By Cary Shuman
Attorney Richards Lynds gave a presentation on a proposed residential development at 202 Maverick St. during a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) community meeting Jan. 21 at the Noddle Island Community Room.
BRA Project Manager Phil D. Cohen presided over the meeting where Lynds spoke about the 23-residential-unit structure that would be built at the corner of Maverick and Frankfort Streets and include on-site parking for 20 vehicles beneath the building with access from McKay Place.
“It is our job to assist developments through the Article 80 [Small Project] process,” Cohen said in his opening remarks.
Lynds, representing East Boston Management and Development LLC and its principal, Matt Newman, updated the gathering on the condominium project that will have 23 residential units (7 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom, 5 three-bedroom). Twenty-one of the units will be located on the first three levels that measure 37 feet above the sidewalk and two units will be located on a fourth penthouse level that is nine feet above the main roof.
“Twenty of these units will be what we call market rate and three would be affordable,” said Lynds.
“This [designation of affordable] would probably require 2 two-bedroom units and 1 one-bedroom – the two-bedroom units would be for a family earning about $55,000 per year, the one-bedroom would be for one person earning $48,000 a year,” said Cohen.
During his presentation Lynds noted that after hearing comments about the project from local residents, the developer chose to reduce the size of the building and the number of units and to eliminate the concept of having a commercial space (restaurant) on the first level of the property.
While the audience as a whole appreciated the thoroughness and professionalism of Lynds’s presentation of the project that would result in bringing a sparkling, new building and vibrancy to the area, there were concerns expressed about the increasing number of new developments in East Boston and the entire community meeting process.
Gina Scalcione, president of the Gove Street Citizens Association and an abutter, spoke against the project. “The reason why the Gove Street Citizens Association was established is because we are getting overburdened with projects from different developers who are absentee landlords. It doesn’t help our community at all by having a project like this. The design is humongous and there is no open space at all.”
There was a brief discussion whether Lynds had appeared at a GSCA meeting to make a presentation. The attorney has, in fact, appeared at multiple JPNA meetings and one GSCA meeting.
Peter Sullivan, an abutter, asked Lynds if the BRA forced him to attend the BRA community meeting.
“Nobody forces anybody to come to a meeting,” replied Lynds. “This [community meeting] is part of the BRA process,” said Lynds. “The BRA has a very straightforward setout process that says when you do an Article 80 [Small] Project, you have to hold a meeting and we’re doing that.
“The Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (who voted 10-7 in favor of the project in August) has a very specific process – they outlined what their process was and we did it,” said Lynds. “I asked the Gove Street Citizens Association [GSCA] what their process was. I was never told what the process was. I made a presentation [at a Gove Street Association meeting].
Summarizing his opinion on the consensus of the audience, Cohen said, “So what I’m hearing mostly is that you would like the development team to come back and present, possibly for a vote.”
“We want him to change the project to the character of the neighborhood,” said Scalcione. “It needs to be scaled down and it needs to be negotiated.”
Scalcione said after the BRA meeting that she would welcome a second presentation by Lynds at a GSCA meeting followed by a vote on the project. The GSCA meets on the fourth Monday of each month.
According to Lynds, the next steps in the process are tentative meetings tentatively scheduled for Feb. 11 (BRA) and March 8 (Zoning Board of Appeals).