Neighbor sues over Bartlett II project

A local property owner is suing developer Chris DeSisto and the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals over the proposed Bartlett II mixed-use development at 450-456 Amory St. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the variances granted for the project and money for attorney fees.

Kevin Walker, who owns the property at 157 Green Street, which abuts the proposed Bartlett II project, filed the lawsuit last month through attorney Paul Lane in the Suffolk Superior Court. The 157 Green St. building currently houses a division of Arbour Health System, which provides counseling services there.

The lawsuit states that the project would “increase traffic, reduce parking and will affect Green Street’s light, air as well as the density of the neighborhood.”

“The ZBA’s decision to approve these variances and grant other relief is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and not consistent with the law and/or the City of Boston’s zoning acts and this action will cause damage to Green Street Realty Trust if it is not annulled,” the lawsuit states. (Green Street Realty Trust, which Walker is trustee of, officially owns 157 Green St.)

Lane did not respond to a request for comment.

Lisa Timberlake, spokesperson for the City’s Inspectional Services Department, which oversees the ZBA, said in an email, “We have no comment at this time.” DeSisto said he “can’t fathom” Walker’s objections to the project.

The Bartlett II development would be about 24,000 square feet, including 5,700 square feet of retail that will be divided into two spaces. DeSisto plans to have a restaurant in one of the spaces.

Construction was expected to begin this spring.

The four-story building would include 15 rental apartments, two of them priced a City-determined affordable rate. A parking garage for nine to 10 cars is part of the plan, as well as six on-street spaces created by moving the sidewalk.

The proposal is similar to the Bartlett I building with its popular cafe across the street at 154 Green St., created by DeSisto’s Mission Hill-based Maple Hurst Builders.

DeSisto and Maple Hurst have built many Jamaica Plain homes over the years, including the condo building at 131 Green St. on the other side of the Green Street T Station.

The ZBA granted five variances for the project: residential use, excessive floor area ratio, insufficient rear yard, insufficient off-street parking, and excessive height.

DeSisto said that a motion to dismiss the lawsuit has been filed, and if that is successful, the project “will go forward.” He said that his project would bring much-needed housing to the neighborhood and make the area safer and more pleasant. DeSisto said that the proposal is a “transit-oriented” project. The proposed project is across the street from the Green Street T Station.

“Kevin Walker has not been harmed and won’t be harmed by the building. I don’t think he will prevail in the lawsuit,” said DeSisto.

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