Residents’ Association Opposes Revised Proposal for 49-49R Charter St. Addition

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The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted 22-1 in opposition to a one-story addition at 49-49R Charter Street.

The proposal, presented at NEWRA’s October meeting, was a revised version of an earlier petition that was opposed by NEWRA in July. The original plans proposed a full one-story addition to the top of the building. The new plan proposes to add the addition only to the back building. Both plans also propose to renovate and legalize the basement level, where the former building owner has been granted a lifelong stay.

Attorney Daniel Toscano presented the new proposal to NEWRA. Watch the full presentation above and follow along with this timeline.

(00:36) The proposal would change the legal occupancy from a six-family residential dwelling to a seven-family residential dwelling, legalize the basement unit, and add a one-story addition to the back of the building.

(1:18) There was opposition from the two neighborhood groups (NEWRA and NEWNC) to the original proposal as well as from two abutters who argued their windows, and therefore light and air flow, would be effected. The owner went back to the drawing board to address some of these issues.

(4:10) The zoning violations include FAR (floor-area ratio) – the allowed FAR is 3.0, the original proposal would have changed the FAR to 3.7, the new version would have an FAR of 3.42; open space; parking; and roof structure restriction.

(6:03) Images of the previous proposal and revised proposal are presented. The full one-story addition has been reduced to only a back building addition. A small rear deck, about 40-50 square feet, has been added to the plans.

(7:37) The plans call for the building to be completely gutted and renovated. The current property has 12 bedrooms; the new design would have 10 total bedrooms. Unit 6 is the one that would be altered to be a duplex unit. This 12-foot addition would increase the total building height to 41 feet.

(9:37) Images of the elevation are presented, including a comparison of the original and revised proposals. The previous proposal called for a 15′ 7″ addition.

(10:22) A shadow study is presented for each season at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm. The new proposal has less of an impact on neighboring 57 Charter Street – the fourth and fifth floor front windows would no longer be effected; in the back, which is a duplex unit, the fourth floor windows would still be impacted. There’s a 5-6 foot alleyway separating the two buildings.

(13:46) A letter of opposition from the owners of the back unit at 57 Charter Street is read. The letter cites concerns about loss of sunlight, air flow, and privacy. The owners also state that, because 49-49R Charter Street owner Dr. Weller has promised a life estate to the previous owner, he is building the addition to recoup his losses.

Questions and comments from NEWRA members begin at 17:30.

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