The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) met virtually for the first time on June 8. The last time the SNA met in person was March, and Steering Committee member Trevyn Langsford said that since construction is beginning again, “we’ll need to come together as a community” to discuss projects in the neighborhood. “This is a trial run of what we might be seeing through the rest of the summer,” he added, referring to the Zoom meeting.
The meeting consisted of updates from subcommittees on various projects that have been presented to the SNA.
34-46 ROSSMORE ROAD
SNA member Sue Cibulsky talked about the proposal at 34-36 Rossmore Road, which is to knock down the existing building and replace it with a triple decker, and on the adjacent empty lot, build another triple decker.
The developer originally presented this proposal last summer, and Cibulsky said that the subcommittee has had “several” meetings with the developer since then and have negotiated on several issues.
One was reducing on-street parking from six spaces to four, as well as building concrete sidewalks, using a bold color palette, narrowing the driveway to ten feet to reduce the amount of paving, increasing green space, and agreeing to use semi-permeable materials for the driveway. The developer also agreed to dark sky compliant lighting
“We also negotiated with him on the front setback,” Cibulsky said, saying that the subcommittee and the developers “ settled on a nine foot front setback,” which still violates the zoning code, but not by much.
“All of the trees there are not in good shape and are in precarious placement,” Cibulsky said. She said that the developer qwill save as many trees as he can and will replace what cannot be saved.
Cibulsky said that “it seems like [the subcommittee is] ready to come back to the SNA for a vote,” so they will try to have the developer on the agenda for the next SNA meeting for a vote on the proposal so the process can keep moving forward.
35 BROOKLEY ROAD
SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane discussed the project at 35 Brookley Road, which is a four story residential building consisting of 45 residential units, five of which are artist live/work units. The project also includes 19 spaces of parking at grade.
The SNA has maintained the position that the building is too large and too dense for the area.
“We haven’t really heard anything different,” Uhrhane said. She said she has reached out to the developers “multiple times” to potentially reduce the size of the building while still maingtaining an acceptable number of affordable units.
“As of the last SNA meeting in March, we found out the developers were going to defer their ZBA meeting,” Uhrhane said. She said that because of this and the pandemic, there is now more time to negotiate but she said the developers have not engaged the SNA in a conversation to get the concerns addressed.
She said she has reached out to Matt O’Malley’s office, which has reached out to the developers to see if there is any way to continue negotiation, but they have received no response.
“We have a stalemate where they want to build what they want to build and we still think it is inappropriate for the size and the lot,” Uhrhane said.
97-99 WILLIAMS STREET
Scott Glidden provided the update on the proposal at 97-99 Williams St., which is now to build six condo units on the vacant lots at the address. The developer wants to combine the two open lots into one, and the original proposal consisted of eight units, which has now been reduced to six. There will be five three bedroom units and one two bedroom unit, as well as parking for five vehicles—three in an enclosed garage, and two in the driveway, Glidden said.
The originally proposed Floor Area Ratio (FAR) was 1.3, which is twice over the zoning requirement of .7. The new proposal has an FAR of 1.17.
“They still have some variance requirements,” Glidden said. He said that the seven foot side lot setback is not met on one side, but he said “there is also an opportunity to have a combined 17 foot side setback from both sides and from that standpoint they do meet that.”
He said that five members of the subcommittee met with the developers last Tuesday afternoon on the site to discuss some issues. “The subcommittee feels fairly strongly that the building is sort of out of context in this particular area,” he said.
Jennifer Uhrhane said that the developers for the BMS paper project presented at the January SNA meeting, and the proposal is to restore the warehouse building as well as adda. Grocery store and housing.
A subcommittee was formed but has only met once through Zoom in April, Uhrhane said. She said that the developers have sent over updated plans based on meetings they have had with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), which include making the project more pedestrian-friendly, as well as changing the configuration to increase the number of studios and one bedroom units, and decrease the number of units with more bedrooms. Uhrhane said that the subcommittee is “not very happy with this.”
The subcommittee has also sent a list of questions, concerns, comments, and initial feedback on the proposal to the developers, and are awaiting a response.
FLANAGAN AND SEATON GARDEN, COMMUNITY ROOM, AND MURAL
Fred Vetterlein said that the plan for the garden has been changed to increase the gardening space by 30 percent, and all of the gardens have been pulled away from the fences. The park is now slightly smaller because of this.
“It worked out very well,” Vetterlein said. Right now, the project is out to bid, and there was also discussion over who will carry liability for the park and the garden.
The park consists of 13 large caliper trees and nearly 40 large shrubs, as well as a pathway, all of which have to be maintained.
Bill Rayelt said that the community room subcommittee has reached out again in hopes of finding a nonprofit to take on the community room space inside the Extra Sapce storage facility at 142 McBride St. They also extended the deadline for the Request for Proposal.
“My sense is the extension of the deadline did not result in any…additional response after that,” Rayelt said. He said that the conditions of taking over the room “are not so attractive as to get a demand out of that.”
Vetterlein said that “it’s time to take a look at the community room again” and make it more palatable for someone to take it on.
Uhrhane said that there is no real update on the mural, as she is still waiting on a final mural budget to come back. Sjhe said that the developers would “likely be short of what would be needed to complete the project,” so they are trying to get the difference paid by Extra Space Storage, but she has not heard a response from them yet.
Jonathan McCurdy said that in March, the developer of the project on the Keegan’s lot was emailed to see if the proposal was still being pursued. The developer did say that he was still prusiing the project and would be in touch, but McCiurdy repiorted that nothing has been heard since then.
McCurdy also said that Russ Keegan said the developer had asked for the deposit and “right now there is no development going on that site.”
Jonathan McCurdy said that the diverter on Dungarven St. has been reinstalled within the past couple of weeks “without notice to the neighborhood,” even though he said that the transportation department had said they would notify the neighborhood before it was reinstalled.
“Traffic is calmer since speed humps and traffic signs were installed,” he said, but there are “a lot of people speeding through the neighborhood even with the speed humps,” as well as a lot of people blowing through stop signs.
He added that phone use behind the wheel had gone down after the hands free law went into effect, but he said he noticed use of phones has gone back up since the pandemic hit, calling it “concerning to see in the neighborhood.”