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27 Sheafe Street Changes Supported by Residents’ Association (NEWRA)

A petition to change the legal occupancy of 27 Sheafe Street from five residential units to eight residential units and add a private roof deck for exclusive use by unit 7 was supported by the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) by a vote of 16–2.

Attorney Daniel Toscano, representing building owner Peter McGuinness, presented the proposal at the February NEWRA meeting. This project was originally presented in 2016 and 2018 and was supported by both NEWRA and the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC). However, at that time, the zoning board of appeal (ZBA) had issues with the head house and the floor plan.

There is a current FAR violation of 3.96; the increase of living space in the basement will increase this to 4.16. There is also an open space violation—the requirement is 100 sq. ft. per residential dwelling, the plans only have 37 sq. ft. There is also a parking violation, as is common in this neighborhood. There is a roof structure violation—just by adding the deck this changes the structure.

Currently, there is one ground-level unit that is 1 bedroom, and then each floor (1-4) has a 3-bedroom unit, about 900 sq. ft. each. The proposal seeks to gut the entire building and re-do the floor plans.

Proposed floor plan changes: Lower level would be duplex units—unit one (852 sq. ft.) would be 2-bedrooms 1 bath, and unit two (855 sq. ft.) would be 1 bedroom, 1 bath. Units 3-8 would be studio units, 450 sq. ft. each. Unit 7 would have an interior stairwell to get to the roof deck. The dimensions of the head house are not changing (which was the initial issue with the ZBA).

The roof deck would be 144 sq. ft. and set back 22 feet from the street and 30 feet from the street running behind the building (Hull St.).

Questions from the audience begin at 6:40.

One attendee asked about the height of the building. Attorney Toscano said the current height is 40-something, below the 55′ height maximum. This attendee emphasized this building has strange dimensions and believes this floor plan maximizes the residential use of the building.

(8:35) Another attendee asked about trash storage. Attorney Toscano said there is no trash room—residents will need to keep their trash in their units until one of the two trash days per week for the neighborhood.

NEWRA voted to support the project, 16 in support and 2 opposed.

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10 Replies to “27 Sheafe Street Changes Supported by Residents’ Association (NEWRA)

  1. When people complain about added traffic and trash on the streets, buildings going from 5 residential units to 8 residential units is one of the reasons why. Especially buildings with no trash rooms. We will now see more transient residents who don’t know or care about when and how to put their trash on the street.

    Thanks for thinking of the neighborhood NEWRA!

          1. Hopefully, this will reduce or stabilize rents. However, I wonder how many of these apartments are former AirBnB units that landlords are trying to convert to Executive Suites to get around the new rules

            1. I read where the City Council was looking at the Executive Suites rules to see whether this could be the next issue. The Executuve Suites are usually longer term stays than the AirBnB weekenders.

  2. Shouldn’t the various violations in the new plans be fixed before they approve? I’m not seeing the descriminating factor here? Are these violations acceptable and would they continue to be acceptable for the next case that comes along? In short, are the rules being evenly applied?

    1. They are acceptable. The entire NE neighborhood is already above the FAR levels currently set. Grandfathered basically. Any change in structure whatsoever automatically triggers that one for example.

        1. It’s just that the FAR gets triggered as soon as there’s any change to square footage. Nothing would be allowed to be touched in the NE if the city had to stick to the updated FAR ratios. The NE would be filled with old dilapidated buildings.

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