ZBA Approves Proposed Bay Village Tower on Stuart

By Beth Treffeisen

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted to approve the proposed 212 Stuart St. tower in the Bay Village during the board of directors hearing on Aug. 15. This comes after many hotly contested community meetings led up to the approval by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) this past June.

The ZBA unanimously voted in favor of waiving the variances needed to erect a new 19-story building, including 133 residential units with ground-floor retail, restaurant take-out and bakery space. No parking will be on site.

The last and final step is for the developers Transom Real Estate to get approval from the Bay Village Historical Commission. A hearing date has not been set.

The Bay Village Neighborhood Association executive committee and general membership voted in support of this tower this past April.

“In particular the addition of the townhouses on the back and the movements of the plaza was significant reasons for support from the neighborhood. In addition, the commitment by the BPDA that this size and massing on these parcels would not be appropriate in other parcels in Bay Village was also a significant factor,” said Sarah Herlihy the president of BVNA.

She continued, “I also want to personally support this project and in respect to the parking to the building referenced at 100 Arlington St. that has zero parking – I live right behind it and have not seen an problems with parking.”

Two prior projects, which were approved by the ZBA but never constructed, included an eight-story residential complex with 18 units on the portion of the land in July 2006 and a 10-story, office building in September 2008.

The project will take place on four separate lots, currently home to an open-air parking lot, which Boston Inspectional Department has granted permission to the developers to make one project site.

Variances that needed approval from the ZBA included, insufficient parking, out of compliance with multi-family dwelling units, small or large takeout, restaurant or bakery space, excessive floor to ratio, excessive building height and insufficient open space.

There will be 50 deeded parking spaces in the Revere Parking Garage, dedicated to residents at 212 Stuart St. It will be under a 10-year lease with a 10-year extension.

“The existing sight of Boston that surround this building are might I say eyesores – the Revere Parking Garage is a massive structure, the South Cove, in my view is not one of the most enticing pieces of architecture,” said Clyde Bergstresser a resident of Bay Village. “I think we need something of substance that is beautiful, and I think the developers and the architect have been incredibly accommodating.”

Paul Miller a resident of Bay Village, asked that the board deny the many zoning variances, stating that the height is too high. After speaking with people from the New England Medical Center, Miller learned that a building at 199 feet at this site might impact the helipad response time up to four minutes.

Another resident of Bay Village said that along with the other violations, this building, which is going up in a historic district, is setting a precedent of putting other similar buildings in historic districts around Boston.

A representative from the BPDA said that the agency felt like this was not setting a precedent for historical districts around Boston.

“It is nine times the allowable height,” said Miller. “There used to be 18th-century rowhouses there.”

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