The Board of Appeals yesterday approved a six-story, 24-unit apartment building on Dorchester Avenue where it enters Andrew Square.
Developer Christopher Roche's building would include ground-floor restaurant space. The building will have no parking, both because of its location on the other side of the square from the Red Line stop and because the lot's configuration - it sits on a wedge of land - would make any vehicles exiting a menace to themselves and oncoming traffic. The BPDA approved the project last month.
Of the 24 apartments, 22 would be one-bedroom units between 502 and 581 square feet and two studios of less than 345 square feet. Four of the units will be marketed as affordable.
Nobody spoke in opposition to the proposal; representatives of several elected officials said the local civic association is looking forward to the replacement of the current auto-glass garage as a way of helping to revive Andrew Square.
But board member Anthony Pisani, an architect who reviews each application's plans and who usually pronounces them "adequate," called Roche's plans "discouraging" - not because of anything Roche did but because they fit in with a BPDA policy he said is going to lead to ever shrinking apartments, making Boston even harder for families to stay in or move into.
Because the units are all smaller than normally called for in city regulations - which set a minimum size of 450 square feet for a studio, Roche had to provide some common space for residents. Current BPDA guidelines call for 35 square feet per unit, which in this case meant an 800-square foot common space on the second floor. Pisani said that because the amount of common space per unit is not tied to the size of the units, the result will be to encourage developers to shrink their units even more - since a 200-square-foot unit is penalized no more than a 340-square-foot unit, Pisani said.
Roche's attorney, George Morancy, said Roche could have easily just submitted plans for 24 studios by removing a wall from each apartment, which would meet city guidelines, but added it's not his place to argue BPDA policy, just to comply with it.
603 Dorchester Ave. small-project review application (18.3M PDF).