By Lauren Bennett
The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) heard an informational proposal on April 8 for a development at 34 Rossmore Road.
Presenters Liam Lydon and architect Elaine Scales live in Jamaica Plain, where Lydon has also developed 12 units. The proposal was for the existing building at 34 Rossmore, as well as the vacant lot at 36 Rossmore. Lydon said that the existing building is “a little bit of a challenge,” as it sits right on top of the property line, so he is proposing to tear it down and put up a new three-family house. He said he would like it to be something that better fits within the area. He also wants to build another three family building on the vacant lot at 36 Rossmore. The proposed units would be 1,000 square foot two bedroom, one bath units for $600,000, Lydon said.
Lydon also proposed a common driveway between the two houses, that lead to three spaces for each building, in order to get rid of the street parking. He said the two buildings would be similar in scale, but “not cookie cutter.” He said that the only zoning variance he thinks he would need would be for the Floor Area Ratio, as there would be no issues with height or rear, front, or side yard setbacks.
SNA steering committee member Trevyn Langsford said that he was concerned with affordability of homes in the area, and wondered if one or two of these units could be made affordable.
“I don’t think it’s financially possible to make an affordable unit to be honest with you,” Lydon responded. He said he has “no problem” with the SNA advocating for that, and if the purchase price of the building was affordable, he would. Lydon said that he is going to purchase the property in about two weeks. The current owners live on the second and third floors, and rent out the first floor, though he said it is currently vacant.
There was a comment made about JP being “overbuilt,” and Elaine Scales said that with the new proposal, there would be less built area on the lot than what is there now.
Another comment was made about the possibility of replacing the stretch of asphalt sidewalk that spans the property with regular concrete sidewalk, which Lydon agreed to.
Though concerns still remain about the issue of affordability, the proposal was generally well received by those in attendance. People were happy with Lydon’s track record of doing “beautiful” work that preserves the appearance of older JP homes, as well as his relationship with people in the neighborhood. Green space was another topic of discussion amongst the community members, and they decided to form a subcommittee for this project to explore in more depth the different issues that were briefly discussed.
Councilor Matt O’Malley also briefly spoke about his latest environmental endeavors and answered a few questions from the community, and new neighborhood liaison Enrique Pepen introduced himself. The next SNA meeting will be on Monday, May 13 at 7:00pm at Doyle’s Cafe.