Roof Deck Redemption

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

A proposal to add a roof deck at 161 Leyden Street got a second chance during the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council’s (OHNC) monthly meeting last week and was approved after it was opposed in September.

Last month, the proposed roof deck was overwhelmingly opposed by a vote of 21 to 3, with five abstaining after the project’s contractor presented to the council.

However, this month, the owners, along with the architect from Flow Design, attended the meeting in an effort to get support from the OHNC.

The owners moved to Orient Heights in 2019, and one of them said, “We really enjoy the neighborhood. We’d like to build a roof deck on the building just to be able to enjoy the outdoors while we are a part of the neighborhood.”

It was also explained that currently, their neighbors have a roof deck on one half of the roof and that since they have roof rights for the other half, they want to put a roof deck on their side.

Since last month’s meeting, the roof deck design was updated based on feedback from the community, which included removing a pergola and reducing the roof deck’s footprint.

One resident asked if it would be possible just to share the roof deck that is already there. However, one of the owners said, “The building was designed to have two roof decks, but then the builder didn’t finish it.”

Additionally, the owners addressed concerns about bottles being thrown off the roof deck, with one saying, “We’re definitely not doing that. We’re both working professionals; we’re very quiet, we keep to ourselves, we don’t intend to throw raging parties.”

Another resident did not like the idea that the owners came before the council asking for support for the roof deck but had not been to meetings previously.

However, one owner responded, “Honestly, until we were going through this process, I didn’t even know this group existed. No one told us about it; it wasn’t something that we were aware of.” The other owner also mentioned that the duo would be happy to participate in the future.

In terms of comments from abutters, one who was in attendance at the meeting was not against it. Moreover, an abutters meeting was held in July, but nobody attended.

In the end, there seemed to be minimal pushback from residents about the roof deck, and after tweaking plans and coming back to the OHNC, the proponents got the support they sought by a vote of 20 to 5, with two voters abstaining.

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