Video: 9 Cooper St. new residential building development zoning relief presented and voted on at NEWRA meeting on March 14, 2013.
A proposed residential building development at 9 Cooper St. was supported in a vote of 22-14 by NEWRA, the North End / Waterfront Residential Association. The height of the planned apartment building was revised downward to 55 feet from a former proposal at 66 feet, based on neighbor feedback from a previous committee meeting. Property owner Elaine DiGangi was represented by attorney Steve Miller and architect John Lloyd at the NEWRA meeting.
The owner will occupy the top two floors of the building with a private roof deck. Plans call for an additional four rental units at the property. The proposed development would tear down the existing 1-story building and replace it with a new 6-story apartment building, including a basement. A common trash room, elevator and sprinkler system will be installed in the building.
The Cooper Street property is located a few doors down from Salem Street in Boston’s North End. The property was previously occupied by a funeral home. Ms. DiGangi also operates the Heart & Sole store on Hanover Street.
Specifically, zoning relief is being requested to exceed the allowable 3 floor-to-area ratio as the new 25′ x 27′ building would come in at a FAR of about 6. In addition to the FAR and height code violations, zoning relief is needed for insufficient usable open space, rear yard and off street parking. An outside fire escape plan was also discussed as this will require Fire Department exemption from current building codes for new developments.
An abutter, Carl Cincotti, has discussed other modifications to allow more sunlight, but generally supported the project. Another neighboring property owner, Chris Young, also supported the new development.
Helping the case win support was complying with the general zoning height limit of 55 feet. This limit was largely codified when the entire neighborhood was rezoned in the early 1990s. A head house and mechanicals will also be located on the roof bringing the total height above the 55 feet. (These are generally not included in the 55′ zoning limit.)
The Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) will likely vote on the request in April 2013. Both groups are advisory and the final zoning relief decision will be made by the Zoning Board of Appeal.