BZA Hearing for 1791 Mass Ave.

There is a Planning Board Meeting 12/05/2017 for a Comprehensive Permit Review for this affordable housing project at 1791 Massachusetts Avenue (the old dentist’s home, next to the old North Prospect Church moved by Lesley, now part of the College of Arts & Design). On the other side is Newport Road Condominiums.

The historic home at 1791 will be moved forward and to the north, with some later additions demolished.  It is important to know that the project also includes the two historic houses behind the house at 1791, built originally by Mr. Frost.  All three houses will be restored and a new building will be built in between them to provide more affordable units. 

Between the restored historic houses and the new building there will be 43 units, entirely 100% affordable, mostly for families  (11 1-BR, 16 2-BR, 16 3-BR).  Parts of the new building will be 3 stories, some 4 stories, and some 5 stories. It will be set back from the Newport Road Condominiums.

Brunner/Cott (who did the new Lesley College of Arts & Design building) are the architects.  The mature trees onsite will be saved and there will be no parking provided.

The plans show a lot of open space, approximately 47%. In a query about where the children play the developers propose a large family gathering/play area in the basement area.

The developers admit that even though the housing offers no parking places some folks will still have cars; they propose to make every effort to discourage that. This last point is defended by the location, moments to the redline and commuter rail, near a major bus line, and bikeable/walkable to much of Cambridge/Somerville. 

The developers are seeking a comprehensive special permit at the Board of Zoning (all exceptions rolled into one).

PSNA supports the provision of affordable (especially for families) housing in our neighborhood, and this is obviously a big opportunity to do that.  We are however very concerned about where those extra cars will park.