Zoning Board of Appeals Approves Several Projects

The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) granted variances to projects at 142 St. Botolph St. and 593-595 Albany St., as well as clarified an issue with the approval of the proposed cannabis dispensary at 48-62 Brookline Ave.

48-62 Brookline Ave.

Attorney Dennis Quilty represented the applicant, a recreational cannabis dispensary that is looking to open a location at 48-62 Brookline Ave for a board final arbiter decision. He said that the “board granted relief subject to a one year sunset, if you will.” He said that the facility has not been able to operate as of yet, because the applicant had not yet received the state license.

The ZBA had asked the applicant to return one year after opening to see how things are going at the location. Quilty said that they are “asking for relief so we can get back to you after we’ve opened.”

ZBA Chair Christine Araujo asked what the reasons were for the need for the review. Quilty said that “I’m pretty sure…there were concerns raise by Fenway Park,” as this location is nearby, and that they “wanted to make sure the operation was consistent with good business practices.”

The ZBA clarified that the applicant needs to return before the ZBA one year from the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.

142 Saint Botolph St.

Attorney Marc LaCasse spoke on behalf of Abhayjit Bedi, the applicant who is proposing to add a partial fourth floor to his existing unit, which will add about 650 additional square feet of living space.

He said that this proposal will also required Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) design review.

Molly Griffin of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said that an abutters meeting was held on Feb. 2, where one neighbor had a concern. She said that “I believe the applicant worked with them” Additionally, Griffin said that the Mayor’s Office has received a letter in support from another tenant living at 142 St. Botolph St.

The ZBA voted to approve the proposal as presented.

593-595 Albany St.

The proposal at 591-595 Albany St. was heard as a re-discussion as this project came before the board in Feb.

“…there was a request to change the unit count from nine to 10 as a good faith gesture,” said attorney Marc LaCasse. “That has been done,” he added, saying that the “building itself is largely the same.”

The building will feature two one bedroom units, four two bedroom units, three three bedroom units, and one four bedroom unit, all for home ownership. One unit will be an affordable unit under the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy.

“We have universal support for this project,” LaCasse said. There will also be street level retail space that will “wrap around the corner of the building.”

The building will also feature one public and one private roof deck.

“Each of the units have small balconies or some measure of usable outdoor space,” LaCasse said.

He added that the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) has issued a demolition order for the existing building since the last time the ZBA heard this proposal. He said that “ISD has determined that the temporary shoring is insufficient,” and the proponents will continue their work with the Landmarks Commission as they have been doing for the new building, which will have a height of 69 feet, “consistent” with the maximum of 70 feet in the district.

ZBA member Eric Robinson said that the “proposed height is fairly consistent with Albany St.”

Kim Crucioli of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said that an abutters meeting was held in Sept. of last year, and the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association is in support. She also said that the Mayor’s Office has received “multiple letters of support” from other abutters. ‘This would be a great addition and bring liveliness to the area,” Crucioli said.

The project is located within the Groundwater Conservation Overlay District (GCOD), which requires letters certifying that no harm will be done to the water table, which Christian Simonelli of the Boston Groundwater Trust said had been received. The  ZBA confirmed that they had also received them.

City Councilor Ed Flynn is also in support of the project, and requested that the proponent continue to work with abutters during construction.

Bob D’Amico of the Boston Transportation Department expressed concern with Thorn St., the private way that was mentioned in the proposal. He said that he wants to ensure maneuverability in the area.

“Thorn St. indeed is a new through street connection connecting the two blocks,” LaCasse said. He said that at 20 feet wide, it is “designated as a private way.” He said that abutters have rights to the street and the public also has the right to use it “because it connects to public streets.” The ZBA voted to approve the proposal as presented with BPDA design review

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