In a very close vote, the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted 23 to 21 against a zoning application that would turn a 5 unit building into 8 smaller units.The application is by Peter McGinnis for his planned renovation at 16 Hull Street. The vote contrasts with the supportive vote (5-2) by the neighborhood council (NEWNC) earlier in the week. The votes by both neighborhood groups are advisory to the Zoning Board of Appeal that will rule on the variance.
The plan is to make 8 units out of the space, with square footages of approximately 525 sf for the 1-bedroom units and 628 sf for the 2 bedrooms up to 1061 sf for the largest unit.The first and second floor units will be duplexes. In order to meet zoning requirements for parking, he has also rented 3 parking spots from local garages to account for the 3 extra units. Residents asked about pest control which the developer plans every 3 weeks. The building will also have sprinklers throughout the property.
Primary concerns voiced by the NEWRA membership were:
- adding micro apartments brings more trash, noise and traffic without additional space
- small units tend to attract college students and young professionals that rent “by the room” for limited periods of time
- transient renters don’t treat the neighborhood well
- the North End already has among the smallest-sized apartments in the City
- small units discourage families from staying in the City
Mr. McGinnis said that 95% of his other buildings (61/63 Charter St) are rented by young professionals. It was also noted that a zoning variance is supposed to relieve a hardship. One resident complained that change is being made solely to benefit the developer.
In response to street trash concerns, McGinnis is having a central trash room so that the garbage will be put out together rather than 8 times. The renovation will take 6 months and a dumpster will take up the space of 2 parking spaces during the 4 week demolition. No changes to the exterior are planned.
In conclusion, Mr. McGinnis stated that he is investing a substantial amount of money in the property and thought his upgrade of the property would help the neighborhood.