SNA Hears Several Development Updates

After a month off, the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) returned to Doyle’s Cafe on July 8th for its monthly meeting. The meeting was heavily focused on development presentations at 35 Brookley St. and 34 & 36 Rossmore Road, with an additional presentation from the Franklin Park Coalition about its master planning and an update on the Shattuck Hospital Campus.

35 Brookley

The development team for the proposed project at 35 Brookley St. returned with an update to its proposal after presenting to the SNA in May. The project consists of 46 units of mixed income rental housing, including three artist live/work spaces. A member of the development team said that requested relief includes Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and the height increase. The area is zoned for a 35-foot building, but the proposed height is 49 feet, five inches, and the allowed FAR is one, but the proposed FAR is 2.38.

Since the last presentation in May, the development team has made changes to some of the materials on the facade of the building, and set the building back about five feet at the fourth story, he said. Additionally, there will be more open space provided around the sides and back of the building, an addition of window bays to respond to neighborhood buildings, a more welcoming entry with wood-toned siding, an activated entry with a fitness area, increased bike storage, and improved building circulation and function, according to a presentation shown at the meeting. The building will also feature a bike workstation for people to repair and service their bikes onsite, he said.

SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane wanted to know more information about the proposed open green space. Jeff Glew of the development team said that there is a general setback around the entire perimeter of the building that serves as usable green space.

According to the team. the project meets PLAN: JP/Rox affordable unit requirements, but Glew added that “at the end of the day, the city does the calculation.” He said that the development team has determined based on the plan that there will be 10 affordable units within the development, but “the city has the final calculation based on the plans we submit,” Glew said. The units will be a mix of 70, 50, and 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

There was a comment made about there being one less artist live/work space than previously proposed, and Glew said that due to reconfiguration including a larger trash area, more bike parking, and more mechanical space, they had to remove one of the artist live/work units.

“It’s too big, too tall, too many units,” said SNA Steering Committee member Wyley Proctor. Others, like SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane, do not think this new proposal is much different from the other one, though she said she appreciated the stepping back of the fourth floor.

Others said there is not enough housing in the city, so this project is appreciated.

There will be a subcommittee of the SNA that will meet to further discuss the project and provide comments and concerns to the developers.

34 & 36 Rossmore Road

Developer Liam Lydon and Architect Elaine Scales previously presented their proposal at an SNA meeting in April.

34 Rossmore is an existing two family building, and the proposal is to take it down and construct a building similar to the new one at 41 Rossmore Road. It will be a classic triple-decker building. A second triple-decker is proposed for the vacant lot at 36 Rossmore.

In this proposal, “we cut the parking back to create a hedge line in response to request for more open space,” Lydon said, adding that the existing building has a bigger footprint than they are proposing.

Scales said that she has tried to incorporate similar design elements from 41 Rossmore Road into the proposed buildings at 34 and 36. “I love the triple decker,” she said, calling it “very efficient” and “very livable.”

She also spoke a lot about the porches and how they can be connected to the living spaces inside, and she said she used the porches as a centering element for the buildings, which can be done whether the building has a gabled for a flat roof.

“It’s a real privilege to work on a corner lot,” Scales said, because there’s so much more of a 360 degree exposure to work with. She proposed large windows on the Stedman St. side.

Each building will have a full sprinkler system, and the units are about 1,050 square feet.

The project requires a variance for FAR, but all other components are within compliance of the zoning code, she said.

The SNA talked a lot about parking and the common driveway that is proposed for this project, and discussed several ways that this might be changed, such as different material for the parking or a different location for the driveway. Like 35 Brookley, there will also be a subcommittee formed to discuss this project further with the developers.

Franklin Park Coalition Update

Franklin Park Coalition Executive Director Janna Cohen-Rosenthal spoke at the meeting about the Franklin Park Master Plan and the Shattuck Campus. The Coalition is currently partnering with the city on a master plan to invest $28 million into Franklin Park, Cohen-Rosenthal said. “The master planning effort is going to create the face of Franklin Park for the next generation,” she said. A master plan was created in the 90s, but not really implemented, she said, and over time, areas of the park have “drastically changed.”

She said that the master planning effort includes rethinking the uses of the park, and creating more signage, better wayfinding, and a better way to connect spaces to “really make sure it’s a place for residents to enjoy,” and that it is done equitably, she said.

Cohen-Rosenthal said that the master planning firm was selected, but no work has been started yet. There is also no timeline for the public meeting process, but she said she will update the public once that has been finalized.

As far as the Shattuck Campus goes, the last public meeting was held last month, and all that is still known is that there is a “vague proposal for a health service-focused campus,” once the hospital leaves, she said. Right now, aside from the main hospital campus, there are several other services for homelessness and addiction that are offered, and the state would like to see programs like these stay once the hospital moves to the South End. In 2020, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be put out for a developer, and a plan will be finalized for the campus by this fall.

Cohen-Rosenthal said that the Franklin Park Coalition requests that there are not a lot of outpatient services once the hospital leaves, as they can sometimes draw in unwanted people like drug dealers that can impact both the park and the neighborhood. She said the current level of these types of services offered at the campus is good, and it should not go above that. She said that they also are pushing to move the vehicle entrance to Morton Street.

She also said that unlike the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Franklin Park Coalition is not taking the stance that the land where the hospital is should be completely returned to the park.

The SNA said they would like to make space in their next meeting to discuss this topic further, as there are still a lot of questions and comments.

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