NEWRA Supports Redevelopment Plans at 279 North Street

November 19, 2018
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The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted 18-13 on Nov. 8, to support redevelopment plans at 279 North Street by property owners, Michael and Peta Prinn, represented by Attorney Daniel Toscano. The proposal had twice been deferred at the September and October  NEWRA meetings. The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) also voted to support the proposal in September.

The proponents are longtime North End residents and intend to live at the renovated property with their three children and lease the other two rental units at the property. They have applied to add a fifth story (with private roof deck), extend basement living space and renovate the entire building to result in a three-family dwelling (reduced from five family). The final height will be approx. 48 feet (plus parapet/headhouse) with an elevator and stairwell inside.

The Prinns have made adjustments to their plans and secured an agreement with an abutter at 57 Fleet St. (Jake Gutterman) who previously opposed, but is now supporting the proposal. Talks with an owner across the street at 50 Fleet St. (Bernie Sapienza, represented by attorney Jocelyn Campbell) were continuing at the time of the NEWRA meeting. Mr. Sapienza made his own presentation to identify concerns of reduced privacy, views, light, space and air as a result of the fifth floor addition and roof deck. He asked NEWRA members to vote against the plans.

Past NEWRA president, Mary McGee, advised the neighbors to consider a compromise rather than extending their disagreement and ending up in court. Another past NEWRA president, Ford Cavallari, raised the concern that 3-family buildings will be allowed to use AirBnb under the City of Boston’s new regulations. The Prinns said they have no plans to use short-term rentals and NEWRA’s letter of support will cite that condition.

NEWRA and NEWNC votes are advisory to the Zoning Board of Appeal that will make the final determination.