DA: Cop who had just gotten off his shift was drunk and speeding when he plowed into a car early on New Year's Day

A gang-unit cop who'd just gotten off his shift slammed into a car on Columbia Road at 65 m.p.h. - in a 25-m.p.h. zone - with a blood-alcohol level well above the legal limit early on New Year's Day, prosecutors charged at his arraignment today.

Domenic Columbo, 39, was arraigned on two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and a single count of operating under the influence causing serious injury for the crash, which sent the other driver and his passenger to the hospital. Although the driver had relatively minor injuries, his passenger suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple organ lacerations and multiple fractures. WBZ reports the man only started to walk again this week.

Columbo was released on personal recognizance.

According to the DA's office:

Assistant District Attorney Greer Spatz told the court that Columbo was driving home at about 3:25 that morning from his shift at the Youth Violence Strike Force base in his personal vehicle, a Ford F150 pickup truck. He was allegedly traveling at a speed of about 65 miles per hour outbound on Columbia Road, a 25 mph zone.

The hanging traffic signals at the intersection of Columbia Road and Ceylon Street were flashing yellow at this time, signaling drivers to slow down and use caution when approaching the intersection.

At about this time, the victims were travelling outbound on Columbia Road in a Honda Accord and also approaching the intersection. As the Accord turned left onto Ceylon Street, Columbo’s pickup sped through the intersection and crashed into the passenger’s side, badly damaging both vehicles. Several witnesses called 911; the defendant did not. ...

The defendant was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where blood drawn at about 4:10 am showed alcohol in his system. Testing by the State Police Office of Alcohol Testing indicated a blood ethanol concentration of between 0.119% and 0.125%; the legal limit for driving is .08%.

Developer proposes building with tiny apartments in the Fenway

A Cambridge company has filed plans to replace a small parking lot at 72 Burbank St. in the Fenway with a six-story building housing 36 "Compact Living residential rental units," none more than 673 square feet in size.

Forest Properties Management, which owns the adjoining 91 Westland Ave. building the parking lot now serves, says the small size of the units - ranging from about 358 square feet for a studio to 673 square feet for a two-bedroom apartment - are aimed at meeting new "design quality standards for compact living units" now being developed by the city's Housing Innovation Lab.

The compay says the smaller sizes means it can rent all but five of the units to people making between $85,000 and $120,000 a year. The other five units will be set aside for rental as "affordable," because $85,000 is above the area median income for a single person.

New constructed apartments in downtown Boston with this level of affordability are virtually non-existent.

Forest says it will prevent claustrophobia in the small units through steps such as replacing traditionally bulky kitchen appliances with "slimmer, smaller ones." But, the company says, many urbanites want to trade apartment space for the chance to live in a big city they otherwise might not be able to afford - such as graduate students, young professionals and empty nesters:

Many people are more interested in utilizing their resources to enjoy the urban lifestyle experience than consuming large quantities of living space they do not necessarily need.

The building would have no parking spaces. The company says this will help shrink the city's carbon footprint - along with eliminating the parking lot now used for 91 Westland Ave. and energy-efficient building practices and appliances. Forest notes the building is near several Green and Orange Line stations and bus routes and cites the Ruggles commuter-rail and bus station and says the Back Bay and the South End are within walking distance.

In addition to the BPDA, the project will need approval of the zoning board.

72 Burbank St. small-project review application (24M PDF).

Newbury Street to be pedestrian only on three days this summer

The mayor's office reports Newbury Street will shut to motor vehicles between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9, as part of the third annual summer "Open Newbury Street."

In a statement, Mayor Walsh said:

From being able to shop for products both in the store and out, to enjoying lunch next to a street performer, we are happy that residents and visitors will get to experience this opportunity, and are grateful to the business owners and residents who have worked with us to expand this next edition of the Open Newbury Street series.

More condos proposed for hot Allston/Brighton development corridor

Developers have filed plans for a seven-story, 46-unit condo building on Penniman Road, in a corridor that runs into Brighton where hundreds of housing units are being built or planned.

Jumbo Capital Management of Quincy, owned by Jay Hirsh, Stephen Laverty, Bradford Spencer, and the Michaels Organization of Marlton, NJ, say their proposed 30 Penniman Rd. building would provide "much-needed high-quality housing."

Six of the units would be sold as affordable. And two of those would be set aside for sale specifically to artists looking for "live/work spaces" - they would have higher ceilings and "more modest finishes" and the owners would have gallery space dedicated to their work in the gallery the Michaels Organization has proposed building as part of a 262-unit complex on Rugg Road that would have eight affordable units for artists.

In addition to providing affordable housing for artists, the Proponent intends to work closely with the artists who will call 30 Penniman and 40 Rugg Road home, as well as the artist’s community as whole, to incorporate public art components throughout the development, which may include wayfinding signs, artistic bike racks, outdoor seating, and plantings and associated landscape architecture.

The proposed new Penniman building would be within walking distance of the Boston Landing commuter-rail stop, which New Balance paid for as part of its massive development along Guest Street, and the Stop & Shop site, where the supermarket chain has proposed 1,000 residential units.

The building would have a 40-space garage.

30 Penniman Rd. small-project review application (28M PDF).
Latest Allston development news.

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