Opposition group forms against tower

January 9, 2015
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A group has formed opposing a proposed 35-story tower at 45 Worthington St., calling the project “too dense” and “out of scale” for the Mission Hill neighborhood, according to the group’s website.

Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) spokesperson Nick Martin has said that the developer, Equity Residential, has not submitted a project notification form to the agency and that the earliest that that would happen would be late January.

Equity Residential plans to build a 395-unit residential tower with 270 parking spots. The parking spots would be shared with the adjacent Equity Residential building City View at Longwood Apartments. The site is currently a parking lot across the street from the Squealing Pig pub.

The opposition group is called “No Mission Hill Tower” and has a website at nomissionhilltower.org. The Gazette was alerted to the group by resident Lois Regestein, a member of the group. She said that the group has a core membership of 10 to 12 members.

“The project does not fit in height or architectural style and it causes, I think, just enormous problems,” said Regestein, who has lived on Worthington Street since 1971.

She said the proposed tower would be “12 times the sizes of our little houses.”

The website urges critics of the project to contact local elected officials and lists several complaints, including that the height of the building would be “much higher than anything in the surrounding community,” the increased traffic would be dangerous and that the scale and density of the project is inappropriate for being next to a historic district.

The project is near the Mission Hill Triangle historic district, which requires City review of changes to certain building exteriors. However, that would not apply to the tower project.

Pat Flaherty of the Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services (MHNHS) has sent the BRA a letter requesting that the agency not allow the project to move forward through the permitting process as proposed, echoing the criticism of the project being too dense and too tall.

“The tower at 400 feet in height is clearly out of character with the abutting residential area of Worthington Street where most homes are at 35 feet. The scale and density of the project will have a profoundly negative impact on the adjacent Mission Hill Triangle Architectural Conservation District, where (MHNHS) owns property at 706 Huntington Avenue,” she states in the letter.

An Impact Advisory Group (IAG) has already formed for the project and met for the first time Dec. 10. The members are Dave Welch, Richard Giordano, Patricia Flaherty, Willie Pearl Clark, Betty Walker, Luann Witkowski, Maggie Cohn, John Jackson, Susan St. Clair and Adrian Perez. An IAG is a City-appointed group of residents and other stakeholders that advise the City on potential impacts of building projects.

Martin said the BRA has a standard process for forming IAGs, whose members are “ultimately selected by the mayor.”

“The groups tend to have between nine and 12 members, and the goal is to get a representative mix of residents, business owners and designees of community organizations in the impacted area,” he said. “Members of the City Council, state senators and state representatives that serve the impacted area have an opportunity to nominate people to participate on an IAG.”

Martin said that in this case, nominations were solicited from Mission Hill City Councilor Josh Zakim, local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

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