On March 16, the Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) held its monthly meeting on Zoom, where it discussed three building proposals. Around 55 people attended.
4 Cherokee St.
A one-family home at 4 Cherokee St. is currently a rental property. It was recently purchased by Neponset Investments LLC, a company with many real estate holdings in Boston. Neponset wants to convert the home to a two-family by adding livable space in the basement and an attic dormer.
Community members expressed concern that this would become another student building run by absentee landlords, contributing to the ongoing quality-of-life issues in the neighborhood. They also worried that the conversion would remove an opportunity for long-term housing. One long-term abutter said they had not been consulted on the proposed construction and had concerns regarding the design.
Developers said they would postpone their upcoming ZBA hearing to speak with the abutter, correct zoning violations and return to CAMH for a vote. They will also consider an owner-occupancy requirement to avoid an absentee landlord situation.
739 Parker St.
Convenience store Tipsy’s Beer and Wine at 739 Parker St. is hoping to upgrade to a full liquor license. Some meeting attendees supported the proposal, citing the owners’ friendly reputations.
However, other attendees expressed concerns about the store’s proximity to Fenway High School, where teachers and students opposed the local selling of hard liquor. Another concern was ongoing littering and loitering expected to increase with the sale of hard liquor, especially in the warmer months. Someone also noted the business’s history of failing to renew its license on time and to follow through on commitments.
When the matter was brought to a vote, 18 voted against the proposal, 15 voted for it, and six people abstained. CAMH will send a letter of opposition to the licensing board. However, approval from the group is just a formality and is not required.
21 Fernwood Rd.
Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH) wants to convert a two-family home at 21 Fenwood Rd. to a five-unit residence. The home exists on the RTH campus.
Developers claimed that the upgrade would increase accessibility and improve fire safety. They insisted that they would attempt to minimize the impact on current tenants during construction.
CAMH members expressed concern that current residents of RTH would have to downsize against their will and noted that the majority of current residents opposed the project. They also suggested that improving accessibility and fire safety could be achieved without significant construction and requiring tenants to move.
As with the project at 4 Cherokee St., meeting attendees blamed the subdivision of larger apartments for why family accommodations are becoming scarce in town.
CAMH did not vote on the project. Developers need to come back for a second presentation to elicit a vote.
The CAMH Working Group was scheduled to present an update on student and quality-of-life issues in Mission Hill, but this presentation was postponed due to time constraints.
CAMH meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 7pm on Zoom. The meeting is open to the public.