Residents Weigh in on 144 Addison St Project

Following several community meetings and a Boston Planning and Development Agency sponsored meeting two weeks ago residents have written several public comment letters to the BPDA raising some concerns over the large development project at 144 Addison St.

While the public comment period ended last Friday, the BPDA is currently in the process of reviewing the community comments and the proposal under the city’s Article 80 large project review process. Gate Residential Properties, LLC and Bulgroup Colorado, LLC’s Damian Szary plan to develop the 143,139 square-foot parcel at 144 Addison St. into a mixed-use development. Szary and his group, known for developments in Chelsea and Revere, want to create an approximately 189,770 square-foot-gross-floor-area, transit-oriented residential development, creating approximately 270 new housing units, approximately 179 parking spaces, and landscape and streetscape improvements.

Szary said that after the BPDA reviews the project and comments his group is ready to address any outstanding issues or concerns the community or city might have. Abutters to the project like Melissa Campbell said her biggest issues with the project are the scale, the impact on local traffic and parking.

“As an East Boston resident and a direct abutter to the project, I am firmly opposed to the 144 Addison Street development proposal as it is currently designed,” she said.

“The scale of this project (270 units) is too large for the community and will have a detrimental effect on the fabric of the neighborhood. A project of this magnitude will greatly increase the traffic on local streets due to its egresses on Addison Street, as well as the private road behind the hotel linking to Boardman Street. This will greatly increase traffic on already highly trafficked routes of Boardman, Addison, Saratoga, Bennington, Neptune ‚Äì areas that are already pain points for commuters, especially during rush hour. I am very opposed to the plan for vehicular access from the building to local streets and feel that sole access should be from 1A.”

Campbell said that while the developer has touted the project as a transit oriented‚ project she feels that is unrealistic.

“We feel that residents will have many more cars than the developer is claiming, which will both increase traffic and lead to parking shortages on neighboring streets,” she said.

Another issue concerns a prior City of Boston Board of Appeal zoning decision and agreement that was made with the neighborhood in 1993 with prior owners of the site. “This agreement between the owners and the community, as part of an exchange for zoning relief, set stipulations in place to limit the sites impact on the neighboring community by limiting employee-only badged vehicular access from Addison Street,” said Campbell.

Member of the project’s Impact Advisory Group (AIG) Mary Berninger said there were several aspects of the project that were concerning.

“The biggest controversy surrounding the proposal is the access route to the property,” said Berninger. “The McClellan Highway driveway should be the only entrance and exit point for the new residents, moving companies,delivery services and taxis/ride-sharing companies.The goal should be making sure that there is no additional traffic impact to the current residents on Addison and Saratoga streets”

While Berninger expressed residents’ concerns over density and height, she also pointed out that there is not enough parking at the site.

“Relying on an assumption that residents won’t have vehicles in large numbers cannot be known at this point,” she said. “Personal vehicles are needed by many,for a variety of reasons,and those vehicles should not be parked on local streets because of a lack of spaces built into the proposal.”

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