The North End/ Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) supported a petitioner seeking zoning relief for a new residential building at 25 Atlantic Avenue. The new construction, owned by Richard Walsh of Walsh Brothers Construction located at 25 Atlantic Ave (210 Commercial Street), would be a five-story, six residential unit building with a common roof deck (55 feet high, plus mechanicals/headhouse). Walsh intends to occupy one of the units with his family.
Currently a vacant lot, the parcel was previously a gas station and one-story laundromat. The new building would include four flat-style units and two duplex-style units. Each unit would feature three bedrooms, and six residential parking spots would be available on the ground floor. Access to the parking garage would be accessible through three separate garage doors. The proposed building would not have a basement.
Site architect Matt Francke stated that the materials being considered are granite for the first floor and Indiana limestone for the remaining floors. The building would be setback 25′ from the nearest building, Prince Building, located at 63 Atlantic Avenue. The common roof deck would measure approximately 600 square feet.
The development has been cited for two zoning items: ground water conservation and Article 54, Section 18, given it is higher than the previous structure the site. Dennis Quilty, representing the property owner, stated that a letter from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) authorizing zoning relief for the ground water conservation has been received, which the petitioners plan to present at their zoning board of appeal hearing. Developers have filed for a hearing date but have yet received one.
Multiple abutters from 220 Commercial St. and 63 Atlantic Ave. raised concerns about the building’s massing on the site, including the shared easement where cars enter the Prince Building parking garage. Other concerns from neighbors related to the building’s impact on light and air quality as well as privacy issues and obstruction of views.
Flooding concerns were discussed since it would be so near the water. The petitioner confirmed the development site is located in the FEMA flood zone, stating that the first floor would remain unoccupied to address potential flooding concerns. Minor mechanicals located on the first floor would be placed on elevated pads above the FEMA elevation as most mechanicals reside on the upper floors. The garage doors would be programmed to automatically open to offer relief from flood waters, and a stormwater retention system would be located beneath the proposed garage to hold back the first inch of water.
Following a zoning board of appeals review, the petitioners would also be required to seek a Chapter 91 license. According to the petitioner, open space requirements are in accordance with city zoning.
Developers said the ten windows nearest to the Prince Building would be narrow to address privacy concerns. It was also pointed out that, in response to abutter feedback a few years ago, the developers had increased the space between the proposed building and the Prince Building to 25 feet, an increase of 7 feet.
In a vote, the building proposal was supported unanimously by NEWNC which along with NEWRA (North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association) is advisory to city officials. The final determination on the city level will be made by the Zoning Board of Appeal at a future hearing.