Developer, neighbors ‘restart’ over controversial project

Neighbors and the developer of a controversial project at 57 Wachusett St. have hit the “restart button” after recently meeting with each other, according to local resident Tess Pope. The meeting was brokered by Greg Galer of the Boston Preservation Alliance.

“The meeting went really well,” she said. “We cleared a lot of air.”

Developer Stephen Ballas plans to demolish a 115-year-old Victorian house at 57 Wachusett St. and replace it with eight townhomes in three new buildings. The plan has drawn the ire of neighbors.

Pope said that neighbors at the meeting expressed concerns over the density of the project, as well as a desire to see the project resemble the rest of the neighborhood conceptually.

She said Ballas responded that he felt he had been misrepresented and that he would return with three drawings. The first drawing would keep the Victorian house, with buildings next to it. The second would keep an old carriage building and erect two new buildings. The third would be the original proposal, but show it as viewed from the street, a perspective neighbors want to see.

Ballas could not be reached for comment.

Pope said that the developer is open to changing his original proposal, as he wants to expedite the process because he has a bank loan on the property.

The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) imposed a 90-day demolition delay on March 11, which recently expired. The developer is now free to obtain demolition permits.

Pope said that neighbors and the developer will meet again June 23.

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