By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,434)
Earlier this week the city’s planning board approved two applications for construction of residential units to be located on Munjoy Hill. Both projects, incidentally, are adjacent to residential buildings already owned by the applicant.
A proposed three-unit condominium development on a double lot at 68-72 Munjoy Street is located next to a two-unit residential building already on the property. The house, a recently renovated late 1880s residential building, is an asset in the community because of its restoration. The new building appears to have been designed to complement that 1880s building, although the planning board overlooked that link or connection in it’s fussy chatter.
With Midtown “massing” still in mind, planning board members were critical of Bob LeBlanc’s proposal – perhaps unfairly. The design may not meet the board’s subjective taste buds, but the proposal was approved unanimously because it easily met the city’s requirements. Board member Jack Soley, a member of a local real estate empire, appears to be the vocal leader in this crusade. And the lemmings on the Board followed right behind Soley with their criticism. . No one from the public objected to its presence because it’s out-of-place, a “disservice to the neighborhood, boring,” or for any reason at all. The planning board should keep their personal opinions to themselves and be respectful of others taste buds and budgets. Don’t you think?
The second approval came for a proposed residential unit at 96 St. Lawrence Street owned by Larry Gross and Barbara Colby. The contemporary design is the work of architect David Lloyd, who also designed 118 Congress Street, the contemporary, high-end building that it abuts. The height of the building was reduced to 43 ft. in order to improve the view for one of the residents of 118 Congress – who also attended the meeting. Planning board members liked this contemporary design.
Some residents of the Hill objected to 118 Congress Street because of its height which has blocked the sun for some renters in the area, because the contemporary design is not compatible with other structures in the area. But it stands here today and is an asset to the community.