One Short Street Project Has a Long Road Ahead

Judging from the first community meeting at the Harbor View Neighborhood Association regarding 1 Short St., at which members sent developer Joe Ricupero and his attorney Matt Eckel back to the drawing board, it’s going to be a long community process.

Ricupero is planning to demolish the home at 1 Short St. and erect a four-story, 24-unit condo development with 21 parking spots.

Almost immediately there was an audible groan from the audience as Attorney Eckel announced the plan and when the architectural drawing flashed onto the screen the audience erupted into sarcastic laughter at the site of the large development proposal.

Because the property abuts the shoreline near Wood Island flats, the project, Eckel explained, would be subjected to Chapter 91 regulation with 30 percent of the site being open public green space.

Eckel said the greenspace, both the public and private portions, would have trees, benches on property, possible connections to the existing Greenway, bridge to walk to water, rain garden, drought/flood resistant plants as well as lawns and BBQ spaces for residents.

The development would include three studio condos, six 1-bedroom condos, three 1-plus bedroom condos and twelve 2-bedroom condos.

The materials Ricupero plans to use are clapboard siding, cement boards and cedar.

Eckel said after some initial conversations with residents his client reduced the size and scope of what he first envisioned at the site.

However, tweaking the design, increasing setbacks and reducing the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) did little to convince members at the meeting that this would be an acceptable project.

“This is totally out of context for the neighborhood,” said HVNA’s Matt Barison, who lives on the same street as the proposed project. “Abutters current views from the back will be completely destroyed. We will be looking at a big wall of a four-story building.”

Because the development abuts the East Boston Greenway in the rear, East Boston Greenway Council’s Karen Maddalena called the project too big and lambasted Eckel and Ricupero for not reaching out to the Greenway Council.

“We would like developer to come to Greenway Council meetings and work with us as this project moves forward,” said Maddalena.

Another resident said he thinks the current design shown at the meeting was “unbecoming especially for the neighborhood. Too big, too ugly and hurts everyone who lives” on the quiet street.

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