Library Street Condo Development Goes Back to Drawing Board

It’s back to the drawing board for a proposed condominium development at 51 Library St.

Property owner Pedro Florentino withdrew a proposal to knock down the existing garage and single-family home structures in order to build a three-floor, five-unit condominium development at last week’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

The project did garner the approval of the Planning Board, but the ZBA and the city’s planning department deemed the project too large for a lot of under 5,000 square feet.

Florentino presented a slightly scaled back version of the project to the ZBA after concerns were raised about setbacks at a ZBA meeting in the spring.

According to the attorney representing the project, David Mindlin, the new plans pulled the upper floors in from the property lines to create more distance between it and neighboring properties. A communal third-floor deck was also changed so that it would be used only by the third floor occupant.

“There are now four brick garages and one single-family that looks like a brick garage on the property,” said Mindlin. “It’s a real eyesore. There are some beautiful homes in the neighborhood and an apartment building down the street, and this project would greatly improve the neighborhood and rid it of an eyesore.”

The proposal called for two two-bedroom units on the second floor, two two-bedrooms on the third floor, and a two-bedroom with an office and the roof deck on the top floor. The bottom floor would have had five covered parking spaces and an area for trash, with an additional three outside parking spaces.

But the size of the building seemed to be too much for the planning department and the ZBA members.

ZBA Chair Janice Tatarka noted that the ZBA recently denied a special permit for a five-unit building on a 5,000-square-foot lot.

Permitting and Land Use Planning Director John DePriest said the planning department was opposed to the project.

“The planning department is not in favor of approval of five units at this site,” he said. “The site is only approved for one unit as it is, and asking for five is really overdevelopment of the site.”

Tatarka agreed that the plan looked too big for the lot.

“From my perspective, I would not feel comfortable voting on five units,” she said. “I would be willing to look at two or three units, personally, but I think that is just a huge building.”

The ZBA approved Mindlin’s request for his client to withdraw the proposal without prejudice, allowing Florentino to come back before the ZBA with a redesigned and scaled back version of the proposal.

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