Stonley Road Proposal Updated, Will Seek Several Zoning Variances

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The Boston Planning & Development Agency Board of Directors is expected to recommend this week that a proposed four-story residential building on Stonley Road -- which has been modified based on feedback from neighborhood associations and residents -- should receive a number of zoning variances.


The current proposal for the site is a 4-story, 28-unit rental residential building situated on 30,720 square feet with 23 below-grade parking spaces.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA, formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority) Board of Directors will request the authorization of a certification of approval in accordance with Article 80E, which is required for this project. The board is also expected to recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals approve several zoning relief variances because, as proposed, the current amount of off-street parking and the rear yard size are insufficient for a project of this size, the site is not zoned for multifamily usage, and the building height exceeds current zoning guidelines.

The meeting will be held at 3:30 pm at City Hall, 9th Floor, Room 900, and the proposal will be recommended for certification during the Article 80 Development/Inclusionary Development Program portion of the meeting, which will not be open for public testimony.

A date for the developers to present to Zoning Board of Appeals has not yet been set, said BPDA spokesperson Gina Physic.

The proposed building has been downsized since it was initially presented to the neighborhood. The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) opposed the development in its initial form: a five-and-a-half-story, 32-unit apartment building proposed in February 2016. The SNA ran a letter about the Stonley Road proposal in Jamaica Plain News in February. In the letter, the 76 Stonley Road Subcommittee of the SNA recommended two steps: a redesign of the project to address neighbor concerns; and the creation of a community plan that would assess the proposal and the surrounding parcels as part of the existing neighborhood with sidewalks, trees, street lights and connecting streets.

The SNA's letter added: "Further, since the developers control several other abutting parcels, future plans for all of these lots – comprising almost .75 acres – should be considered at the same time."

The developer, Sean Morrissey and Bryan Austin of 58 to 76 Stonley Road LLC, made some changes after meeting with neighborhood residents and the SNA. The development team is also expected to represent the project to the SNA in December, said Physic. According to a BPDA memo about the project, the developers reduced the project by approximately 10,000 square feet by removing the fifth floor and increasing side setbacks; added three sets of steps leading to the front balconies and entrances in the back to increase pedestrian activity and neighborhood integration; added sidewalks along Stonley Road and Stedman Street; included two additional three-bedroom units, and scrapped plans for first-floor parking and replaced it with below-grade spaces.

It is worth noting that the proposal has not been through the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) zoning process, according to David Baron, an at-large member of the JPNC and chairman of the JPNC Zoning Committee. Baron told Jamaica Plain News via email that the "developer reached out to the SNA in August and represented to me at that time that they would be coming to the JP Zoning Committee after their SNA process was concluded." Baron added that without a local community process, it is the JPNC's policy to strongly oppose the requested variances.

Carolyn Royce, a JPNC at-large committee member, told Jamaica Plain News that the project has not come before the JPNC's Housing Committee, and noted that developers often do so before the Article 80 process is completed.

Request for comment from the SNA was not immediately returned to Jamaica Plain News. Request for comment from Michael Forde of Helm Residential LLC, which is listed as the consultant for the project according to the BPDA memo, was also not returned to Jamaica Plain News.