Real Estate Today: 106 Forest Hills Street set for October 16 ZBA hearing

By Lauren Bennett

Special to the Gazette

The proposed development at 106 Forest Hills St has been a point of contention in the neighborhood. As previously reported by the Gazette, owner/developer Alan Sharaf is proposing to raze the existing building and erect a three-story building with nine residential units and ten parking spaces. The building would be 38 feet tall and have three stories and an elevator.

There would be seven two bedroom units and two three bedroom units. Sharaf has said that all units would be market rate.

On August 13, Boston Landmarks Commission Staff determined that the building at 106 Forest Hills Street is significant. Lauren Zingarelli, Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Mayor’s Office of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, said that the public hearing for the Article 85 demolition delay review has not yet been scheduled. Attempts to reach owner/developer Alan Sharaf were unsuccessful.

On August 14, this project was on the agenda for the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) hearing, seeking variances for excessive floor area ratio, excessive height, and excessive stories. At the hearing, attorney Jeff Drago of Drago + Toscano requested a deferral.

“On advice of the mayor’s office, we are seeking a deferral today to continue to work and move forward with the Landmarks Commission as part of this proposal is to raze the building at 106 Forest Hills,” Drago said.

Zoning Board of Appeal Christine Araujo said that “I know there are a number of people from the community here to speak. When the applicant does ask for a deferral we are inclined to give it to them.”

Several abutters and nearby residents sent a letter to the ZBA expressing their concerns about the project. In the letter, they say that they are “opposed to each and every one of the requested zoning variances,” as well as any project that requires complete demolition of the building. With regards to the excessive height and floor area ratio, the letter states: “If granted, the new building’s footprint, together with the parking spaces, would span almost the entire lot—bringing the built environment closer to the edge of the Glen Road abutters’ property lines. This massive structure would then cast a huge shadow over the Glen Road backyards, making it nearly impossible to continue growing grass, and impinging on the residents’ privacy.”

The letter continues, “…we state for the record our interest in working with the developer and his team to come up with a building design that addresses all of the potentially damaging outcomes detailed in this letter.”

The ZBA granted the deferral, and the project is to be heard at the ZBA hearing on October 16 at 11:30, where the public is invited to make comments.

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