The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted to oppose a proposal for a five-story addition at 97 Salem Street at their July meeting. The final vote was 7 in support and 26 opposed.
The proposal was presented by Attorney Daniel Toscano. Watch the presentation in the video above and follow along with this summary.
The building is currently a single-story commercial space occupied by Curator. Prior to that, it was Boston Common Coffee Co. It is between North End Fish & Sushi and Antico Forno. The proposal is to add four residential units on top of the commercial space. The top unit would be a duplex, so the total addition would be five stories.
The zoning code violations include a parking violation (no parking would be added), roof structure violation for building on the current roof, floor-area-ratio which would be 3.5 (the requirement is 3), and open space.
The original plans have been changed to meet some of the neighborhood concerns. These changes include the elimination of a roof deck, elimination of all rear decks except for unit 4, elimination of a basement, and creation of an interior trash, mechanical and storage space in the back of the retail space.
The retail space on the first floor would be 615 sq. ft. As the building goes up, the size of the units decrease, in an attempt to keep from blocking back windows of the buildings on Parmenter Street. All units are 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The second floor unit would be 974 sq. ft., third floor 880 sq. ft., and fourth floor 827 sq. ft. The fifth and sixth floor would be a duplex unit measuring 1,546 total sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. This unit would also have a 50 – 60 sq. ft. private deck.
There would be two means of egress and an elevator, which is a requirement for building up five stories.
Questions from the audience begin at 14:15.
Concerns were raised about the design not fitting in with the neighborhood and surrounding buildings. Attorney Toscano stressed that the plans would still go through a design review.
Abutters read a letter of opposition at 15:25. The top concerns were sunlight and air flow for Parmenter Street units, as well as fire safety. Also mentioned was a fear of setting a precedent for building up to that height all along Salem Street.
The building owner addressed concerns about fire at 20:44. He stressed that the current building is already taking up the entire lot, so nothing would change in terms of firefighters’ access behind the building.
The owner requested a shadow study be completed. The results for the summer solstice and the winter solstice are presented at 34:08.
The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) also opposed the development at their July meeting. Watch that video here.