On March 26, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals voted to approve new construction at 79 Jamaica Street in Jamaica Plain. The approval was given despite:
— ten violations of zoning codes in the design
— the objection of residents on both Jamaica Street and St. Rose Street (the project’s backyard) to the size of the building
–the large number of neighbors in attendance to present their objections at many and all related meetings including submitting maps, charts, photos as well as bringing additional letters in opposition from those who were unable to attend
–the City Counselors who opposed the building’s size
–the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s unanimous denial
We would welcome new construction on the site. We are opposed to this project that, in relation to plot size, is almost triple the average on Jamaica Street. The proposed structure is huge, the plot is relatively the smallest.
The average Floor to Ratio (FAR) on our street is .54
The allowable FAR for our neighborhood is .6
The FAR for a lot the same size is 1.0
The FAR for the approved building is 1.4
The original FAR requested was 1.54 but was reduced to 1.4 merely by leaving the attic unfinished in the plan. The overall size of the building was not changed.
The Zoning Board, after hearing from the developer’s lawyer and architect, gave only a few minutes for public comments. A representative of the Mayor’s office, who had not attended any other related meeting, supported the project. Before approving the project unanimously, the Zoning Board demanded the removal of two offstreet parking spaces.
Permitting multiple zoning violations to allow luxury housing out of scale and character for the neighborhood only exacerbates the gentrification displacing long term residents. We did what we could to preserve the quality of our neighborhood. What more could we have done? We are left with several other difficult questions:
–is Mayor Walsh truly committed to the vibrancy and diversity of our neighborhoods?
–did we waste our time even engaging in the hearing process with the Neighborhood Council
–is the Neighborhood Council so irrelevant to the Zoning Board that their unanimous decision to deny this proposal was so easily dismissed and replaced with an even worse proposal?
As of March 31, the following neighbors on Jamaica Street and St. Rose Street have signed this letter:
Susan K. Jacoby Henry Dubin Sarah Perreault
Janet Nicholas Hallie Smizik Dubin
Esther Leidolf Janet Crowley
Ann Neiderkorn Anne Crane Henry Cook
Stephanie Yesner Phyllis Robinson Patrick Barron
Maura Russell Robert Seifert Manuela Mariani
Tita Wernimont Eliza Parad
Maria Vitagliano Tom Rust
Janet Van Zandt Betsey Brooks
Luis Sturla Brian Karlsson-Barnes
Don Eunson Bill Thompson
Douglas Evans Natalie Pangaro
Laura George Hope Wallace Hill
Chuck George Misha Hill
Erin George Catherine Carothers
Koji Nakashima Peter Cassidy
Michele Sinunu Claudia Huettner
Nick Menzies Debra Acquavella