Joe Perroncello, owner of the North End Union building at 20 Parmenter St., wants to add one-story to his building which will include three new duplexes on the top floors. The addition of a fourth floor will bring the building to 46 feet, not including rooftop equipment. However, the total height including the roof houses will not exceed the 55-ft zoned height limit.

Joe Perroncello (left), owner of the North End Union building, and his attorney.
Joe Perroncello (left), owner of the North End Union building, and his attorney.

This zoning variance request goes back as far as 2001 when both neighborhood groups (NEWRA & NEWNC) supported a 1-story addition, but rejected a 2-story addition proposal.At the time, there were other zoning problems with the building which resulted in a denial by the Board of Appeal. Now, the building is undergoing a complete renovation with foundation improvements, a new basement parking garage and an addition extending to Hanover St. Still, any building that wants to change the rooftop height needs zoning relief which brings the owner back to the neighborhood groups.

A sketch diagram was presented at the May 26th NEWRA ZLC committee meeting showing the Federal-style architecture will be preserved. The 20 parking spaces in the basement garage will be for tenants only. All the units will be rentals, managed by the current owner.

Corporate rentals could be a primary use for the larger duplex units proposed. In response to a question, Mr. Perroncello said he would agree not to have a restaurant or patio in the building. It was noted that the structure is listed as a historical site by the Landmark Commission and is eligible for nomination to the National Register.

A shadow study was completed indicating minimal impact, although any height increase diminishes the sense of light around the structure. Mr. Perroncello said he has all the financing in place and has submitted proper neighbor notifications. A hearing is expected at the Board of Appeal on July 21.

My thoughts: Adding one-story is in keeping with the existing 55-ft zoning limit so it’s likely this will be approved. However, I would rather see apartments for permanent neighborhood residents rather than short-term corporate rentals.

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