The long-time family ownership of the 1830s-era home at the corner of Bartlett and Elm Streets detailed a plan to develop three townhouses with parking on the lot and demolish the two-family home that has been the hub of their family for generations.
At an online neighborhood meeting for Boston Landmarks concerning the proposed demolition, Ed O’Connell said his family has roots in Charlestown going back more than 100 years and his parents, the late Stan and Lois, had desired their property be developed appropriately when they passed.
“We love the neighborhood and it was my parents’ wishes when they passed to develop 41 Bartlett in a way that was respectful to the neighbors and in a way that our family can be proud of.”
Attorney Pat Sweeney represented the family and proposed alternatives to demolishing the home, and gave a brief history of it. The home was built around 1837 for John Badger and originally was 2.5 stories and had four large chimneys. Major renovations throughout the ages, including a gut rehab in 1969, eliminated most of the historical significance.
Now the plan is to demolish the existing home, and build three, new three-story townhouses side-by-side on the site with garage parking underneath and one off-street parking space as well. The height of the new structures would be the same as surrounding homes.
“In no development scenario would there be more than three units,” said Sweeney.
Some neighbors were concerned about the trees on the site, and others were concerned about curb cuts. At least one neighbor would have preferred the unit count stay at two, as it is now.
However, others had good things to say about the plan, including Charlestown Preservation Society (CPS) President Amanda Zettel. She said the addition to the housing stock would be much-needed and is so far being done appropriately.
She did say she would like to see the design be a little more modern and not try to copy the historic nature of homes – which cannot be done entirely any longer. One instance is that stairs leading to the front door are no longer allowed, though they are very much prevalent in the older homes. She pointed to 6 Soley St. as an example of modern architecture that fits well into the historic stock.
“I’d like to see more contemporary design rather than try to mimic the historic fabric, which you can’t fully do,” she said.
Sweeney said they have a Landmarks hearing on March 23, and any construction project of this nature would likely have a 16 month buildout, if approved.