Upcoming zoning hearings

For more information go to http://www.cityofboston.gov/ons/pdfs/allstonbright.pdf

  • 36 Shepard Street - Create two separate entrances to the building, erect rear deck for unit #1, remove bulkhead, remove chimney, erect rear deck for unit #3, install skylights
  • 457 Cambridge Street - Confirm the legal occupancy as a three-family dwelling and renovate.
  • Bidgdough, 110 Brighton Avenue - extend closing hour from 11pm to 1am


  1. Anonymous10:28 AM

    Here are some puzzling questions:
    * 457 Cambridge St is owned by one of the Zoffreos- (just enter that name on the assessing website to see how many properties are owned by this family- I count 49 properties in A-B alone under various family members names)
    * Property is listed as a single family, now wanting to “confirm” as a 3 family- implying, perhaps, it’s been an illegal 3 family up to now???
    * Property is listed in poor condition- does this result in lower taxes? I think so..
    The taxes on this property, without a residential exemption (rightly so), are almost the same as I pay on my single, WITH residential exemption & LESS square footage.

    Why do people who own multiple properties get the residential tax rate? Isn’t this a business? These are many of the same people who, when asked why they continue to buy up properties in their own neighborhood (& yes, many of our “absentee” landlords live in the neighborhood), removing the potential of families living there, not renting to families, turning the dining room into another bedroom and packing people in- they say “it’s business…”
    Why not charge the commercial tax rate? Couldn't the city use the money?
    But, I suppose they would just figure out a quasi-legal way to hide the fact they own multiple properties.....

  2. Anonymous5:03 AM

    God, please make a search engine, it's hard to find information. It's just advice.

  3. Anonymous6:40 AM

    Everybody had the same opportunity to buy the property that the Zoffreos own. The father has been buying property for years. The problem is the illegal apartment. I would say that at least 40% of 1 and 2 family houses in Brighton are illegal. How many people have updated bathrooms and kitchens without a permit. The same goes for adding bathrooms and apartments. Why pull a permit if the only thing that happens when you get caught is you have to pay more taxes. Are you going to turn your neighbor in knowing that some day you will do the same thing? There has to be a penalty when you get caught in order to solve the problem.
    John Thompson

  4. I was at the meeting (I'm the owner occupant of 36 Shepard St) and my project
    was denied. My project was to basically make my home more environmentally
    friendly by improving insulation, and installing solar roofing tiles (looks like
    reguler roof tiles), raising the roof to finish the attic and better insulate my
    roof. I do believe that the BRA does unfairly treat homeowners with bias (even
    though they call their recommendation w/o prejudice) and favors deep-pocket
    developers. I say this because their denial to me has been approved for other
    recent new developments. BTW, it seems the BRA submits their recommendation
    ahead of the public zoning meeting, and they decide at a non-public,
    non-invited, hearing -- this process is not published in their document,

    . Basically, I own a 3-family, and I am trying to renovate the 3rd unit and add on
    the area in the attic (had been finished at one point) to the 3rd unit, raise
    the roof to make the ceiling height compliant, and add on solar roofing tiles
    (they look like regular roofing tiles) as a renewable energy implementation.
    But, the BRA said that the 2 other units (the two that I'm not even
    substantially touching, but I have renters in) are too small with regards to
    BRA's recommended sizes for a studio and one/two bedroom units. Granted, they
    are small, but they are existing and are just like every other unit that exists
    in the area (it's all old housing with small rooms) -- and they fill a need for
    my tenants that rent from me. I'm not changing occupancy, just growing the 3rd
    unit. In fact, if we look at it glass "half-full" instead of the BRA's
    "half-empty", I'm trying to make the 3rd unit more compliant with BRA
    recommendations of size (it's a 3 bedroom in 800sqft, and they require at least
    1200sqft ... so my renovation would actually create a semi-compliant building as
    opposed to a fully existing non-conforming building).

    The kicker is that developers, with assumingly deep pockets, can lobby the BRA
    and get their projects approved, even though they have the same challenges. I
    have recent examples of recent projects that were approved in the area with
    similarly smaller than recommended units.

    I agree with some of Matthew Geary's comments here on this comment about the


    It perplexes me.

    As homeowners, we try to do the right thing but somehow it's not shown to be the
    right decision or it's an uphill battle that's disappointing.

    It brings to question how normal homeowners (those without
    deep-pockets or political aspirations), can try to grow with the City and still
    become environmentally conscious by trying to improve our communities - yet
    developers seem to be able to get away with relief for the same violations. The
    ZBA's (and BRA) decision indicates to me that they believe the majority of
    Boston's housing stock is obsolete and there's no leeway/relief even for
    socially responsible improvement projects -- I just don't know what that means
    for our residents or the City. Of course, we can't just hide behind being
    socially conscious, but normal home/community improvement should go
    hand-in-hand, to make such responsibility financially feasible. Sadly, perhaps
    Boston isn't the progressive city that some of us hope it is or could be.

    Is there hope for the City? Where do people go that want to live in Boston,
    raise a family, live affordably, and still try to be socially and
    environmentally responsible?

    The City needs some sort of group/board that actually helps (and encourages)
    residents to implement renewable energy and conservation projects in their homes
    -- that has some influence with the ZBA/BRA. Without such, homeowners will
    continually be discouraged and as my experience has shown, there is a
    disincentive to even TRY. Curious to what I submitted? I even have letters of
    support from all my abutters (not included in this file to protect their contact
    info on some of those letters) FULL FILE: