The project at 1521 Beacon, listed in the Mayor’s housing plan as a target for medium/high density housing, has gone from the original 40B proposal with dozens of affordable units down to two homes and eight townhomes, only two of them affordable. This site was originally considered a candidate for transit-oriented housing.  Designs now assume two indoor parking spaces per unit, except the affordable units which have one. 

Kathy Winters posted this note at the Waban Area Council site:

The developer has submitted these revised plans for a development of eight townhomes along Short St. (two would be affordable to households at 80% AMI) and two single family homes along Karen Rd. The Newton Planning Dept. has written this response to the plans. The developer is working to reach agreement with abutting neighbors regarding the plans and will discuss the revised plans at the next ZBA meeting on Thursday September 29th at 7pm at City Hall.  Interested residents are encouraged to attend the meeting, at which there will be opportunity for public comment. It is possible that this will be the final ZBA meeting on this project.

Affordable housing needs aside, my first observation was, gee, those look a lot like snout houses. Reading further, it seems the developer has applied for an exception to the brand new garage door ordinance, as well as a waiver to the tree ordinance (among other things).  In its memo, the planning department only recommended against the latter.

The Applicant seeks waivers from the provisions of Sec. 3.4.4.C (requirement of living
space over garages) and Sec. 3.4.4.E.1 (length of garage walls relative to length of
building overall).

Snout houses are a common design to maximize living space and sheltered parking behind the required setback, also maximizing pavement and curb cuts at the front of the property.   I don’t see any mention of the waiver in the draft ZBA response.  The setback for these designs, however, seems to exceed that required by zoning.

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