Neighborhood Council Opposes Occupancy Changes to 276-282 Hanover Street

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The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council voted 7-1 in opposition of the occupancy changes and renovations at 276-282 Hanover Street, where a deadly fire occurred in November 2017.

The proposal is to join the two buildings, allowing two means of egress, and change the existing structure from 16 units to 20 units, which will result in eight 2-bedrooms and 12 studios. Floors two through five will be renovated, with no additional height. Trattoria il Panino will remain as is on the first floor.

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The units in the rear will become smaller. (2:40) The largest two-bedroom unit will be 545 square feet. The council expressed concerns about this small size, saying it will not appeal to families and would rather bring in short-term stays like AirBnB. Attorney Rashi Mangalick assured the council the units would only be for long-term rentals.

There was an abutters meeting where there were no issues raised, according to the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

The three violations for which building owner Barbara Angiulo of Federal Investments, Inc. is seeking zoning relief are FAR (floor area ratio), open space regulation and parking. (4:34) The specific change in the FAR was not provided.

From the council, Marie Simboli asked for more details about the fire escapes. (5:29) This is particularly relevant as a tragic fire at this location near a year ago claimed the lives of two individuals. Barbara said the fire department will not permit fire escapes on the front or rear of the building. By combining the buildings, a double egress is being added in the front and there will also be two escapes at the roof.

Barbara owns six other properties, five in the North End. (6:06)

Council member Brett Roman asked how many people were living in the building prior. (7:06) There were five singles and the rest were doubles. In total there were 24 residents; with the renovations it could go up to 26.

(8:10) The means of egress are changing in that the buildings were not previously combined. Now residents can cross between buildings.

When asked if there was any thought given to making the units larger and more livable, Angiulo said she looked at other studios in the North End and these were actually larger than some of the ones she saw. (9:32) She spoke with the zoning board and they said these were acceptable measurements. A studio has to be 430 square feet and anything above that can be justifiable as a two-bedroom unit.

The Neighborhood Council voted 7-1 to oppose the petition.


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10 COMMENTS

  1. It sounds like much of the work toward this plan – approved or not – has already been done.

    This building handled demo terribly- dust and debris all over people passing by, few worker protections despite hazardous materials from fire. I don’t trust any assertions made.
    Glad the council opposed these variances.

      • I have pics and video that can show plaster dust blowing out of dumpster as it was shaken out of bags and blown toward sidewalk. It got on me and family. Complained about it for 3 weeks running to 311 and called inspectors with zero reply.

  2. Agree Mary. This has so it on the DL and cut corners written all over it. The lone ISD inspector for the area should get in and inspect ASAP. A building was done in the same way near me, by an old time, connected North Ender. It’s now an AirBNB and I am terrified about the fire safety of the building. ISD never returned my calls or inspected it. Many craft workers, desperate for work, will work at night time, carrying debris out slowly.

    • Would be interesting to know who is this “old time, connected North Ender” since his or her ilk are usually the first ones to accuse others of selling out the neighborhood. Oh, and will the units discussed in this article be rented to Italians only at a generous discounted rent? Of course not!

      • I would share the name but I have to live here and I don’t feel comfortable. Especially bc concerns were ignored by multiple city and state agencies. I mention it in anonymous comments to bring attention to the fact that there is a double standard in this neighborhood in regards to development and bc I am very concerned about the fire safety of these secretly redone buildings.

  3. Why can’ there be fire escapres on the front of the building? “The fire dept said we can’t”…that should or should have been followed up with other questions.

    This was, in affect, a rooming house. What are the other buildings Angiulo owned like? Would those two women live in a 535 sq foot 2 BR apt? I doubt it.

  4. I’m shocked that NEWRA was the more progressive neighborhood organization on this item, but I’m glad that we overwhelmingly voted to support the application!

    It’s unethical to deny incremental increases in density in one of the most transit-accessible neighborhoods in the city, when we have a chronic housing shortage and transportation is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Unethical? Seems like putting two people in a 540 sq. ft. apt. would be unethical. Do you live in a place of that size? Quality housing is needed; not just housing for the sake of housing.

  5. Hi Jared,

    Thank you for the comment. I didn’t vote on the issue, but I wanted to respond to your comment as president of the NEWNC. The Council seemed to vote in the manner they did because the apartments were too small and not particularly conducive to families–or the type of longer-term tenants–the neighborhood seems to embrace. There also appeared to be inadequate information about the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) which was concerning. To say they’re unethical in evaluating certain factors when deciding their vote is quite insulting and disrespectful to these volunteers who take their roles on the Council quite seriously and love their neighborhood just as much as those on NEWRA.

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