Neighborhood association appeals ISD decision on Bicon’s occupancy permit

FOREST HILLS—The Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association has filed an appeal of the Inspectional Services Department’s (ISD) decision not to revoke the occupancy permit for Bicon Dental Implants.

The City’s Zoning Board of Appeals will hear the appeal on March 22.

Bicon, a 501 Arborway company, has stirred controversy in the area by demolishing a 19th century house at 21 Yale Terrace for a new development. The neighborhood association had tried to stop the company from doing that demolition and started a concerted effort to have the ISD yank Bicon’s occupancy permit. The neighbors say that Bicon operates a clinic and a lab without permits.

Bicon did not respond to a request for comment.

“We are not trying to put anyone out of business or make life difficult for a local business and employer,” said Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association member Jerry O’Connor in an email. “We just want to clarify the byzantine regulatory history behind this complex project, so that the City can place the appropriate conditions that will allow us to coexist between residential and commercial uses, and better enable us to assess the next in the seemingly never-ending development proposals.”

Asked for a comment, ISD Commissioner William Christopher released the following statement through a spokesperson: “The neighbors have filed an appeal challenging ISD’s determination that Bicon currently has a valid certificate of use and occupancy. Although we respectfully disagree with the abutters on this issue, we applaud the neighborhood association’s civic engagement in the process. On  March 22, 2016, this case will be heard at the Board of Appeals at which time the Board will render their decision based on the merits of the appeal.”

The Yale Terrace Neighborhood Association brought the matter to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Zoning Committee on March 2.

“The Zoning Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the appeal by the abutters, though that recommendation has not yet been before the JPNC,” said Zoning Committee chair Dave Baron. “Because the matter is scheduled to go before the ZBA on March 22, which is the same date as the next full council meeting, the executive committee will have to decide whether to take action on the Zoning Committee’s recommendation prior the next council meeting.”

He said if the ZBA deferred action on the appeal, he expects the full council to vote on the matter.

Bicon has a history of controversial expansions and operations that have drawn neighborhood complaints, City citations and City Council hearings.

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.

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