SNA hears two development proposals; committee updates

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) met virtually on May 10, where members and neighbors heard two development presentations as well as updates from subcommittees. 

The first development proposal was for a self storage facility at 75 Stedman St. Jay Walsh was on hand to represent the owners of the property, who are also proposing to extend Stedman St. and connect it to Stonley Road. 

The site has “been a construction yard for a long time,” Walsh said, and has caused issues with abutters, including dust and noise complaints. He said that the owners discussed a residential proposal, but they decided it wouldn’t be feasible in the area with the amount density that would be necessary to make it financially feasible. 

He said the proposal for the storage facility has been presented to abutters, who provided feedback and the latest proposal “had taken that into consideration.” 

The proposed building is three stories with a basement, and the structure meets the zoning requirement for height, which is “35 feet from average grade plan,” Walsh said. 

Additionally, the facility would have 838 units of differing sizes.

One of the main questions that came up is the choice to build another storage facility in the neighborhood, with ExtraSpace storage down the street. 

Walsh said that “we thought tis use would probably be something that addresses the issue” of the complaints about the current site as well as still be “somewhat financially viable.” He said that they have determined there is still a need for storage space even with other locations in the area.

Another question was raised about what zoning variances would be required for this project.

Walsh said that the team has yet to submit the plans for review by the Zoning Commission, but there is “anticipated compliant use with height and setbacks,” but zoning relief will be needed for Floor Area Ratio.

“This area has been transforming from industrial over to housing,” said SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane, adding that PLAN: JP/Rox is “discouraging storage units being build right in this area. They are encouraging housing or other types of mixed use projects.” She wondered how this project would comply with the plan. 

Walsh said that “most of the requirements have to do with density,” and also mentioned that PLAN: JP/Rox has not been “codified” in the zoning code, though Uhrhane said it is being used by many developments in the area. 

As for the timeline for the project, Walsh said that there is still “at least a few months of approval process,” and then the building has to be designed and engineered. He said the earliest construction would begin would be 2022. Additionally, there is initial testing being done on the site for environmental contaminants, and Walsh said that some cleanup will be necessary. 

In the chat, resident Bill Reyelt said that “if we can’t get them to do housing/mixed-use, how about we push them to devote the majority of the ground-floor to artist/makerspace, light-industrial (i.e., jobs)?  Also, could we push them to make the structure convertible to residential in terms of floor heights, etc.”

Resident Bradley Cohen responded, “I like those ideas, Bill, and Caliga’s ideas about public space, solar etc. It’s a transitional part of the neighborhood, moving from light industrial to housing. For the sake of future neighbors, housing means people means community. The cleanup and link to Stonley Rd are advantages.”  

Overall, SNA members seemed to think either the storage facility was not necessary or they didn’t have a strong opinion on it one way or another. Many said they would prefer to see something else to go there, especially more affordable housing. 

The second development project was at 93 Brookley Road to enclose the three porches on each level of the building. 

Royce Abel, one of the residents at 93 Brookley said that the reason the residents want to do this project is because “none of us really use them,” he said, referring to the decks. Additionally, they are “built right off of our master bedrooms,” so he said that “doesn’t encourage you to bring your neighbors out to your front decks.” Also, he said there is some street noise currently that the residents believe enclosing the decks will help. 

On the first floor unit, enclosing the deck will also add some security for the bedroom, and the additional rooms will provide more office and storage space to each of the units.

He said that construction would take about eight to 10 weeks, and would require zoning relief for insufficient front yard and excessive FAR. The required front yard setback is 15 feet, and the proposed is 10 feet, and the required FAR is 0.70 but the proposed is 0.74. 

He said that the residents want to make the enclosure look like it has always been a part of the building, and the project will also require expansion of electrical and the inclusion of baseboard heating on the street wall side, but the HVAC system will not be extended into the new space.

Jennifer Uhrhane said it was a “shame” that this project is even coming up, since the “SNA advocated for them to not put the bedrooms on the street” when the proposal for 93 Brookley originally came before the organization.

“I can’t see how people would argue…on this one,” she said, and suggested a way to “break up the front a little bit” with a different color band around the building.

“We could add that,” Abel said. “I agree actually, looking at it now.”

An abutters meeting was held on May 4, and the project does not yet have a date to go before the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. 


Formerly Doyle’s at 

3478-3484 Washington St.

The proposed project here includes residential housing, a “revived” version of the Doyle’s restaurant with a roof deck, and a grocery market. Paige Sparks of the project’s subcommittee reported that they are working on comments for the project, and a public meeting will be held on May 20 from 6-8pm.

Sparks also said that the project has been updated to combine the two phases that were proposed. The second phase, which was an apartment building on the corner of Williams and Meehan Streets, is now part of the rest of the project and will be considered together moving forward.

97-99 Williams St.

The subcommittee for this project, which consists of two triple decker condo buildings on the lots at 97 and 99 Williams St, reported that they have opposed this project “along the way,” and the ZBA has denied it without prejudice as well. The subcommittee met on May 2, where they discussed their desire to see two triple decker buildings with a driveway in between and four parking spaces in the back. 

14 Meehan St.

Subcommittee member Patty Yehle reported that the proposal at 14 Meehan St., which is to make the current office space on the first floor an official office space, and make the units on the second and third floors residential. One is already residential, and the other is currently an artist studio space as recognized by the city. The proposal also includes the addition of two more parking spaces.

“The ZBA supported their project,” Yehle said, and the subcommittee is “just trying to move forward from that; it’s a bit disappointing for the neighbors.”

She said that a lot of issues with the project remain and believes they could have been worked out. “We need to be united as a neighborhood,” she said. 

Formerly Flanagan & Seaton- 3529 Washington- now Vita, Extra Space Storage, Community Room & Garden 

Resident Mary Ward reported that not much has changed on the community garden front, but the waitlist to get a plot will close on May 23. She said that the garden team is still waiting the final inspection, the delivery of soil, and “permission to open and maintain and everything.”

For the mural, Uhrhane reported that the submission window has closed, and the selection jury will be making final decisions by early August. There were a total of 29 submissions by artists in JP and elsewhere in Boston. 

There was no update on the community room, as an official partner has yet to be worked out. 

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