More city councilors oppose condos

August 17, 2012
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At-Large Boston City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley joined the opposition to condo buildings proposed for 207-209 Chestnut Ave. in a letter sent last month to the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD). City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who already opposed the project, also signed the letter.

Developer Pat McKenna told the Gazette this week that he expects the project to be approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) after he makes some minor changes to the plan. The BRA review is ongoing, according to spokesperson Melina Schuler.

In the July 24 letter to ISD, the councilors repeated concerns previously raised by neighbors in a two-year-long dispute. They include the loss of trees and an existing historic house on the site, as well as concerns about water runoff and the possible negative effects of digging a foundation into the rocky ledge under the property.

“Neighbors and abutters to this property have expressed valid concerns about the proposed plan,” said Arroyo, a Jamaica Plain resident, in an email to the Gazette. “They care about our Jamaica Plain community and want to see a plan that is in the best interest of the entire neighborhood. We deserve a response to these concerns.”

Pressley believes McKenna has put a lot of work into the plan, but that are are still “key issues that need to be looked at to make sure folks feel like it’s moving in the right direction,” according to Jessica Taubner, her chief of staff.

McKenna said he already has Boston Water and Sewer Commission approval for his plan.

McKenna plans to build two two-family condo buildings on the site. The plan requires no zoning variances. But it requires BRA design review because the property is within the Glenvale Park Neighborhood Design Overlay District. That means projects must meet the general historic character of the neighborhood, which includes many mansions from the 1800s.