Petition asks mayor to stop house demo

FOREST HILLS—The Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association has started a petition asking Mayor Martin Walsh to stop the planned demolition of a historic house at 21 Yale Terrace.

Bicon Dental Implants, a 501 Arborway business, has a proposal to demolish the 19th century house at 21 Yale Terrace and replace it with a parking garage and townhouses. The property abuts Bicon’s business.

The project is currently in a 90-day demolition delay, which was invoked after going through an Article 85 review by the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC). Article 85 of the zoning code allows the BLC to impose a delay of 90 days in issuing a demolition permit for a building more than 50 years of age while it reviews possible historic preservation. The developer is free to obtain demolition permits after the 90 days expire, which will be April 14 for the project.

Bicon did not respond to a request for comment.

Jerry O’Connor, a member of the neighborhood association, said in an email to the Gazette that the group is looking at “all options” to prevent the demolition. The petition says the demolition would be “deeply damaging to our community” and would “leave a terrible scar.”

“With the Walsh administration relatively new to this tangled matter, we wanted to take the opportunity quickly to demonstrate what we think is the view of the overwhelmingly majority of the residents of Jamaica Plain,” he said. “With almost 700 signatures just in the week or so the petition has been up, we think that point’s been made loud and clear.”

The petition currently has about 950 signatures. For more information about the petition, visit chn.ge/1E6Gcyj.

The Gazette contacted the Mayor’s Office for comment on the petition and spokesperson Gabrielle Farrell responded, “According to Rosanne Foley, executive director of the Boston Landmarks Commission, this house went through an Article 85 hearing on January 13, 2015. The Boston Landmarks Commission chose to invoke the 90-day demolition delay, which is currently in place.”

When the Gazette pointed out that the developer would be free to obtain demolition permits after the 90 days and that the petition asks for demolition permits to “never” be issued, she did not respond with further comment.

Bicon has a history of controversial expansions and operations that have drawn neighborhood complaints, City citations and City Council hearings, dating back to a 2006 attempt to create a restaurant on the second floor of its office building.

Berta Berriz, the former owner of 21 Yale Terrace, says that she was “deceived” by a buyer who claimed to be a family-minded local grandmother into selling the historic house to the neighboring Bicon Dental Implants. Berriz did not want to sell the house to Bicon.

1 comment for “Petition asks mayor to stop house demo

  1. April 2, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Gazette readers, we are not getting any responses at all from the Mayor’s office despite many requests. Would you please consider making a call on our behalf? We are asking for only one thing, that Mayor Walsh instruct ISD to deny a demolition permit to Bicon for #21 Yale Terrace. The number to call is the Mayor’s hot line: 617 635 4500 Thanks!

    https://www.change.org/p/mayor-walsh-city-of-boston-stop-the-demolition-of-an-historic-house-for-commercial-development/u/10315111?recruiter=23932982&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

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