Developer Patrick Mahoney was at Monday night’s Orient Heights Neighborhood Council (OHNC) meeting to pitch his plan to build a 100-room hotel behind Belle Isle Liquors on Saratoga Street.
Before Patrick’s attorney, Daniel Toscano, could even get the first few sentences out of his mouth regarding the proposed plans, the audience of 100 strong erupted in sarcastic laughter with numerous angry residents rejecting the project from the start.
Mahoney plans to convert the 36,000 square-foot parcel of land that currently houses August Brothers Oil adjacent to CVS and construct a 32-foot, 100-room hotel with only 35 parking spaces and shuttle service to and from Logan Airport.
After pitching the plan, Mahoney and Toscano took the onslaught of furious comments from residents, many of whom said the quiet residential neighborhood does not need or want a hotel.
Aside from the CVS, Dominos Pizza, Belle Isle Liquors and Excel Academy just before Winthrop Bridge on Saratoga Street there are only single, two and three-family homes lining the surrounding streets.
“This is an irresponsible development,” said OHNC member Mary Berninger. “Honestly, you’ll have cars coming in and out impacting the already bad traffic on Saratoga Street. I suggest, and I suggest this very strongly, you stop this project now because this is a neighborhood of families. It’s really nervey to come into this community and expect support for this. It is not the right place for a hotel. You wouldn’t want one near your home so we don’t want it near our homes. We didn’t buy our homes to live next door to a hotel.”
Each time Toscano or Mahoney tried to answer questions from the audience they were shouted down and told to put the project ‘somewhere else.’
However, the problem for residents in the area is the parcel that the proposed hotel would be built on lies within the neighborhood’s Economic Development Area (EDA) and a hotel is an allowable use under the city’s EDA zoning.
Toscano said the proposal from height to number of rooms to the use is all ‘zoning compliant.’
With the new IPOD or Interim Planning Overlay District in place in Eastie Mahoney needs to go through a community process and will need the Zoning Board of Appeals to sign off on the project. However, because the project is in the EDA it seems like there wouldn’t be much the ZBA could do to stop the project.