101 Brookley Road plans under scrutiny

August 29, 2014
By

STONYBROOK—A proposed housing development on 1-acre site at 101 Brookley Road is getting a second look from the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, after residents expressed concerns the developer has skirted full review.

Once the site of a nursing home, the large lot has been the subject of various unsuccessful condo plans over the past 20 years.

The latest proposal comes from Yan Schecter, manager of Buildex Real Estate Ventures LLC. He has presented plans to the community that showed the property already subdivided into 12 parcels with a three-family building on each one.

If the entire site were developed as one large project, Schecter would have to file his plan with the BRA under Article 80 “Small Project” zoning review. Previous plans for the site from other developers have undergone the BRA review. But residents are concerned the subdivision plan means the development will be filed as 12 individual projects through ISD, which could mean little or no public review.

BRA Small Project Review is required for “projects that involve the addition of an aggregate gross floor area of 20,000 or more square feet and/or any project that results in the creation of 15 or more dwelling units,” according to the BRA website.

Small Project Review would also require an overall review of the project and include community input.

BRA spokesperson Nick Martin told the Gazette he doesn’t know why the project wasn’t forwarded to the BRA, but said that ISD and the BRA are looking into it.

Previous Gazette emails asking ISD for clarification on why the project was not forwarded to the BRA for review were not answered.

According to Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) member Jennifer Uhrhane, following two community meetings with ISD Commissioner William Christopher, ISD asked Schecter to submit plans for the entire site, including plot plans, elevations, engineering, street improvements and a letter of intent. According to ISD spokesperson Lisa Timberlake, these have not yet been submitted.

ISD is also asking Schecter to host a community meeting with abutters and the SNA. According to Timberlake, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services is in the process of arranging a meeting sometime next month.

According to Uhrhane, Christopher told SNA members during an Aug. 11 community meeting that he is “not happy” about the subdivision density, the perceived avoidance of affordable housing requirements for a development of this size, as well as other issues.

ISD “want[s] him to build something that benefits the neighborhood, not just adheres to zoning code,” Uhrhane told the Gazette.

The SNA sent a letter to Mayor Martin Walsh, the BRA and ISD in June, asking for BRA oversight of the development of the large site. Specifically, the SNA is asking for BRA review.

“We don’t have an issue with three-families—in fact it’s the neighborhood’s preferred housing format—however, we are very concerned that one person is developing 1.7 acres with no city required oversight or review of the overall plan for the project,” that letter reads. Uhrhane provided a copy of that letter to the Gazette.

Following a community meeting with Christopher and Assistant Commissioner for Constituent Services Tomas Gonzalez in July, the SNA learned that the plot in fact had not yet been subdivided into 12 lots yet, but instead sits partially divided in three pieces.

ISD has rejected the developer’s previous plans for the site.

When the Gazette called Schecter, he said he was in a meeting, then he said he was in the car on a conference call, and said he would answer an email. He did not do so by Gazette press time.

 

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