ZBA Approves 65 More Units of Affordable Housing on Columbus Ave.

      The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) gave the green light to the 65-unit affordable housing proposal for 1599 Columbus Ave. on Jan. 14.

      The proposal was before the ZBA for violations of excessive height, excessive Floor Area Ratio, insufficient usable open space, and the fact that a multi-family dwelling unit is forbidden in this area.

      Caitlin Madden, Senior Project Manager for Urban Edge, said that the building would be 65  fully affordable units and include “approximately 4,000 square feet of non-residential commercial space on the ground floor with frontage on Columbus Ave.” The building will be a total of six stories, one for the commercial space and five residential stories above. The retail entrance will be on Columbus Ave., and the residential entrance will be on Amory Street. Also on Amory St. will be the management office, a large community room, and mail and other residential support space, she said.

      On the lot currently is one vacant building, one two-story commercial building with a tenant, some surface parking, and some vacant land, Madden said. She said a contractor has not yet been selected for the project, as they are waiting for zoning approvals to apply for state financing for the project, after which they will hire a contractor. “The earliest we would be able to get into construction would be at least a year from now,” Madden said.

      Madden also said that it has been a “high priority” for the development team to meet with area stakeholders, including direct abutters. The team also held several community meetings and went through the Large Project Article 80 process with the BPDA. 

      “The applicant worked closely with the community to address concerns,” said Lindsey Santana from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. “They received support from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council.” Also in support of the project were City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Annissa Essaibi-George.

      No one came to the hearing in opposition of the project.             The ZBA voted to approve the project with continued BPDA design review, and also suggested to the applicants that the actual construction process “reflects community standards” and that they “meet with stakeholders in that aspect of the process as well.”

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