The Zoning Board of Appeal on January 28 denied an application for a four-story, 14 residential unit building at 12 Rock Hill Road, with ancillary parking spots at 29 Rock Hill Road, citing that the building was too dense for the area.
Attorney Derric Small said that his client was seeking relief to combine the lots at 29, 31, and 12 Rock Hill Road and erect a building for 14 residential units with 26 parking spaces. Currently, the site consists of three “dilapidated garages and one storage building which needs to be torn down,” Small said. There would be eight tandem spots on site, and six ancillary spots at 29 Rock Hill Rd.
Additional relief was requested for Floor Area Ratio (FAR), which has a requirement of .6 in the area, but the proposed FAR is 1.8. Additionally, relief would be needed for height, as the requirement is 35 feet or three stories but the proposed height is 36 feet and four stories.
Lindsey Santana from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said that “the applicant worked closely with the community and abutters to address concerns.” She added that the project has received support from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. Also in support were City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Annissa Essaibi-Geroge, as well as the Carpenter’s Union and a neighbor at 28 Paul Gore who also owns 21 Rock Hill Road. “I think the project speaks for itself; I’ve been looking at these derelict buildings for 40 years,” he said. “I’d love to see this go up and I think it would be a shame if it weren’t built.”
Not all neighbors shared the same sentiment. Sharon Kurinsky, an abutter at 31 Paul Gore Street, said that she was before the ZBA on behalf of abutters at several addresses on Paul Gore St. and “approximately a hundred residents of Paul Gore St. who signed a petition opposing this project.”
Kurinsky said that she feels this project is inappropriate next to Jamaica Plain Auto Body, which is also located on Rock Hill Road. She and others were also concerned about the parking, the fact that it does not fit within the context of the neighborhood, and how busy Paul Gore St. already is without the addition of 14 new units that will inevitably use Paul Gore St. as a way in and out. There was also concern about emergency vehicles being able to easily get onto Rock Hill Road.
“I believe that contrary to what seems to be policy, the wishes of residents who have lived here and been taxpayers to the City of Boston for years and decades should be considered more important than providing housing to outsiders who are trying to move to the city,” she said.
Small said that his client, Matthew Hayes, also owns the auto body shop and that the only cars that currently park on the street are ones for the auto body shops. “Rock Hill Road is a private way and there have been fire trucks down it before,” Hayes said. He said that the auto body shop is a fully sprinklered building and the new construction would be as well. He added that they have letters of support from the abutters on Cranston St. as well as direct abutters of the project.
Ultimately, the ZBA decided to deny this project based on density, and told the applicant that he is able to come in with a different proposal within a year.