In a vote of 36-7, the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA.org) voted to support the zoning change application for Ed Gates at 93 Charter Street.
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 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.
In previous meetings, the Fosters family raised concerns about losing views from their abutting property. They have met with the applicant a few times and reached an agreement on sloping the roof to preserve their sight lines of the Old North Church and Customs House Tower. The original plan was to expand the headhouse to 360 square feet, but after the discussions, the new plan is for 160 square feet of living space and moved over to the right side of the building to maximize the views of the abutter. The height will also be slightly reduced from 50 feet to 47 feet under the new plan. As such, the Fosters’ support the application.
A new concern was raised by a resident, Marci at 46 Hull Street, who complained the proposal would reduce her views. The Gates’ attorney indicated her property view was more than 3 football field lengths away from the subject property. He questioned whether her view would be meaningfully impaired and said it might be enhanced by the 3 chimneys being removed.
Gates is a former North End resident returning to the neighborhood. His plan needs zoning relief to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) and to expand a rooftop headhouse to create a penthouse area. Plans also include a deck and garden on the roof. Occupancy will change from 4 to 3 apartments, including a 3-bedroom duplex on the 2nd and 3rd floors and expansion of two first floor units into the basement. The owners will use the roof mostly as a garden.
An abutter from N. Margin Street indicated his support for the renovation of a building that has been empty for years. He understands why they want to increase their space and beautify the property with a garden and look at the terrific views from a roof deck. He believes the renovation will increase property values in the neighborhood.
A vote by secret ballot was taken with an announced result of 36-7 in support of the application. The vote follows the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNCBoston.org) vote which also supported the variance at its January meeting.