Community Updated on One Short Street Project

Members of the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) like Matt Barison are asking a local developer looking to build on a piece of land on Short Street to come back with a more reasonable proposal that the neighborhood can accept.

Originally, developer Joe Ricupero pitched demolishing the home at 1 Short St. and erecting a four-story, 24-unit condo development with 21 parking spots. That plan was immediately shot down after neighbors complained that the proposed building would be totally out of context for the neighborhood.

At Monday night’s HVNA meeting Ricupero and his attorney, Jeff Drago, came back with further tweaks to the project.

Drago said the project has been further scaled back after the first HVNA meeting with residents and neighbors. Drago said the number of units has been reduced to 23 with 21 parking spaces. The top floor has also been pulled backed to create the illusion from the street that it doesn’t exist. The developer has also reduced the size some of the units to cut down the developments Floor Area Ratio or FAR. Ricupero has also agreed to remove the rear decks in order to maintain the privacy of the yards that abut the property.

Ricupero’s architect also redesigned the building. Instead of one large, box-style development the new design includes bays, gables and other details found in other buildings in Eastie.

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

Because the property abuts the shoreline near Wood Island flats the project, Drago explained, would be subjected to Chapter 91 regulation with 30 percent of the site being open public green space. The greenspace, both the public and private portions, would have trees, benches on property, possible connections to the existing Greenway, a bridge to walk to water, rain garden, drought/flood resistant plants, as well as lawns and BBQ spaces for residents.

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.

Barison, who lives down the street from the proposed project, vowed to fight tooth and nail against the project as it’s currently proposed.

“We have something special going on in this little part of East Boston,” said Barison. “Something like this would totally ruin it. There’s not even a one to one parking ratio. Bottom line is this I’m going to fight this project every step of the way. I will take you (Ricupero) to court. This is unacceptable. This does not meet the mandate of thinking of the context of the existing neighborhood. If you can come back with something that’s reasonable I think it will be something the abutters will seriously consider and we can work together on something good. It’s just too big. I implore you to come back with something reasonable or be prepared for a fight.” Another resident said he thinks the current design shown at the meeting was “unbecoming’ especially on a quiet street.

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