Developer Goes back to Drawing Board on Coleridge Street Project

Following a contentious Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) meeting last month the developers of the project on a vacant waterfront lot at 181 Coleridge St. went back to the drawing board and unveiled a new plan Monday night.

At 19 units and 22 parking spaces the project, dubbed “The Residences at Coleridge Coast”, was deemed too large. With that, developer Ryan Acone’s and his team were unable to move the needle in terms of community support despite reducing the number of units from 26 to 19.

Acone and his team were back before the Harbor View Neighborhood Association Monday night with a radical change to the design and scope of the project.

“We heard the neighborhood loud and clear in terms of density, parking, design and other issues,” said Acone. “We are here with a project we think will fit better with the surrounding neighborhood.”

Acone said the new plan reduced the amount of units from 19 to 9 units but keeping the parking at 22 off-street spots. Instead of mainly one-bedroom units the new plan will include larger units geared more towards families.

“We have also eliminated the commercial space on the first floor because that was something the community wasn’t interested in,” said Acone.

The design is more traditional with bay windows, clapboards and other elements that harken back to the era when most of the other homes on Coleridge Street were built.

The project is still subjected to state Chapter 91 review because it is on the water. Fifty percent of the 19,000 square-foot lot needs to be public open space with access to the water’s edge.

Acone’s proposal would include long-term planning as it relates to sea-level rise. The project would be built above the projected sea level rise totals and would use other climate ready and resiliency techniques to ensure the project stays dry for future generations.

The Chapter 91 public access would consist of a harbor walk in the rear of the development that would be accessible from Rice Street.

Acone started the process in 2018. Before filing a letter of intent with the city he met with neighbors, talked with abutters, had a few brainstorming sessions at the Harbor View Neighborhood Association before even coming up with a proposal.

After a series of meetings with the community Acone first proposed building a 26-unit condo development on the 19,000 square-foot vacant lot on Coleridge Street. Reaction from the community was not good so Acone again reduced the number of units to 22 and completely redesigned the look of the project. After further meetings he dropped the unit count to 20 and again to 19.

While all these elements and changes were the result of months working with abutters and the HVNA the group still voted down the project.

While these major changes to the project should have made everyone at Monday’s meeting exstatic there were still some that seem to be against anything going on the lot and are prepared to hold up the process.

One resident said the entire community process should start over because the changes are so drastic and called for another abutters meeting and more HVNA meetings.

However, Acone, who is close to three years into the process, was of the opinion that Monday’s meeting was just another step in a long community process that has been constantly evolving to address abutters and HVNA member’s concerns.

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