JPNC Zoning Committee approves project at old James’s Gate site

December 23, 2016
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The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s (JPNC) Zoning Committee voted during a Dec. 6 meeting in favor of recommending a mixed-use project at 5 McBride St. with some provisions.

The 8-2 vote on the development gives the green light from the Zoning Committee to build an 11-unit, mixed-use development at the former site of James’s Gate restaurant, but the overall JPNC will vote on it at a later date.

James’s Gate was a popular Irish pub that was sold in March of this year to developer Stephen Ballas, who also acquired the parking lot across the street at 14-16 McBride St, for a total of $1.95 million. Many residents and abutters to the site have expressed concern at several public meetings about affordability and the size and scale of the new developments in relation to the rest of the neighborhood.

Ballas has plans of developing both sites, and has formally committed to linking the projects for the purposes of calculating the minimum amount of affordable units necessary under the City’s affordable-housing policy.

The 14-16 McBride site will have two, two-unit townhouses. Ballas originally planned a six-unit building for the parking lot site, but that plan drew criticism during a June Zoning Committee meeting. He presented a revised proposal at a subsequent Zoning Committee meeting that split the building into two, three-story townhouses.

On Dec. 6, the Zoning Committee voted to recommend 5 McBride for approval with the Boston Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) with certain provisions: two of the 11 units are to be affordable at 80 percent area median Income, no demolition should take place before 9 a.m., and the developer should submit the final plans to BPDA for design review. Ballas must also make written assurances to abutters on concerns raised in an abutter’s comments letter related to storm-water recapture, control of dust and debris during demolition and construction, snow removal, and time of day for demolition and construction.

At press time, Ballas had not submitted final plans to BPDA, and the development team had not responded to a request for comment.

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