The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a special permit for a planned development of 692 apartment units in two high-rise buildings on Everett Avenue across from the high school during its meeting on Tuesday night, Oct. 13.
The project has been kicking around City Hall at the Planning Board and ZBA for many months, with the Planning Board just recently issuing a positive recommendation for a Special Permit without any conditions at a meeting early this month.
The project was approved at the ZBA on Tuesday with several conditions, though they weren’t immediately available.
Council President Leo Robinson has been a vocal critic of the project since its inception, concerned about the demolition of the old Chelsea Clock building and a number of other things.
In a letter to the ZBA on Tuesday, Robinson issued his opposition.
“I know the Planning Board moved this project onto the Zoning Board with no conditions,” he wrote. “I disagree with that conclusion by the Planning Board. I understand that something will be built, but I think we can get a better design. The proposed number o units is 692, which would be located in two buildings across from Chelsea High School, along with 2,500 sq. ft. of retail space and a 726-vehicle parking garage. It may improve the area, but it raises other concerns.”
Robinson listed eight concerns, including parking, an updated traffic study, lack of affordability, flooding issues on Vale Street, no job creation, no public spaces and no clear benefits spelled out of the City.
The Board did approve the Special Permit after deliberation, but the project still has a major hurdle to clear with Site Plan Review at the Planning Board. While the Board did give a special permit recommendation, it declined to issue the Site Plan approval – a much more involved process – until more information had been gathered.
In a Special Meeting last month of the Planning Board to address the project, many members voiced extreme frustration with the amounts of late information that had been submitted with little time for review.
The Planning Board will hear the Site Plan Review at its Oct. 27 meeting.
In other ZBA news:
- A controversial project by Genevra Faber at 73 Winnisimmet St. for an eight-unit residential building was continued until Nov. 10.
- A special permit was granted to Shadi Alallam for a furniture showroom with accessory storage requiring parking at 157 Clark Ave.
- The ZBA granted a special permit to allow Omar Mohammed to construct a driveway that does not meet zoning regulations at 15 County Rd.
- Rod Rivera was approved for a special permit and variance at 75 Congress Ave.
- The ZBA granted a special permit to Moises Amaya to change an appliance repair store at 12 Essex St. to a convenience store and laundromat.
- The DeNunzio Group received another three-year permit to store up to 646 rental vehicles at 245-257 Marginal St. as part of the Enterprise and Avis Car Rental operations. The previous three-year permit was about to expire.
- Carol Brown continued her special permit and variance request to construction a rear addition to 34 Beacon St. #1. The matter will be heard on Nov. 10.