First-hand report from the December 28, 2009 meeting of the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) Zoning, Licensing & Construction committee which took place at the Pilot House, 2 Atlantic Avenue.

Ed Gates purchased 93 Charter St in June 2009 and plans to live in the upper floors after renovating the unoccupied property. The property is currently zoned for four residential units, although the new owners only intend to have three units and will rent the other two units. Attorney Daniel Toscano is representing the applicant for zoning relief which used an LLC known as Charter Boston Properties LLC.

The Gates Family and Attorney Toscano at ZLC Meeting
The Gates Family and Attorney Toscano at ZLC Meeting

The applicant presented on December 28, 2009 to the NEWRA zoning committee, for informational purposes, presenting plans and giving abutters an opportunity to hear the proposal. Having received a denial letter from the City’s Inspectional Services, NEWRA and NEWNC will likely both vote on the application at their January meetings.

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Zoning relief is needed to connect the basement to the first floor units to create two duplex apartments, each with 750 and 800 square feet of living space. The second and third floors will be occupied by the owners and a private roof garden is planned. The owners expect the roof to be primarily soil, with little decking and a custom drainage system. The roof currently has a headhouse that will be expanded. Post renovation, the height will be 51 feet including the headhouse.

The applicant indicated that a 250 piece notification went out to abutters on December 14th. However, an abutter present at the meeting showed an envelope received the day before the meeting with the wrong address and zip code.

Ed Gates is a former resident of the North End, moved to suburbs and plans to make the North End his primary residence. As his attorney said half-jokingly, “He made a mistake moving out of the neighborhood.” The couple indicated a sensitivity not to rent to college students.

The Fosters, a couple from an abutting property on Charter St., indicated that six windows could be blocked by the expanded roof apparatus. They also complained that the notification was likely inadequate to their building which could lose important sight lines to the Old North Church, Copps Hill and the Custom House Tower. The expanded headhouse will be increased in size from 90 to 306 square feet.

The ZLC committee asked the applicant to arrange a meeting with the abutting building residents before the association votes on this issue at the January 14th monthly meeting. The applicant was advised to check with the Parks Department as well because the property is within 100 feet of a public park. A resident also disclosed the unoccupied building is rat-infested, especially along the Copps Hill side where there are steps and broken pavement.

NEWNC and NEWRA and will likely make their advisory votes to the Zoning Board of Appeal on January 11th and 14th, respectively. Interested parties should attend. See the Calendar for all upcoming events and meetings.

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