Light at the End of the Tunnel for One-Family Home

Special to the Regional Review

The long road for Sal Lupoli to turn the former Traffic Tunnel Administration Building at 128 North Street into a one-family residence moved closer to reality after the North End Waterfront Residents Association (NEWRA) approved the request with provisions at its meeting last Thursday night. The more than four-year process from the time that Lupoli paid the Commonwealth $3.75M for the building will come to a conclusion  only if Lupoli and the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) reach a signed memorandum of understanding within 10 business days starting from last Friday. More than 40 people came out on a rainy night to attend the meeting, and in some cases gave their take on the proposal to determine the fate of the 6,700 square foot building. The issue could have been settled years ago had Lupoli kept the first floor as a commercial space, rather than as part of the residence, which requires zoning relief. While the exterior of the building cannot be changed, Lupoli’s proposal to convert the building into a one-family home that will consist of five-bedrooms, keeping the roof-deck and two car garage, brought him within the purview of the zoning ordinances. One prominent abutter offered no opinion on the matter. Doug Bowen-Flynn of the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) noted that under the by-laws of the organization, he cannot comment on the project.  Diane Royale said she wanted to see a community component in the building.  She noted that a lot of people “were disappointed” with the proposal for a single-family home. Nolan Previte noted that he always had wanted to live in the North End, but in order to do so, he had to add a fifth floor to his house to accommodate his family. He noted that Lupoli would be an asset to the North End and that dozens of families live in single-family residences. “He will have a positive impact,” said Previte. However, Sarah Turner of the NBSS told of the risks to the NBSS and its students during the construction process. The biggest concern was that there might be a delay in having students complete their courses on time if construction becomes complicated. “We are not there yet,” Turner noted, regarding the negotiations with Lupoli for mitigation measures.  “I’m committed to working with Sarah,” said Lupoli. “We have followed the letter of the law and have been on the sidelines for four years.”  After everyone had their turn to speak, the exact course of action still seemed elusive, as there was a motion to delay the project again by withholding a vote.   “You can’t drag this on forever,” said Attorney Jeffrey Drago, who was representing Lupoli. “Either support, or oppose.” A new motion was drafted to approve the zoning change, provided that both Lupoli and the NBSS have a written agreement to address any future issues that might arise. The agreement must be completed within 10 business days from October 14. The motion carried with 10 members voting to approve and seven opposed. In other news, President Cheryl DeGreco noted there will be a joint meeting with the North End Waterfront Neighborhood Council on November 2 with James Arthur Jemison II, the new director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. The meeting will be held at the Pilot House at 6:30 p.m. New officers for the NEWRA who were elected for the coming year are as follows: Cheryl DelGreco, President Jennifer Crampton, Vice President Kirsten Hoffman, Secretary Mary Ann D’Amato, Treasurer Gregory Heald, Sergeant at Arms

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