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Inspectional Services Commissioner Speaks About Illegal Peace Garden Deck, Moon St. Building Height and Zoning Issues [Video]

Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner William “Buddy” Christopher, Jr. spoke at the July 2017 meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA).

The ISD commissioner started by addressing the controversial fire escape overlooking the St. Leonard’s Peace Garden. The commissioner confirmed it is not a legal deck and should not be used as such. The matter has been referred for enforcement to the Boston Fire and Police departments.

The commissioner also addressed the building under construction at 16 Moon Street. According to ISD, the zoning code allows for nearly unlimited height additions to accommodate “non-living space” equipment, including elevator headhouses and HVAC structures.

In the 40 minute discussion, the ISD commissioner spoke at length regarding “grandfathering” of building issues prior to existing zoning. When buildings are renovated beyond 60% of the floor area, the code requires upgrading to current zoning standards.

ISD is adding five new building inspectors this year, the first increase in several years. The commissioner advised that building permits do not allow for work beyond 7am-6pm without a special permission by the city. Unfortunately, ISD has little control over how much time contractors take to perform work.

Residents are encouraged to contact ISD directly or through 311 to report potential zoning code and building permit violations. Inspectional services can be reached at 617-961-3434. More information is available at the ISD website.

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One Reply to “Inspectional Services Commissioner Speaks About Illegal Peace Garden Deck, Moon St. Building Height and Zoning Issues [Video]

  1. It wouldn’t take much for the City to amend the North End Zoning Code to require ZBA approval of any proposed rooftop structure exceeding a certain height limit, say 10 feet, on a new building (the Zoning Code already has restrictions for existing buildings). This requirement would also trigger community review, which in the case of 16 Moon Street could have led to a reduced elevator shaft height, say 10 feet instead of the nearly 20 feet now constructed. NEWRA and NEWNC should propose such an amendment. As the ISD Commissioner reported, there is no height limit for rooftop, non-habitable structures on new buildings where the property has been vacant since before the 1980’s. Could this current loop-hole be used at Sargent’s Wharf, the parking lot across from Sargent’s Wharf, the Fulton Street parking lot, the Cooper Street parking lot, or other vacant parcels?

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