Councilor Linehan: Residential Development Changes Linked to Parking Shortages
Shift from condominium to apartment development is impacting parking in Boston neighborhoods, Linehan said.
City Councilor Bill Linehan has called a hearing with the city’s redevelopment and transportation offices to discuss shortages in street parking exacerbated by last-minute project changes to residential development
In a motion filed on Monday Linehan pointed to a common practice of converting condominium projects into residential apartment buildings “late in the planning process, after the project has been vetted in the community and requiring only a Notice of Project Change.”
“When a proposal changes from condominiums with residential ownership to apartment units with a more transient demographic, the number of parking spaces is often significantly decreased as the number of units is increased,” he wrote.
Condominium developments usually include parking for at least one vehicle per unit, Linehan said, while apartment rentals require as little as .5 or .3.
“Meanwhile, it's the same occupancy in the building,” he said.
With public transportation systems already strained, parking is at more of a premium in Boston neighborhoods like the South End, which are largely residential. And with rental units in demand, many private companies are changing their residential statuses from condos to rentals, according to councilor Michael Ross.
"They're promising that they're going to commit to building condominiums in our community,” he said of the Mission Hill neighborhood. “Then it flips and becomes four college students moving in, which is what neighborhoods are arguing against. The BRA has rules in place to vote on such rules and changes, but the ZBA (Zoning Board) doesn't.”
This isn’t the first time Linehan has asked for a conversation on the topic. Prior meetings have been promising, he said, but changes need to be made.
"We had a good meeting with both Transportation, and Boston Redevelopment Authority,” he said Wednesday. “They told us they would look into these matters and come up with a formula and standard for various parts of city and adjacent to public transportation but none of that has really occurred. I think it's essential that we call for another hearing and move this to some closure."
The matter was referred to the Committee on Economic Development and Planning.