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Brookline landlord who sues to block apartments near his buildings sues to block apartments near his Mission Hill buildings

Proposed building at St. Alphonsus and Tremont streets

Rendering of proposed building by Embarc.

Monty Gold, a Brookline landlord who has gone to court to try to stop apartment buildings from going up near buildings he owns in Jamaica Plain and Salem, yesterday sued to try to block a six-story apartment building from going up at St. Alphonsus Street and Tremont Street in Mission Hill, in between two three-story buildings he owns.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court, two LLCs - which both list Gold as manager - charge the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal illegally approved variances for a 95-unit apartment with ground-floor cafe space and 53 parking spaces that developers Jason and Melanie Savage of Allston want to build on land they bought in 2016 from the Redemptorist Fathers, who run nearby Mission Church, and who will have use of most of the parking spaces.

The zoning board approved the project at a hearing on April 30 (watch below), although it did not file its formal approval until last week. The BPDA board approved the project, which would include 16 affordable units, last year.

Through his complaint, Gold alleges the zoning board had no right to issue one variance, let alone the thirteen it did because there's nothing about the shape or topography of the parcel that warrants exemptions from its zoning.

Plus, the building will create "excessive traffic and parking" that would harm Gold's holdings, which sit on both Tremont and St. Alphonsus:

The addition of a six-story building with 95 residential units and ground floor restaurant with takeout will create excessive vehicular traffic and congestion in the neighborhood. These conditions will create parking issues in spite of the parking garage, with 44 parking spaces dedicated for use by an adjacent church and thus not available for residents or patrons of the restaurant. This congestion will only be increased during construction, which will bring more large vehicles and more than 100 construction workers to the Site, with no construction management plan proposed.

The building will also mean excessive wind being directed at Gold's buildings, not to mention the permanent shadows it will cast over them, the complaint continues, adding the building is so close to the lot lines and so tall it will cause privacy issue. The complaint adds the building might even cause solar glare problems, but nobody knows for sure because the Savages didn't have a solar-glare study done.

Gold eventually settled both his two Jamaica Plain suits, after Pine Street Inn agreed to find some off-site parking for construction workers and support staffersat apartments in a project across from Gold's building on Washington Street and after the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. agreed to move its proposed senior housing five feet away from the property line with Gold's building. He agreed to dismiss the Salem suit four months after he brought it, court records show.

Watch the hearing:

PDF icon Complete complaint813.88 KB


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Not Anywhere Near My Building Yard


The building will also mean excessive wind being directed at Gold's buildings

Odd, I would have said the main source of excessive wind in this suit is Mr. Gold and his attorneys.


At Gold's gym to train for wind resistance will suffice


Plaintiff asserts that the proposed building will fart in his general direction


Before anyone sheds a tear for the developer of this project, take a closer look at who is developing it: Jason Savage of Savage Properties


Neighbors in Mission Hill have overwhelmingly opposed the project at 1558 Tremont--over two hundred letters in opposition were sent to the BPDA and City Hall, signed by long-term residents and student tenants alike.

The ZBA meeting in which it was approved has been challenged with an open meeting law complaint as they changed the address from 1558 Tremont, which the BPDA used for its IAG meetings, to 100 St. Alphonsus--so neighbors were caught off guard by the announcement.

Despite the hundreds of letters of opposition to the project and that it was opposed by two community groups in Mission Hill, our newly minted City Councilor Sharon Durkin did not show up to the ZBA meeting and refused to take a position on the project.

While she didn't take a position on the project, she did take the maximum campaign contribution of $1000 each from Jason and Melanie Savage as well as $500 each from their attorney and from their attorney's wife (none of whom live in Boston).

So yes, thanks Monty--


I thought the Savage family lived on a sizable estate in the most exclusive part of Brookline? Maybe they moved to Allston to be closer to their tenants?


Their business is located in Allston, though.


What are your issues with the building? You mentioned exactly none so one could assume you are a NIMBY type who is responsible for the housing crisis we face.

