The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee unanimously approved a 9-unit, 3-story condominium building at 65 Green St. at its May 4 meeting.
Designed by Embarc Studio, an architecture and design firm, the building is unique in three ways; The owner of the property Ricardo Austrich, Sr. not only has been involved in the planning, but will live in a ground floor unit; It will have the first below-grade car lift parking garage in Jamaica Plain that will include all nine parking spaces on site; And the developer Watermark Development absorbed the costs of changing the design from a contemporary to a traditional design and reduced the height to three stories at the request of abutting resident property owners.
In order to reduce the height from 55 feet to 38-feet 6-inches and at the same time address neighbors concerns about parking, the developers designed a car lift in the ground floor garage. The total development cost is estimated to be $4.3 million; the underground parking and car lift line item is estimated at $32o,000 to build.
More than 30 abutting condominium owners attended the two-hour hearing and speakers voiced only minor quibbles. Julieanne Doherty of the Mayors Office of Neighborhood Services said the community process was “incredible” and she praised the developers and the new design.
“We listened to the neighbors,” said Lee Goodman of Watermark Development, as he introduced the development. “We have been cooperative and we have unprecedented support.”
Watermark also developed 14-18 Warren Square nearby that has been well received as some speakers noted at the hearing.
There was only one opponent, an abutter who shares a wall with the existing building, but does not live there. That abutter objected to the size, scale and proximity of the wall.
JP Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee Chair Dave Baron said he had received a petition signed by many people that objected to modern designs for new buildings being built in Jamaica Plain. The petitioners wanted buildings to look more like the neighborhood around it and maintain the historic character of the neighborhood.
The current building on the site is a one-story brick auto repair shop and garage built in 1932. In 1983 Maracas Distributors opened a warehouse for candy and bakery goods on the site.
Voting in favor of the development, Zoning Committee member Marie Turley said, “We are losing a piece of Jamaica Plain history, but making history by building a traditional design.”
Zoning Committee member Stephen Lussier said, “This is the model for all community processes. I have heard nothing but positive feedback. This team listened to the neighbors.”
The Zoning Committee was very attentive to the one opponent in its vote. The motion to approve the project contained a three-point amendment. First — the right side bay should be pulled back 6 inches. Two — the landscape buffer between 65 Green St. and Alfred Street should be a tiered retaining wall with high quality plantings on top and the side; Third — that a covered trash shed be built on that right side.
Watermark will go before the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal on June 7.