ZBA Says ‘not Yet’ to 40 Warren

January 26, 2012
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It was a project that initially had widespread support from the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) but once abutters began complaining they were not involved in the process things went sour.

The Boston Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) voted on Tuesday against the project at 40 Warren St. until the community process with abutters is satisfied. The rejection of property owner Vahid Nickpour’s plan to increase the footprint and capacity of the building was made without prejudice and gives Nickpour the opportunity to continue the community process with neighbors.

At the last ZBA meeting elected officials and the Mayor’s Office were prepared to ask the board to oppose the project until Nickpour met with abutters and address their concerns. Nickpour opted to defer until January 24. On January 5 The Charlestown Neighborhhod Council held  another community meeting. At that meeting more than 100 residents showed up both in support and against the project. After that meeting the CNC Executive Board was unable to support the project as the vote was split 6-6. In their decision the ZBA felt the neighborhood’s concerns were still too great.

Nickpour plans to add two floors to the three story garage at 40 Warren that would house commercial space and 14 residential units.

Nickpour began the community process in late 2010 and pitched the plan to the CNC. There, architect Philip Hresko said that Nickpour planned to use the current garage structure’s first floor as parking and 3,000 sq. ft. of commercial space while the second and third floors would be additional parking and office space. Some of the controversy comes from his plan to add two and a half floors atop the current building with both floors housing seven condo units ranging from 1,347 sq. ft. to 1,960 sq. ft. The plan would also historically renovate the façade of the building.

Because Nickpour needed zoning relief as he needed to raise the height from 35 feet to 58 feet, the CNC referred the project to its development committee. Once that committee signed off on the project additional community meetings were held over the year with the CNC ultimately supporting the project.

However, before the last ZBA meeting in December a group of organized abutters began complaining that they were left out of the process. Many of the abutters oppose the project in its size and scope and will now have the opportunity to continue working with Nickpour and iron out a compromise.