Green light for Hancock Street apt. conversion

The Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Zoning and Licensing Committee voted Wednesday not to oppose granting the necessary zoning relief and variances to convert a lodging house at 61 Hancock St. into apartments.

David Watson, the applicant and building owner, proposes changing the legal occupancy of the 20-person rooming house to “seven apartments plus four rooms,” as well as converting basement utility and storage space into living space to be combined with the floor above to create a single apartment. Watson also intends to add an egress by constructing an open stairwell from the basement to the rear yard.

Conrad Wall, who represented the condo association for the abutting building at 19 Joy St., was among neighbors expressing concern with the proposal to add 750 feet of basement living space.

Besides density, abutters also cited trash maintenance and usage of the rear yard as other issues pertaining to the building.

Regarding trash maintenance, Watson responded that the task was handled by Greater Boston Properties and offered “a direct link to the management company for anyone who wanted it.”

Watson also agreed to enter into a “good neighbor” agreement with the Zoning and Licensing Committee that would place restrictions usage of the rear yard and address proper trash storage, among other matters.

The agreement would also stipulate that “the four rooms be consolidated into one, if possible,” said committee co-chair Tom Clemens.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to rule on the requested variances at its March meeting. If approved, Watson said he expected to have the necessary permits in hand by June, and that construction would likely take four months to complete.

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