This issues Monty is whining about are nonsense. Parking, traffic and wind are completely dumb reasons for not building desperately needed housing.


If you did you would know that this project sits on one of the busiest corners in the neighborhood. The project is too dense for the site, offers no homeownership (which the residents of Mission Hill are desperate for as we have the lowest homeownership rate of any neighborhood in the city), the majority of the building is set aside for studios and micro-units that will exacerbate the problem of transience in the neighborhood, It blocks views from Fitzgerald Park of Mission Church (our namesake landmark), and has zero off-street space to provide loading for move-ins, trash hauling, or deliveries (which will cause back ups on St. Alphonsus).

You say that Monty's reasons are dumb, though I doubt you could cite what the traffic volumes are on Tremont Street as you clearly don't live here. At shift changes for the hospitals, traffic backs up from Francis Street, through Brigham Circle all the way down to Roxbury Crossing. During the academic year, the traffic backs up on St. Alphonsus Street from Huntington to Hillside Street with people cutting through the Hill from JP, student traffic, and the buses contracted by BLS to take students to Latin. All of that is before the BTD's new plan to reroute two more bus lines down Tremont Street to join the 66.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Savage overpaid for the site and entered into a bad deal with the Redemptorists who will maintain the use of 44 parking spots--in perpetuity--thus forcing him to overbuild the site to get his money back and the neighborhood gets the shaft. The building only offers the bare minimum of affordable units that is forced upon them by linkage.

All those who are quick to brand people with NIMBY cry about the housing crisis. We don't have a housing crisis in Boston, we have an affordable housing crisis. If you have deep enough pockets to pay $3,500 for a studio or $6,000 for a two-bedroom and you want to live in a building that can set aside an entire floor for amenity spaces then there are plenty of options for you. If you don't, sucks to you.

Mission Hill residents overwhelmingly support projects that provide affordable housing and family housing--a case in point is the new housing at Parcel 25 at Roxbury Crossing. But that is an outlier in our neighborhood. More than 900 units have been built or approved in Mission Hill since 2014-- and with the exception of a tiny fraction, all are rental and not affordable.

So yeah we have issues with the building.


Then the solution is reducing the number of cars in the metro area, not the number of homes.


I wouldn't post a 6 paragraph rant full of NIMBY talking points. "But the parking!" "The trafffic" "the developer once made money on a project!" "I support housing but only if we impose restrictions to prevent it from being built!" (Did I miss any?)


That’s a whole lot of words to say “But I just don’t want a big apartment building near me!” and “I don’t understand how housing pricing works.”

The Hill isn’t ever going to be some weird pseudo-suburban neighborhood again (if it ever was) and you need to start dealing with it instead of trying to worsen the housing crisis.

Just leave if you hate growth and progress so much.


Congestion along Tremont in Mission Hill, the no-build condition, is already nuts today. Adding more residents won't make it appreciably worse, especially since, with no or limited on-site parking, many of these residents who have cars will be parking them elsewhere... but perhaps people could consider taking the E or Orange Line, both of which are within five minutes of this site.


How dare you suggest city residents take the nearby public transit!??? The nimby brat you replied to would never!


"We don't have a housing crisis in Boston, we have an ~affordable~ housing crisis" is a NIMBY talking point, of course people with more money in a capitalist society can afford what is scarce. High prices are the result of a shortage and if you build more market-rate housing (which the houses the vast majority of people in the region), prices come down for everyone. In April 2020 nobody said "we don't have an N95 shortage, we have an affordable N95 shortage!"


You are a NIMBY. One of the busiest corners of the neighborhood should have dense housing. You value cars over people. You are ruining Boston. If you love cars so much then do us a favor and move to the suburbs.


Site conditions and the topography make this a complicated location.
For one thing, this is the site of one of Roxbury's biggest pudding stone quarries, the existing house on Tremont was quarry owner Timothy McCarthy's homestead moved in 1879 from further down the road near Roxbury Crossing to his lot across from Mission Church.

