NEWRA Opposes North Street Housing Proposal

By Phil Orlandella

Three voting items were on the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) September monthly meeting agenda that was held in the Nazzaro Community Center where close to 75 residents attended including project abutters and non-members.

The Neighborhood Association opposed a request by Joseph Bocelli, the project manager for the rehabilitation of 278-284 North Street.

The owner has applied to the City of Boston Board of Appeal to change the legal occupancy to reflect the existing condition of three residential building and one commercial to 17 family residential dwelling and two commercial spaces.

The building renovations include a new water sprinkler and 17 residential units of two and three bedroom units and studios. All construction will be indoors and there will be no height violations or roof deck. Only mechanical systems will be placed at the center of the buildings.

NEWRA voted 12-17 not to support the proposal due to no parking for at least 30 or more possible vehicles and student rentals even though the developer told them the units will be for families, not student rentals.

The use of the two commercial spaces was not presented.

 “The project prompted intense community opposition along two dimensions – concern about housing targeted at students, and opposition to more AirBnBs in the neighborhood.  Because the bedrooms were extremely small, the developer was unable to calm the community.  “One tip for future developers – avoid bedrooms less than 100 square feet and the community will be more likely to believe it’s not a dorm or a microhotel,” NEWRA President Ford Cavallari said.

NEWRA voted 26-1 in support of a request by the owner of 10 Moon Street to extend the living space in the building by converting part of the basement. Frank and Gloria Giammanco own and live in the building.

The Westmont Battery Wharf Hotel, 2-5 Battery Wharf has applied to the Board of Appeal to add live entertainment as an allowed use on their Certificate of Occupancy.

The hotel will only use the license in the interior of the hotel designed areas. No external live entertainment will take place, not even in their restaurant or the Leaders Lounge area which abutters opposed.

NEWRA supported the zoning relief but they asked the hotel to return to the members when they actually apply for the live entertainment part of their proposal.

Representatives from the Greenway Conservancy gave an update on the possible installation of the art to be installed in Parcel 8 of the North End Parks. The art will be on display May-October 2017 and will be paid by private funding.

            The next NEWRA monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, October 13 at 7pm in the Nazzaro Community Center.

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