By Seth Daniel
A group home proposed on Walnut Avenue in Ward 2 has neighbors and Councillor Ira Novoselsky up in arms.
The project was recently proposed quietly at a Site Plan Review Committee meeting, and very few details are available. Right now, the proponent, Bay Cove Human Services, of Boston, is scheduled to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on March 30 for several pieces of zoning relief.
The limited information available now is that the existing structures on the lot at 223 Walnut Ave. will be demolished and that a new one-story building will be constructed. The home would house nine bedrooms.
The lot is approximately 15,000 sq. ft. and near the intersection of James Street.
â€œThe neighbors are up in arms on this one,â€ said Novoselsky. â€œThis is in the middle of a residential neighborhood and itâ€™s more of a medical facility from what I understand. To my initial understanding, the proposal is to have clients who are in need of a higher degree of medical services. The nine client rooms would be in a hospital setting with the need for ceiling track devices to move them from room to room…The initial current feeling of myself and the neighbors is that this would not be conducive for the neighborhood.â€
Novoselsky said some of the initial concerns are that the facility is only providing four spaces for staff and visiting specialists. Also, many wonder about the possibility of ambulances and transport vehicles.
Finally, the disastrous murder of a therapist by a patient at an Ocean Avenue group home earlier this year has some a little skittish, Novoselsky added.
For the record, Bay Cove operates several group homes successfully in Revere, including homes on Washington Avenue and Malden Street.
They are requesting variances for maximum principal building coverage, minimum front yard setback, parking restrictions in the rear yard, and minimum driveway width.