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Residents raise concerns about parking and density with East First Street project

Posted by Patrick Rosso  April 5, 2012 01:34 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)


A rendering of the the East First Street project proposed Wednesday night.


Developer Michael Moore was before the South Boston community Wednesday night to fill residents in on his proposed project at 637 East First St.

The project, which will go before the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Board April 12, proposes constructing 23 condo units and 845 square-feet of commercial space in a 29,211 square-foot four-story building. The plan also calls for the addition of 24 parking spaces, located underneath the residential structure.

The majority of the units will be two-bedrooms with a few one-bedrooms housed in a brick veneer structure with a wooden trim.

While the nearly 30 residents who turned out Wednesday night were somewhat receptive of the project, concerns were raised about density and parking.

“We don’t have enough parking now for the residents and we’ve been here 40, 50 years,” said Kimberly Lynch.

Even though some neighbors expressed that the allotted parking was inadequate, the project is “as-of-right”, which means the developer has met the parking and density requirements laid out in the Article 68 zoning for the neighborhood.

“We worked to compromise with the new zoning,” said Lucky Devine, a South Boston resident. “We wanted setbacks, trees and you have to give and take. We want to try to make it look like a neighborhood.”

Others also raised questions about what exactly will be housed in the commercial unit.

"So this space isn't going to be the type of space where people are going to be stopping and parking a lot?" asked Joe Lee, a South Boston resident.

According to Moore a occupant for the commercial space has not been determined, but he said it will most likely be a professional office not a Dunkin' Donuts or other type of eatery.

But while many did have concerns about the new project, which could bring a large influx of new residents and their cars to the neighborhood, residents were most concerned with the BRA’s lack of notification about the project.

Many said the BRA needs to do a better job at alerting residents about potential new projects in the neighborhood, so they have an adequate amount of time to prepare their feedback. Wednesday’s meeting was held April 4 and the public comment period for the project prior to the meeting was supposed to end April 9.

Residents said that was not enough time for them to really take in the project and understand what is being proposed. Lance Campbell, a project manager with the BRA who led Wednesday’s meeting, said he will take residents’ concerns back to the BRA.

While residents still have very little time to comment on the project, Campbell said he could push the comment period back to April 11 giving residents less than a week to submit their comments.

Those who would like to submit comments about the 637 East First St. project can do so by emailing the BRA at lance.campbell.bra@cityofboston.gov, or by fax at (617) 742-7783.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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