BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee Vote Not to Oppose Variance for 3 Sentry Place

The Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Zoning and Licensing Committee unanimously voted Wednesday not to oppose a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) variance requested by the homeowner of 3 Sentry Place on the conditions that the applicant reach an agreement with abutters on the design of a proposed head-house and enter into a “good neighbor” agreement.

Roger Snow, the owner of the single-family residence, intends to build a small head-house that would allow walk-up access to a new roof-deck on top of the 3½-story building. The head-house would increase the floor area of the building, which already exceeds the 2.0 maximum for buildings on Beacon Hill.  The head-house and deck would be setback 15 feet from the rear lot-line and therefore not require a rear-yard setback variance.

Several direct abutters from Goodwin Place said the head-house would likely obstruct their light and views.

Snow responded that he would consider constructing the head-house from glass to mitigate daytime impacts on neighbors, as well as outfitting the structure with a curtain to limit the amount of light it emits at night.

Snow is scheduled to meet with abutters and Zoning and Licensing Committee co-chair Russ Gaudreau today, Oct. 11, in an effort to reach a compromise on the head-house design.

Also, the applicant plans to dig down 16 inches in the basement under the main house and a reconstructed el to provide 8-foot head clearance. This planned renovation would also increase the floor area of the building. Snow said the basement would continue to serve as mechanical space, storage and a wood working shop.

Neighbors expressed concern that the basement could be converted to living space after the excavation, prompting Gaudreau to recommend that Snow enter into a “good neighbor” agreement with the BHCA. Among the stipulations of the agreement would be that the applicant wouldn’t change usage of the basement into living space.

Snow said he would agree to “reasonable restrictions” regarding usage of the basement space.

Snow said he hasn’t yet scheduled a hearing with the city’s Board of Appeal to review his request for the FAR variance.

The BHCA board of directors is scheduled to vote on the matter at its monthly meeting tonight.

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