The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) on Tuesday approved a proposal at 541 Massachusetts Ave. to change the occupancy of the building, which is currently legally a lodging house and church, to five residential units.
Zoning violations include excessive lot area, excessive Floor Area Ratio, insufficient rear yard, and no off-street parking is proposed. Additionally, a variance is needed since four units is what is allowed in a rowhouse district but five are being proposed.
Attorney Matt Eckel said that the proposal also includes renovation of the building and the installation of a sprinkler system. Currently, the upper floors are used as residences for the family of the church. An earlier proposal was for seven condominium units, but after discussion with the community, it was lowered to five.
Eckel said that he thinks this project is “consistent” with the rest of the neighborhood and the team has worked with the community to lower the number of units. He also mentioned a deck space that currently exists but will be made “more functional” for future residents of the building.
Kim Crucioli of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said that an abutters meeting was held in August, and “in general,” there were “no major concerns.” She said that the Chester Square Neighbors and direct abutters provided letters of support. City Councilor Kim Janey was also in support of the project.
The ZBA voted to approve the project as presented.