Abutters Express Concerns About Floodwater

Abutters of 324-330 Bunker Hill St. packed into the lower hall of St. Francis De Sales on April 26 to hear the latest presentation for the nine-unit development proposed on that lot. Overall, residents had genuine concerns about the project, but generally seemed supportive of it.

CJ Doherty of Prime Design presented the latest proposal, saying that it has been reduced to nine units, down from various other iterations that included more units and different configurations. “Other people want to buy it and put up a massive tower,” he said, but “we want to make a building that looks like it always belonged here.”

The nine condominiums will be contained in a single building with parking underneath—“more than enough” parking than what’s required by zoning, Doherty added, plus space for visitor parking. Each floor will have three units with the biggest units along Bunker Hill Street. Doherty said that the units will be single-story living with an elevator and two separate means of egress from all floors. Additionally, only the top three units will have roof decks. The units along the back are in the 1800-1900 square foot range, while the ones in the front range from 1900-2000, for a total of 19,500 square feet, Doherty said. The condos are between 2 and 4 bedrooms.

Doherty said that the design of the facade is still under Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) design review. “We’d love to do the whole thing in brick, but the final decision will be up to the city,” Doherty said.

He said there will be two parking spots per unit, so people who live in these units will not be taking up parking on already crowded streets. He said the variances needed from the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) will be: nonconforming use, as the current use of that property is commercial parking and because the proposed building is a single building, front yard setback, and open space.

A resident who lives at the bottom of the hill on which the proposed building sits said that she is concerned that if the area is dug into, “it’s going top start moving things further down the hill.” She said she wanted some assurance that the problem she’s experiencing with flooding will not be exacerbated.

“We have to create some sort of drainage there,” Doherty said. He said the soil is very hard there, which does not allow the water to percolate that well. “We’ve done our best to mitigate this. We collect 100 percent of the water and put it through a system and disperse it either slowly or quickly out to the city system,” he said. “Right now you have zero shield.”

Charlestown resident Elaine Donovan said she was worried about rodents throughout the different construction phases.

Doherty assured her that they would have an exterminator throughout the entire process. “I fully want to be thoughtful of the neighbors,” he said, adding that trash receptacles will be in a trash area on the outside of the building, but whether it will be a small dumpster or barrels will be worked out in the condo documents.

There was a question about construction time, which Doherty said will take roughly 12 to 13 months from the time they receive the permit. They are aiming to get the permit between July and August of this year, he said. They will begin with excavation and construction time will be within city limits—7:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday.

“All of our stuff should be self-contained on the lot,” Doherty said, which includes parking for workers and construction vehicles, dumpsters, etc. He said “you shouldn’t see” vehicles parked “all over the street” or double parking.

They might, however, temporarily block the road during utility installation, and there will be some scaffolding for siding installation as well as a possible temporary sidewalk on Bunker Hill St. Additionally, Doherty said that they might have two lanes shifted over for a total of two to three weeks Doherty’s team will be replacing all of the side walks in front that abut that property as well. He said he has not made a construction schedule yet, but he believes that the rough excavation can happen in a week or two, the foundation will take about a month, the elevator shaft will take about three weeks to a month, the concrete deck for the roof of the garage will be about a week, and framing the building will take two to three months.

“None of this can happen until ZBA approval and then go to ISD for a permit,” Doherty said.

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