By Patrick D. Rosso, Town Correspondent
Residents greeted plans for a new residential project on West Broadway with enthusiasm Tuesday night, until the conversation turned to parking.
Jason Cincotta, a developer with the Canton-based Evergreen Property Group, and his architect, Michael Leblanc from Boston-based Utile, appeared before the West Broadway Neighborhood Association to present their project proposed for 22-26 West Broadway.
While many at the packed meeting said they like the design of the building and the ground-floor retail space, residents said that the plan does not include enough parking.
"The only chance we have to bring new parking spots into the neighborhood is when a new building is built," said Bill Gleason, president of the neighborhood association.
The approximately $13 million project, which proposes constructing a six-story building to house 31 rental units, only provides seven parking spaces in the building with 12 spaces leased in nearby garage at 50 West Broadway.
Many residents said the .61 parking spots per unit are not enough and .65 spaces per unit would be more appropriate.
"Are we going to hold the line at .65, or are we going to go for less?" Gleason asked the nearly 40 residents who packed the community room at 50 West Broadway Tuesday night.
Cincotta and Leblanc defended their project, saying the unique shape of the lot prevents them from adding more spaces.
Cincotta also said because of the project's proximity to the Broadway MBTA station and other transit options he thinks residents would choose to ditch their cars.
"We spent a lot of time thinking about what makes this neighborhood great," said Cincotta. It's a truly mixed-use, transit-oriented area, and I think the project reflects that."
Not all residents were opposed to the lack of parking, however.
"Maybe this makes me sound crazy, but I don't think the [parking] issue is that bad when you compare it to other urban, walkable areas," said Josh Brandt, 30.
"Addressing parking is important, but I think as it gets more crowded people will start taking the T," added Dom Lange, a business owner.
The proposal would raplace the two buildings that currently sit on the property with a brink and masonry structure.
Of the 31 units, six would be studios, 17 would be one-bedrooms, seven would be two-bedrooms, and one would be a three-bedroom.
The ground floor would house two retail spaces, ranging in size from 1,000 square feet to 2,700 square feet. The smaller space has already been leased by Station News. The other space is being designed to house anything from a yoga studio to a restaurant.
"We really see this space as a gateway to the neighborhood," said Leblanc. We're really trying to push the retail as much as possible. It's going to feel like an exciting place to be."
Leblanc also noted that the project would be striving to be environmentally friendly.
The development team is currently designing the building so that is can be LEED certified Silver and the developer is working with Zipcar to possibly bring a car to the building. The Zipcar would be housed in one of the building's seven parking spaces.
While the project still has to get a number of approvals before any shovels hit the ground, Cincotta said he would like to get the project started by Spring 2013 and estimated that work would take between 10-14 months to complete.
The project is currently in the Boston Redevelopment Authority's public comment period, which ends Nov. 30.
Those who would like to submit comments about the project can do so by emailing the BRA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at (617) 742-7783.
Comments on the project can also be submitted by mail to:
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201-1007
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