In face of neighborhood opposition, developer to come up with plans for smaller building at old West Roxbury gas-station site

400 Belgrade Ave. in West Roxbury

Former gas station, now used for Zipcar storage.

After nearby residents told him how much they hated the idea of a five-story apartment building with a two-level garage on the triangle where Belgrade Avenue, Beech Street and the West Roxbury Parkway meet, new site owner John Douros agreed to have his architect draft new plans for a smaller building.

The Bellevue Hill Improvement Association was scheduled to meet with Douros and his architect tonight, but association President Ginny Gass opened the meeting by saying she got e-mail at 11:12 last night that Douros wouldn't be there because his architect wasn't done with the new plans.

Gass said the strong negative reaction to the initial plans came at an informal meeting with Stratford Street residents about three weeks ago.

Douros owns a gas station in South Brookline.

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Now opinion from someone you didn't ask to hear from ..

The past three weekends I've been in West Roxbury at Roche Bros and in Roslindale at Stop & Shop, collecting signatures from Boston voters so I can qualify for the ballot for Suffolk County Register of Deeds. (Turnout has been phenomenal, thank you. I've collected all 1,000 signatures I need, I think. More on that, later.)

I drive Zipcars to W Roxbury from the Seaport, $6.11, one-way, a fast and easy ride at 7:30 on a weekend morning. So, I've been parking in that lot.

A five story building on top of a two-story (above ground?) garage seems tall for that triangular parcel of land, based on what I see is surrounding it - single-family homes, a couple of low-rise apartment complexes, a funeral parlor or two.

If the two levels of parking are underground, or beside the 5-story building, then that doesn't seem so bad. It's a tiny lot, so how many units could fit on there, total? It can't have much affect on what goes on in the neighborhood, currently, and wouldn't people prefer the space is turned into something useful and functional?

Seems to me a big issue would be how well is the site cleared of fuel tanks, etc.

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people get worried there house is next

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In the less dense parts of the city residents think if they approve one apartment or condo bldg larger than three units then developers will overwhelm the area and houses will start being torn down to be replaced with bigger multi-unit buildings and the low density areas of the city will suddenly become much busier and less quiet.

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That's a valid fear

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Maybe it wouldn't happen that way, but it's reasonable that some people would think that if large apartment buildings come in and are successful, that it could start a wave of similar development.

Personally, I think five stories are a bit much for that neighborhood. I prefer three stories, retail on first floor, offices on second, and apartments on third.

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Burger Stand

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My dream for that site has always been a Tasty Burger type place. It is best accessed by car, it just has the look of drive in eating. Normally I favor more and bigger, but not for this location.

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Ice Cream!

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As long as we're going in that direction, I'd love to see an ice cream stand there.

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?

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Does anyone know what can be built on this parcel as of right?

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A Level 3 virus lab

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But that was too easy getting approved compared to much-needed housing.

/snark

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According to this BRA zoning

According to this BRA zoning map, that particular parcel is part of a Greenbelt Protection Overlay District (because of the WR Pkwy, which is owned/managed by DCR) -- but so is the auto dealership across the street.

The general area is a Neighborhood Shopping District; across Beech Street is listed as single family, but there's one of those 70's brick box apartments ("The Parkway) right along that side of Beech.

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This site is a little

This site is a little challenging as essentially an island with a small footprint. A nice two or three-story condo or apartment building there would do nicely and get support from some folks who don't like the existing abandoned gas station. The five-story proposal with underground parking was overly ambitious for the site and not realistic. Dump the underground parking which is very expensive and you can make the same profit with a smaller building that fits better on the site. If the developer is smart, he'll also put together a plan and kick in some money to clean up the tricky traffic and pedestrian situation at that corner which will benefit potential buyers of his units and also be a benefit to the existing neighbors.

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