Six residents who would live next to a four-story, 24-unit apartment building at 363 E St. in South Boston yesterday sued to block its construction, saying there's nothing unusual enough about the parcel to justify the number of variances the Zoning Board of Appeal had to grant.
The Zoning Board of Appeal voted in November to approve plans by David Winick and David Matteo of Cedarwood Development to raze buildings once used by St. Vincent de Paul Church for their new building, which would have four units to be rented at 70% of the Boston area median income as well as 24 parking spaces in a mechanical "stacker" garage. The proposal is separate from their plans to turn the old church, shut in 2015, into a 35-unit apartment building.
In a lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the residents said there were no "special circumstances or conditions" related to the roughly 9,400-sqare-foot parcel to warrant variances related to its height, insufficient open space, rear-yard-setback, number of parking spaces and overall density on the site, among others and asked a judge to "annul" the board's approval.
At the November hearing, Cedarwood's attorney said some of the variances were needed only because neighbors had asked for things that required them; for example, the lack of sufficient open space for residents came after the developers agreed to eliminate a roof deck and balconies for units. The BPDA and BPD both said 24 parking spaces were adequate for a building of the size, and an aide to City Councilor Ed Flynn, who supported the project, said that many spaces would help alleviate the "South Boston parking crisis."
Also at the hearing, an attorney for two of the residents named in the suit said the new building would create traffic and safety issues, although he did not specify them. Another attorney for residents said direct neighbors never had a chance to voice their concerns at neighborhood meetings, although another nearby resident testified there were certainly local meetings for residents to speak up. The Saint Vincent's Lower End Neighborhood Association supported the project.
The BPDA approved the proposal in June.
363 E St. filings.