Regarding the BLC Demo delay
On March 12 the Gazette covered the Landmarks Commission’s Hearing on a developer proposed demolition of a 130 year old house (BLC imposes 90-day demo delay on home at 44 Robeson St.). As close neighbors and abutters we appreciated the coverage, but the story failed to capture the extent of the frustration and opposition to the developer’s demolition of the old house and to the design of the proposed development to replace it.
This development and the way it is being imposed on the neighborhood is every JP resident’s nightmare.
Despite all efforts to suggest specific changes and alternatives to the design, the developer has remained adamant.
As one of the Commissioners in the hearing noted, designing a development in order to avoid a variance will not produce a “quality project”.
The long-time resident and owner of the house passed away and neighbors heard nothing about the proposed new development until the required community meeting was advertised. Since that first meeting and during the Landmark Commissions’ hearing every abutter household and every neighbor agrees that the development is profoundly out of character with this Victorian era neighborhood housing. The developer has referred to the design as ‘modern’; neighbors all agree it is boxy and unattractive. Additionally, every house on Robeson and most nearby streets has deep backyards and many trees. This proposed development will get rid of almost all of the green space and take down almost all trees on the lot. In fact, the new six-unit condo buildings will take up the entire lot, up to boundaries on all sides.
The Landmarks Commission agreed with these concerns and judged the original house to be “historically or architecturally significant because of period, style, method of building construction, or important association with a famous architect or builder” and “the Landmarks Commission staff finds that the building is one whose loss would have a significant negative impact on the historical or architectural integrity or urban design character of the neighborhood.”
If this development occurs as proposed, after the 90-day demolition delay imposed by the Landmarks Commission, longstanding residents of this historic neighborhood will have to live with the results. We feel it is important to register our concern with this developer publicly, and even to the Landmarks Commission.
David Bor & Robin Barnes