking is insufficient
Article 67, Section 33 Application of Dimensional Req - Traffic visibility across corner is insufficient Article 67, Section 12 Floor area ratio is excessive Article 67, Section 12 Building height in feet is excessive Article 67, Section 12 Building height in stories is excessive

Voting closed 17

FAR is a stupid thing to have zoned. Who cares how much of the inside of a building somebody is using? Have exterior dimensions capped and be done with it.

Voting closed 2

And…You can walk to the new pot shop!

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