Undoubtedly its all ledge under that parking lot behind the house- that means lots of blasting to build this rental project and the garage.

And because of topography, the 7 storys will seem even higher for neighbors who will lose sunlight and views.

Maybe there are neighborhood with a lack of market rate rentals but Mission Hill isn't one of them.


Somehow in the rendering of the building, the sunlight passes right through the biggest parts of the structure! Its a remarkable lie of an image.

Literally "Deceptive Image Persuasion" - a base and common propaganda technique.


Housing people is more important than a living room getting sunlight. To argue otherwise is disguising. If you don’t like it then buy your neighboring properties yourself instead being a NIMBY.


There may be other issues with the building, construction, or the development of the project, but if you ever wonder why every challenge to zoning has the same complaints (parking, shadows, congestion, for example) it is because those are the only legally actionable complaints you can bring against the zoning board! If you, as a plaintiff, really only care about green space, or even that the new construction doesn't destroy your foundation, you can't even say so publicly (because those aren't legally actionable , they will null and void your case) you only can challenge the zoning on those earlier, legally actionable grounds.

And yes, if you are worried that planned construction will damage your property, kill your business, or limit access to your building, you literally have to wait until it does before you can legally require the construction to change or even take that potential damage into account. And even then you may not get a court to take it up for three years, at which point the construction is over and it will just be declared moot. So you sue the zoning board about parking before construction starts, and hope to settle on the issues you actually care about.

And meanwhile, everyone calls you a NIMBY, because that sort of kayfabe is catnip for online comments.


Stop being a baby. You are pathetic. No one is limiting access to your building. The only good thing about NIMBY boomers is that they will be in cemeteries soon.

Despite the hundreds of letters of opposition to the project and that it was opposed by two community groups in Mission Hill, our newly minted City Councilor Sharon Durkin did not show up to the ZBA meeting and refused to take a position on the project.

Same in the Fenway.

Despite unanimous neighborhood opposition at a BPDA public meeting in the Spring, city hall with the help of Councilor Durkan’s amendment to a longstanding parkland ordinance, foreign developers are building a 29-story skyscraper on Boylston and Ipswich.

The skyscraper of mini-furnished transient apartments will cast shadows over the Emerald Necklace three hours a day.


foreign developers

Ah, xenophobia never goes out of style.

...will cast shadows over the Emerald Necklace three hours a day.

Assuming you mean this project, it will only cast shadows on the Muddy River at peak summer. For most of the year, its shadows will fall on the Pike due to the sun being in the southern sky.

Neighborhood sentiment is just one factor when it comes to approval. Whether or not that sentiment is reasonable and based on accurate information is another factor.


Usually that demographic gets thrown under the bus and labeled as "transients" when its convenient to do so. Don't worry, someone right above me already blew that dog whistle.

How many years on Mission Hill do you need before being considered "long-term"? I ask because you mentioned long-term and student tenants. Couldn't find any opposition from the demographics in-between?

Signed, a former Mission Hill student and not-long enough termed resident.


but not before a local family-owned business that provided employment to local people was forced to close. Thanks, astroturfers.


The losers who put the employees of Turtle Swamp out of business are the lamest people in Boston.


Nobody forced Turtle Swamp to sign on to the lawsuit.

Have they simply tried NOT being NIMBYs?


and he will probably prevail in Court, but more likely he’s doing this to get something from the developer.


If you want to put your name to your post, anon (I'm not holding my breath), I'll be more than happy to place a bet against Monty winning in court...

Of course you're probably right that this will never get to court.


Grumbly grrrrr grrrr sez magoo about this story. Magoo.


Gold and the Savages are equally terrible in their exploitation of Mission Hill from their cushy Brookline abodes; people who wouldn't have dared set foot in the neighborhood I grew up in from the early '70s to the mid-90s, or like the parents of many of my friends who forbade their precious darlings to come hang at my house because of where I lived.

I don't live there anymore; at nigh-50 years I can't afford to.