JPNC Zoning Comm. Approves Four Applications

Special to the Gazette

The Zoning Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) gave its seal of approval to four matters at its meeting last Tuesday, November 16.

Charman David Baron, Renee Welch, Paige Sparks, Madden Shelley, David Selden, Kevin Maloney, Andrea Holey, Omer Hecht, and Lee Goodman were on hand for the meeting.

The first matter on the agenda pertained to a project at 47 Arborview Rd., in which the owners are planning a third floor renovation that will add two dormers in the front and a shed dormer in the rear.

Matt Moschner, the owner of the property, and his architect, Bruce Miller, presented the application to the committee.

“My wife and I have three children and we need more space,” Moschner said in explaining the reason for the expansion.

The project entails two violations of the zoning ordinances relating to excessive stories (the property now will be deemed a three-story structure instead of the present 2.5 stories) and the lack of a side-yard setback from the adjacent property on the right side.  However, the proposed renovations will change neither the height nor the ridgeline of the building, nor encroach on the pre-existing lack of conformity as to the side-yard setback.

The Jamaica Hills Assoc. did not oppose the project and there were no opponents at Wednesday’s meeting. The committee unanimously approved the project.

The next item on the agenda, 50-52 Wenham St., similarly involves an existing side-yard setback problem. The homeowners are seeking to renovate a porch on the side of the building that presently stands only on wooden footings.

They plan to remove the present porch and replace it with an enclosed porch with no change to the footprint. The architectural plans presented by the owners clearly illustrated that the property will be significantly improved from an aesthetics perspective. In addition, the alteration also will provide a better means of egress from the second floor apartment.

There were no objections from the owners of the three condos in the adjacent property and there was one supporter from the neighborhood, Mary Ellen Schuster of 60 Wenham St., who spoke in favor of the proposal.

“They’re not adding space, they’re just modifying and improving the existing space,” said Schuster

The committee unanimously approved the application.

The committee next took up the application for 120 Minden St. in which the owner is seeking to change the legal status of the property from a three-unit to a four-unit building.

The owner said that when he bought the property, he knew it was a three-unit building, but he now has created a one-bedroom apartment in the basement that he is seeking to make “legal.”

 “This can be an affordable one-bedroom unit,” said the owner, who also noted that the basement unit is dry and has three means of egress. He also said that he has the support from many residents in the neighborhood.

“It’s good to add another unit of housing,” said Baron.

The committee unanimously approved the application.

The fourth and final matter pertained to a request by the owner of 3381 Washington St. to add a detached walk-in cooler and dry storage unit at the rear of the building for his bakery business. The cooler-storage unit will take over an existing parking space.

The applicant told the committee that the bakery is confined to a small space and that the exterior cooler-storage unit will enable him to store both food and dry goods products (for items such as plates and utensils).

He said the city’s Health Dept. has given its approval for the unit.

Baron asked about possible noise from the chiller, but the owner said it would be “very limited.” In addition, he said there already is a hood fan from the bakery that is noisier than the chiller will be.

“I am ecstatic that the business is thriving and successful and this is a testament to what can be done,” said committee member Hecht. “We should do everything in our power to support its expansion.”

There were no opponents to the application. The committee approved the application with one abstention.

The Zoning Committee’s recommendations are advisory only. All four of the applications now will go before the full JPNC for its approval. Its recommendation (which also is only advisory) in turn will go to the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals, which has the actual power to approve or disapprove zoning matters.

Chairperson Baron gave his fellow members a preview of coming attractions (as the saying goes) for its next meeting on December 7. Among the items on the agenda are a proposal for a new, 14-unit building at 27 Dixwell St., which will consist of a four-story building with 12 parking spaces, and  225 Lamartine St., to convert an existing two-unit property into three-units.

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