Ciara D’Amico, from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, hosted an abutters meeting for 128-134 North Street, the Traffic Tunnel Administration Building. The owner, Sal Lupoli, acquired the property from the Mass DOT and is seeking zoning relief to establish a single family residence on the property.
Lupoli's attorney presented plans that would see the interior of the former Mass DOT Traffic Tunnel Administration Building renovated into a 6,700 square-foot, five-bedroom residence with parking for four vehicles and a roof deck. Lupoli did not attend the meeting.
There were two popular proposals for this space when it went to bid in 2017, one from North Bennet Street School and one from North End Music and Performing Arts Center.
Rounds of concerns were started by North Bennet Street School president Sarah Turner and echoed by numerous attendees affiliated with NBSS, North End Music and Performing Arts Center, and several residents. No attendees spoke in support of the project. Specific concerns expressed by attendees:
- That the property was acquired under misleading means. Particularly that Lupoli referenced NEMPAC and public accommodation in his proposal to acquire the property and later, after the acquisition, sought zoning for a single family residence with no community aspect.
- That the garage may have been acquired separately and that the Greenway Conservancy had been using that space.
- That the transfer of the public space to private use could discourage people from freely using the remaining public space and easement.
- That a private residence could interfere with the operation of NBSS, including loud noises.
- That the easement was advertised as non-exclusive pedestrian, but Lupoli is seeking vehicular access.
- That there is no precedent for turning public property - specifically public property on the Greenway - into private property.
- That dozens of residents had earlier expressed interest in a public accommodation use and that Lupoli's company supported that during the acquisition. That this request seems like a bait and switch.
- That the owner, surveyor, and architect didn't attend the meeting.
- That the proposal includes a roof deck (rather than solar panels, for example).
The attorney tried to keep the attendees focused on the matter of zoning relief and not the RFC, acquisition of the property, or other details about his client. When asked if Lupoli owned any other buildings in the area, the attorney stated he didn't know and that he would not answer the question if he did because it was irrelevant. (Note: Lupoli's company does own 240 Commercial Street.) Later, Lupoli's attorney stated that he was sorry people don't like the proposal but that he wasn't here to look back four years. "Honestly, looking back four years for how the RFC happened is not something I was involved with and isn't, I don't want to say isn't relevant, but right now what we're proposing to do is turn this into a residential building."
D’Amico stated that letters of opposition or support can be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org, but also that the meeting and the comments expressed therein, were recorded. An audio recording of the abutters meeting can be found here, video is posted below.
Next steps for the project are meetings with NEWNC and NEWRA.
Watch the recording: