The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved a 41-unit condo building at McKay Place and Maverick Street in Jeffries Point and two apartment building with a total of 41 units at the Orient Heights rotary where Saratoga, Ford and Boardman streets meet.
Developer John Murphy and partners won approval to replace three triple deckers and the little used Progressive Club with 41 condos, of which 7, or 17%, would be sold as affordable. A total of 11 units in the $12-million project would have three bedrooms.
Residents who opposed the project said they were concerned about kindergartners from the neighboring McKay School getting flattened by drivers entering and exiting the building's 35-space garage and by the way one side of already congested McKay Place would be blocked for a year by construction vehicles. Project attorney Derric Smalls said warning lights and alarms would be added to the garage entrance.
City Councilor Erin Murphy (at large) supported the project, citing in part the number of affordable units.
City Councilor Gabriela Coletta (East Boston, Charlestown, North End) opposed the project because it would not have 20% of its units sold as affordable. The board's unanimous vote in favor of the project included a proviso that the developer go back to the BPDA - which approved the project in August - to try to increase the number of affordable units by at least one to bring it closer to that 20% level. Current city requirements call for a minimum of 13% affordable units; the mayor has proposed increasing that to 17%.
Coletta, however, approved a 41-unit proposal for Orient Heights even though it, too, called for 17% of its units being affordable, as apartments, rather than condos. Her aide who attended both hearings did not explain the difference.
Rendering of proposed Orient Heights buildings by Context:
Developer MG2 says it will raze an auto-repair garage at the rotary and use what is now a parking lot across the street to put up two buildings at a total cost of about $11 million. In addition to the 41 apartments, the project would include two retail spaces and 10 parking spaces at the site, a short walk to the Orient Heights Blue Line stop.
Some nearby residents, and the owner of the neighboring Mi Pueblito restaurant, opposed the project because of what they said was inadequate parking.
Along with the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council, which voted 40-3 with 2 abstentions to oppose, they said that people living in the buildings would fill already scarce parking spaces in the Orient Heights commercial area, jeopardizing its small businesses. Britton Munson, attorney for the neighboring Mi Pueblito restaurant said the building would mean "a nightmare" for local shops and their customers, particularly during the area's frequent funerals, whose attendees already take up parking spaces.
MG2 attorney Richard Lynds countered that his client offered up the number of spaces it did at the recommendation of the BPDA - which approved the project in September - and the Boston Transportation Department, in part due to its location near the T stop.
Lynd said he was surprised to hear opposition from Mi Pueblito. He said Munson's comments at today's hearing were the first he'd heard of it, that he and MG2 would have been happy to sit down and thrash out the issue with them beforehand - like earlier this year, when the restaurant had its own zoning issue. In July, the restaurant went before the board for approval to put up a canopy over its outdoor patio.
9 McKay Pl. filings.
2 Ford St. and 970 Saratoga St. filings.