CAMH Monthly Meeting Notes

By Laura Plummer

The Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) met on Wednesday, March 20, at the Chan School of Public Health to hear a presentation from a local architect hoping to redevelop a property at 42 Wait St.

In attendance at the meeting were about twenty local residents and another 10 individuals representing local businesses.

Currently at 42 Wait St. is a 2,347 square-foot multi-family home containing six bedrooms and three bathrooms. The property was built in 1990 and sits on a lot of 6,242 square feet. It was sold at the beginning of 2018 in what is known as a non-arms-length transaction, which is where the buyers and sellers have a previous relationship with each other.

Peter Vanko of Vanko Studio Architects presented his proposal to develop the current property into rental units. His proposal includes two different options, a three-unit project or a seven-unit project. The seven-unit project would bring more housing to the area, but it would need a variance because the number of units exceeds the current zoning requirement for that area.

Currently the owner has a permit to construct the three-unit scheme, which includes five bedrooms and three parking spaces. However, after considering the design, the owner wanted to explore the idea of smaller units. Vanko created a scheme that includes seven one- and two-bedroom units, each with one parking space. It is fully compliant with zoning codes, save for one violation, the number of units. If the proposal were to be approved by the local community, the team would be seeking zoning relief for that one issue.

Vanko specializes in multi-family homes, and his portfolio features several projects in Boston. He also designs hotels, businesses, churches and high rises. This is not the first time Vanko has done projects in Mission Hill. He is also the architect behind a project called 6 Mission, which is a two-unit building on Mission Street.

Vanko’s presentation on March 20 was an introductory pitch with the aim of eliciting feedback from the neighborhood, although he claims that abutters to the project have been supportive.

“We are gauging community response and just talking with neighbors at this point,” Vanko told the Gazette.

After the presentation, residents at the meeting openly shared their feedback. For example, some preferred to see condos at the site rather than rentals, believing that condos would be a better option to encourage long-term residents.

CAMH ultimately decided to postpone the vote on the 42 Wait St. project until their next meeting on April 17, to give the developer time to research the feasibility of turning the units into condos.

Also at the April meeting, CAMH will hold elections for its president and board members. Currently on the board are President Chad Rosner, Jim Burke, Mike Holly, Richard Johnson, Ellen Moore, Cindy Walling and Gary Walling.

CAMH meets on the third Wednesday of the month in auditorium G-3 of the Kresge building at the Chan School of Public Health, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. All members of the Mission Hill community are invited to attend. Email communityallianceofmissionhill @gmail.com to get on their email list.

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