The owners of the condos at 524 East Broadway, a four-story building near H Street in South Boston, today sued the Zoning Board of Appeal and the couple that owns the neighboring house, seeking to block construction of a four-story extension to the house next door, saying the board had some nerve approving a four-story addition that will harm them and set a precedent that will let owners of other smallish buildings over-densify the neighborhood.
In their suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the owners of the eight condo units charge that Lowell and Donna Marie Rans, who want to turn their one-family house into a four-unit building through a four-story addition in the back, failed to prove they had a "substantial hardship" that could only be fixed with variances for a project.
The Board's bare finding that there are special circumstances with respect to the Property, such as narrowness, shallowness or shape of the lot, are not legally sufficient reasons to support a finding that the conditions are peculiar to such land but not the neighborhood, or that such conditions deprive the owner of reasonable use of the Property. Not only is the property not unique or peculiar, it is very similar in size and shape to the surrounding lots of the neighborhood.
In contrast, they charge, the new be-decked additio, which the board approved in November, 2021, will deprive them of privacy and sun on one side of their building, is taller than allowed by the street's current zoning, is too close to their property line.
The closeness of the proposed dwelling to the Plaintiff's property and dwelling creates unnecessary security and safety risks by means of possible fire safety issues, water intrusion, and loss of privacy.
Their condo owner's building is also taller than would be allowed by current zoning and extends right to the property line as well, but is grandfathered in because it was built before current zoning was adopted.
In addition to zoning concerns, the owners say that construction of the addition will mean noise, dirt, odors and vibrations that will "certainly" harm them and that the building will only lead to further parking woes along Broadway.
Their complaint asks a judge to reverse the zoning board's decision.
Complete complaint (6.6M PDF).