Council Approves Special Permit for Shirley Avenue Development

By Adam Swift

The City Council approved a special permit for scaled-back plans for a 24-unit apartment development with two ground floor commercial units on Shirley Avenue at its meeting Monday night.

Last year, developers proposed a 32-unit, five-story building at 163 Shirley Ave.

After concerns were raised by neighbors and some councilors, the developer worked with the abutters and Ward 2 Councilor Ira Novoselsky and came back with the proposal to demolish the existing building on the site and replace it with a four-story building.

“This project has been working for a very long time,” said Larry Simeone, the attorney for the developer. “We did have a hearing in December, and it’s taken an awful long time to get it right. We worked with the ward councilor, Ira Novoselsky and other councilors to hear the issues that were raised by neighbors and we’ve done everything we can do.”

In addition to decreasing the height of the building and the number of units, Simeone said there were a number of conditions in the special permit that will increase privacy and ease concerns for neighbors.

The existing building has two commercial units and three residences. The new building will retain two commercial units, which Simeone said are likely to be a cafe and a convenience story.

The second through fourth floors will contain 14 studio units of about 339 square feet each, and 10 one-bedroom units of about 680 square feet each.

The fourth floor of the building will also be pulled back slightly from the lower floors to give neighbors more privacy, Simeone said.

Novoselsky recused himself from voting on the special permit, since he lives near the property, but several other councilors said they supported the project because it had the ward councillor’s support.

Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said he appreciated that the developer reduced the size of the development.

“It’s great to see some compromise in this project,” said Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti. “The last time this was here in front of us, we had some people opposed, and I don’t see that here in the audience today, so it’s great work on both ends to reach some common ground.”

Visconti also noted that the proposed building is an upgrade over the existing structure, adding that it continues the transformation of the Shirley Avenue neighborhood.

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