OHNC January Meeting Recap

On Monday night, the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council (OHNC) held its January meeting and at the meeting the Council voted on two development projects and heard presentations on two other projects.

First, OHNC members voted 9 to 2 in favor of the project at 35 Leyden St. There the developer plans to raze and existing six-family building and erect new nine unit condo building with 11 off street parking.

The developer has worked closely with abutters to come up with a design that compliments many of the homes on Leyden Street with more traditional architecture mirroring some of the triple-deckers on the street.

Lyden Street resident Jim Kearney said he did not like the first design that was presented, but after working with neighbors the developer did a good job coming up with a better product.

“The developer met with abutters several times to address the issues we had with the design,” said Kearney who lives directly across the street from the proposed project. “I’m happy with what the developers have done. The current building is an eyesore and this project will improve the neighborhood with homeownership opportunities so I’m voting yes.”

The developer will be seeking zoning relief for Use, Floor Area Ratio, Height and Parking.

Next, the group voted 11 to 0 in favor of the project at 6 Faywood Ave. The proponent was simply asking the group to support plans to add a second floor with additional living space to an existing two-family home.

After voting on the two projects OHNC heard from Attorney Matt Eckel on two projects.

The first project at 170 Gladstone plans to keep an existing building erecting in 1907 on the corner of Gladstone and Breed Streets and add second 3-story building with eight units of housing and four off-street parking spots.

This was the first meeting regarding this project so Eckel said he was at Monday’s OHNC to get feedback from residents on what they like and don’t like about the plans.

“We want to hear your concerns,” he said. “This project needs zoning relief and we will design and redesign. We want to be in constant contact with the abutters because it is still very early in the process. So we want to come out and have these conversations and discussions about what works and what doesn’t work.”

Immediately some OHNC members said only four parking spaces was going to be an issue as well as the height of the building, which is proposed at 41 feet.

Others like Joe Arangio said the development was ‘too big for Gladstone Street”.

“The area is zoned for two-families so eight units is out of context with the surrounding community,” said Arangio. “Frankly we are being oversaturated with big lot development.”

Lastly, Eckel updated OHNC members on the project at the Gladstone Lots. There the proposal is to erect a four-story building with 79 units and 80 parking spaces plus eight on-street spaces as well as maintaining open and public greenspace.

The project is subjected to the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) Article 80 process, which Eckel believes will be thorough and lengthy.

Eckel has already presented this project once before to the group and said some changes have already been made.

The developer has reconfigured access in and out of the site to accomodate for the eight additional parking spaces.

In order to minimize the massing of the building, which some equated to a large box that looked more like a hotel than an apartment complex, the developer has broken up the facade of the building so it looks more like individual row houses than one large building.

The ultramodern style has also been softened so the building looks more like some of the other homes on the street. Some still had concerns of the sheer size of the proposal and called 79 units a ‘major game changer’ for the otherwise quiet Gladstone Street.

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