Bay House ll Wins Planning Board Approval with Caveat

Back Wall of Seaport Lofts Facing Federal Street

Back Wall of Seaport Lofts Facing Federal Street

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,540)

The city’s planning board approved the application for Bay House ll, but with a caveat attached to it.  There is still hard work to be done. The board voted this evening to require the developer to improve an obtusively plain wall that faces the Federal Street Townhouses before it approves the project.  Although the planning board said Demetri Dasco, d/b/a 113 Newbury Street, LLC, had addressed most of the outstanding issues from a September 24th meeting, the facade of the Federal Street wall still needed work done on it.  Consideration of the project was tabled from that meeting until tonight’s to give Dasco, a Boston-based developer,  time to respond to board issues.

Dasco and his development team returned for another review of its plans for a four-story housing development, the Seaport Lofts, located at the corner of Newbury and Hancock Streets on Munjoy Hill.   The proposed 60,000 SF sq. ft. development includes 39 residential units – seven townhouses and 32 flats and 43 parking spaces.  The site is currently occupied by surface parking lots.

Neighbors in the India Street area in which this project is proposed, have been particularly vocal about their concerns.  The massiveness  of the building overshadows smaller homes in the area obstructing views and eliminating much-needed sunlight according to neighbors. “This new building is going to loom over us.  Consider the effects of shadows,” said Beth Engle, a real estate agent.  “Consider the foundation of the property.  Can it handle the impact of blasting?  When prospective purchasers of homes in the area find out about the SeaPort Lofts, they lose interest,” Engle said.

Although planning board members appeared empathetic to the issues raised by neighbors, it was board member Jack Soley who led the effort to make Dasco responsible for making improvements to the Motel 6  like wall; saying that this proposal simply did not live up to the design standards of the city.   Chair Carol Morrissette agreed.  The other board members fell into place. Architect David White, is from New Hampshire.

To the chagrin of many in the meeting room, planning board member Timothy Dean said:  “The interest of the city is for this area to become an urban neighborhood and not one of little houses.  Board member Stuart O’Brien criticized the developer because “there has been a lack of coordination with the neighbors.  There should have been more of an outreach to neighbors,” he said

Following the meeting, attorney Nathan Smith, representing SeaPort Lofts,  conceded:  “We have some work to done on the rear.  It clearly needs work.”    Hugh Nazor, president of the India Street Neighborhood Association said:  “Thanks to the delay in the city’s planning,  we don’t have the zoning in place we should have.”