Real Estate Today: Scale of Washington St. development worries neighbors

September 27, 2013
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A developer’s proposal for two buildings containing 20 residential units and more than 5,000 square feet of commercial space at 3371-3375 Washington St. and 197 Green St. is drawing concern from neighbors.

Meanwhile, the proposal was scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Sept. 10, but has been delayed until December, according to Inspectional Services Department spokesperson Lisa Timberlake. She said the delay is to allow the proposal to undergo a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

The BRA did not respond to a request for comment. The developer of the project, Walter Craven, also did not respond to a request for comment.

The plan calls for two buildings at 3371-3375 Washington St. and 197 Green St. Each building would have commercial space in the first floor with three floors of residential units above. The project would have 32 parking spaces, including a 17-space lot and a 15-space garage.

The plan apparently involves demolishing the existing buildings, which include a commercial building on Washington Street and a single-family house on Green Street. Craven ran the longtime welding business Weld-Rite from the Washington Street building, which also has been home to a restaurant and other businesses. Walter and Joan Craven own the single-family house, according to City of Boston assessing records. He gave a home address in Quincy on his ZBA application.

Neighbors have expressed concern about the scale of the project, including increases in traffic and density. Ruben van Leeuwen, who lives at 10 Union Ave., a road that runs behind the site, said he doesn’t “necessarily oppose the project,” but is concerned with the height of the buildings and that green space with trees will be turned into a parking lot.

“Green space is a great thing of JP. We have to think about losing it because it is hard to get back,” said Leeuwen.

He said his neighbors’ reactions have been “mixed.” Leeuwen said he wants to support “something that works for the neighborhood” and looks forward to having further conversations with Craven.

There is also a statement signed by more than 35 neighbors that raises the issue of the height of the building and other concerns and asks the ZBA to deny the project unless Craven works with them to fix the problems.