At the December meeting earlier this month, members of the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) voted down two development proposals.
The first project at 647-649 Bennington, HVNA members voted 22 to three against the project that called for converting an existing three family into a two-family, subdivide the lot and erect another two-family on the site.
Attorney Marc LaCasse, representing owner Barry Caine, said no major changes would happen to the existing building except some interior work. For the new structure, LaCasse said his client reduced the project from four stories with three units to three stories with two units. The project would still include two off street parking spaces.
HVNA members argued that the pandemic, and Eastie’s high infection rate, should be a warning that developers should be trying to decrease density, not add more density to the neighborhood.
The next project at 7-11 Curtis Street, the site of the Eastern Flooring company, HVNA members voted 23 to nine against the project to demolish the existing business and erect two buildings. One building would be on Curtis Street with 21 units and a second building would be constructed on Saratoga Street with eight units.
Attorney Jeff Drago, representing owners Seth Williams and Jim Grossman, said his clients took a lot of feedback from the previous community meetings and a BPDA meeting.
Drago said his clients reduced the building size from five stories to four stories and parking has been put underground. They also added greenspace and added greenscaping along the frontages.
The owners also reduced the overall square footage by 1,400 square feet and completely changed from a contemporary look to a more traditional look that mirrors current buildings on Saratoga Street.
Some members were on board with the changes with one resident saying, “I have been in the neighborhood for over 40 years. This could be a great opportunity for the neighborhood. I look forward to the new building and new activity in the area”.
However, others pointed again to then density, lack of parking and the overall size and scope of the project as another example of over building in the neighborhood. Both projects will need approval from the city before moving forward.