House expansion questioned

March 16, 2007
By

PONDSIDE—The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) tabled a request for a zoning variance to construct a two-story addition to the rear of the house at 91 Prince St. after abutters voiced concerns about setting a precedent for density in the neighborhood.

Board officers were elected, and board members who wished to remain on the board were reinstalled, while potential new board members were introduced at the group’s annual membership meeting March 5, at the Rogerson House on the Jamaicaway.

91 Prince St.
Roberta Henderson and her architect, John Spears, appeared before the JPA board because their plans to construct a two-story addition to the rear of Henderson’s house exceeds the allowed floor-to-area ratio (FAR). The board deferred a decision until the next meeting. In the meantime, Henderson and neighbors will attempt to compromise.

Henderson said she needs the extra space to accommodate her parents’ needs, who would move into the first floor of the addition. She also said she is planning to adopt a child who would move into the second floor, which would include room for an office. A deck with a hot tub was also part of the plans, which alarmed neighbors due to its proximity to their property.

“This is not a lot of space, but it’s critical for the new family,” said Spears.

The FAR requirement at the property is 0.5. Spears’ design sets the FAR at 0.57, 387 square feet over the requirement between the two floors.

“My main concern is the density of the neighborhood,” said a neighbor who lives on Prince Street. “This will increase the density and set a precedent. Once this goes in, who knows who else will try [something similar].”

“I’m opposed to this,” said Tom Baker of 87 Prince St., “because, one, the hot-tub encroaches [my property], and two, it sets a precedent for others to increase the footprint of their house.”

“We’re trying to make it not too obtrusive,” said Henderson.

A neighbor also raised concerns and claimed some people on Prince Street were not leafleted.

“I can say for myself that [street] was leafleted,” said Spears. “I did it myself.”

“It seems to me that these folks need to sit down and see if there is any way to make adjustments,” said board member Kevin Moloney.

Henderson and Spears are currently scheduled to appear before the City of Boston zoning Board of Appeal March 27.

“We’d like to get this to work for you,” said board member Myriam Diaz. “If we can help, that’s great, but we also have legitimate concerns with the neighbors.”

Board elections
The JPA board voted 17-0-0 to install the following JPA officers
to a two-year term beginning this March: Mark Zanger, chair; Myriam Diaz, first vice chair; Michael Frank, second vice chair; John Iappini, treasurer; and David Moir, clerk.

The following were added to the board of directors to serve three-year terms beginning this March, also by a 17-0-0 vote: Eric Swardstrom, Marianna Page, Gordon Upton, Christine O’Toole and Nick Balsalle.

A few neighbors also expressed interest in joining the board. Their requests will be processed, and individuals will be contacted by a member of the JPA’s nominating committee.