No historic review needed on Peter Parley house

June 7, 2013
By

PARKSIDE—The partial demolition at 6 Peter Parley Road, which is the former home of the pioneer physician Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, does not fall under Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) review because the structure is not being completely demolished, according to City officials.

BLC automatically reviews total demolitions, but not partial ones, according to City officials.

The construction project has brought criticism from neighbors and an architectural historian, saying it goes against the approved plan and destroys a historic house that is more than 100 years old. Only the first-floor exterior walls and the basement remain of a previously three-story, single-family house. Plans are to build three condos at the site.

According to Steve Jerome, an architectural historian and member of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, Zakrzewska was a pioneer woman physician and founder of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, which is now the Dimock Community Health Center. Zakrzewska moved into the newly built house in 1892.

Inspectional Services Department (ISD) spokesperson Lisa Timberlake said a housing inspector went to the construction site and that the developer, Stephen Pitrowski, is following the approved plan.

ISD Commissioner Bryan Glascock said the project does fall under Article 85 because the building is not being completely demolished. Article 85 of the zoning code requires an automatic delay in issuing a demolition permit for a building more than 50 years of age while BLC reviews possible historic preservation.

According to a Boston Redevelopment Authority zoning document, the definition of demolition means “any act of pulling down, destroying, razing or removing a building, or the commencement of such work with the intent to complete the same.”

Judy Neiswander of the Boston Preservation Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for historic preservation projects in the City, said the organization is aware of what is happening at 6 Peter Parley Road and is in discussion with the City about the Article 85 process.

“We’re using the issues here as an opportunity to learn how to improve the process and we’ve already begun discussions with the City on that front,” she said in an email to the Gazette.