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45 West Third Street

Concerns over devlopment

It is no surprise living in South Boston that residents have concerns over development in this neighborhood.  In the last few years, it seems as though every inch of land in Southie is being developed and it’s directly impacting residents’ daily quality of life.  Issues from lack of parking, to overcrowded bus stops, to traffic are just some of the concerns but one major issue for residents is the feeling they are not being heard when it comes to the neighborhood being over developed.

Just look at the Kids Before Condos campaign being led by the Gate of Heaven Neighborhood Association in opposition to the proposed condo development at the former Gate of Heaven School.  Another case that has been getting attention is the mammoth of project that will be built at 45 West Third Street (Between A and B Streets) – with a 105 units and 109 parking spots. This project is being developed by Spaulding and Slye Investments.  

This project has recently applied for a PDA which direct abutter Sam Jackson from KO Pies is against.  

What is a PDA (From the BRA Website):
A Planned Development Area (PDA) is an overlay zoning district that establishes special zoning controls for large or complex projects. The Zoning Commission may approve a request to establish a PDA where a development that is well-suited to its location cannot be accommodated by the general zoning for the area. For example, a PDA may be appropriate where a development involves a large building, a cluster of buildings, or a mix of uses.

Approval of a PDA requires the submission of a development plan. Development plan submission triggers a 45 day public comment period and requires the approval of both the BRA and the Zoning Commission.

A PDA Development Plan must specify the proposed location, dimensions, and appearance of all buildings located within the PDA, as well as all proposed uses, parking, and landscaping. The Development Plan may provide for uses, dimensions, or parking that deviate from the general zoning for the district. To ensure that these deviations do not unfairly burden the surrounding neighborhood, the Development Plan also must provide for specific public benefits.

Opposed to PDA:
One South Boston small business that will be directly impacted by this project is KO Pies.  Located at the corner of A and West Third, KO Pies is a bustling Australian restaurant and catering owned and operated by Sam Jackson.   Jackson is fearful of the PDA proposal and potential for developers to circumvent zoning controls.  “There is  potential that the developer could sell the rights to the project, and/or change the scope of the project once approved, and we would have no recourse to challenge them. It’s the lack of transparency that is concerning,” says Jackson.

The other potential nightmare for KO Pies? According to Jackson, his business will be isolated and closed off for 18-24 months during construction and he believes the developer has done very little to offer support during this process.  “We have just come out of the toughest winter ever, and all small businesses are feeling the effects. The idea of being closed off for that amount of time is a very scary proposition.” 

We reached out to the BRA (Boston Redevelopment Project) to get their side of this project and the PDA proposal.  According to Erico Lopez, Director of Development Review and Policy, the PDA is another another layer of zoning they consider granting to a project of this size and scope. The PDA proposals require an extended public comment period to allow for community input.   “We scrutinize such proposals thoroughly and in close conjunction with the impacted community because public feedback is fundamental to the success of our review process. We look forward to addressing concerns and questions from community members at next Wednesday’s public meeting, and we encourage everyone with an interest in the project to attend.”   

The community meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 24th at 6:30pm at the Artists for Humanities 100 West Second Street.  

A discussion about the project’s future will take place at this meeting. Representatives from the BRA, Spaulding and Slye and Jackson will be in attendance.   As for whether Jackson’s concerns will be heard, we’ll let you be the judge.

Jackson remains hopeful that the PDA will not be approved.  “I’d just hope that the mayor and the BRA at the very least squash this PDA nonsense and make the developer go through the normal zoning procedures that apply and we end up with 105 more neighbors and KO customers that are just as loyal and supportive as pretty much everyone else in Southie who have supported us since 2010.”

Jackson has launched his own Facebook campaign to stop the PDA – https://www.facebook.com/events/1003931996293036/

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    A PDA would add protection for the neighborhood in case the project gets sold not the other way around. I live near st Augustine’s and I wish they had a PDA so the process would be more in-depth than just an abutters meeting and then they go back to the zba to get most likely approved. An additional 45 day comment period on any change that wasn’t previously agreed upon? Sign me up. That’s called protecting the neighborhood from shifty developers who always seem to change one thing or another.
  2. Anonymous says

    and it's true the developers suck bad! They did not listen to the neighbors (iag) concerns for months until the mayor got involved and they ended up conceding on every major point. The mayor got the height and unit count down along with changing it to condos not rentals and he made them put in a 1 to 1 parking ratio. So after that amount of pressure from the mayor I want to make sure the building is built the way it's proposed now and if a pda makes that happen so be it.  So much time was already invested in this thing let's not give them a chance to change any of it. 

  3. Angelique Pirozzi says

    Almost all members of the IAG for 45 W 3rd St, 8 in total, signed a letter recentlly stating their opposition to a PDA or any other change to what was agreed upon by the community for this parcel. Those same members support the proposed development BUT NOT THE PDA. A PDA would strip abutters, neighbors and all affected parties in the community of their right to recommend modifications to the project and legally challenge the developer. Spaulding & Slye filing of a PDA sends the message that there is one set of rules for wealthy developers, and another for the rest of us. – See more at: http://www.bankerandtradesman.com/news164322.html

  4. Anonymous says

    What’s the end game? Sounds like KO Pies is arguing against themselves. They want protection in place in case they sell the property, doesn’t a PDA do that. They also want the new neighbors/customers so I don’t see the issue. There has to be other factors in play here besides the 18-24 months of construction. We live in Southie it has been 15 years of construction.

    My hunch is they were planning on suing the zba decision and without the zba that is no longer an option. Which is fine by me but put the cards on the table if your asking for the community to have your back.

  5. Angelique Pirozzi says

    Because Spaulding and Slye have no intention of building this building, another developer can and will come into the picture.  With a PDA in hand there will be no commmunity involvement on the development of that project.  A PDA is meant for large projects like what is being proposed for Dot Ave, not this small parcel on the quiet residential street of W3rd.  This is not a PDA worthy project.

     

  6. Anonymous says

    The clear message to me is that this proposal has been negotiating with community for a looooong time. That’s the message I like to see, gone are the days of a “meeting” and then approval. That’s been the biggest difference I’ve seen between mumbles and Marty. Development is not going to stop but at least now is not a rubber stamp the developers need to negotiate and if they choose not to the Mayor puts them on ice like he did with this project.