Lynch: Parking a vicious cycle

Boston Herald (MA), 2014-08-06


Aug. 06 --Parking is so bad in South Boston that even a fed-up U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch is going to extreme measures to snag a spot.

"You know what I do right now? I have a bike rack on the back of my car. I work late and I drive home and I don't have parking. And I go into my house and get my 10-speed bike and I put it on my bike rack," Lynch said yesterday when testifying before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals against a proposed eight-unit condo complex on East 8th Street around the corner from his house.

"I live on G Street and I drive to O Street , down by the yacht clubs, where there is parking," he told the ZBA. "I park my car and I get out of my car and I take my bike off the bike rack and, with a suit and tie on, you can see me many nights, 11 or 12 o'clock at night.

"People think I'm a health nut. I'm just a parking nut -- and I ride my bike back from O Street to G Street ," Lynch said. "That's the type of parking issue we have in the neighborhood. And here they come and they want to knock down a single (family) and build an eight-family."

Lynch wasn't the only one to gripe about the impact Frank Mulligan's proposed condo building will have on an enclave with mostly single and two-family homes and scarce parking. Several homeowners gave the developer an earful at the end of the hearing, telling him they can't leave their homes at night because they fear not being able to get a space when they return.

The Southie parking shortage has become such a hot-button issue that in April City Councilors Michael Flaherty and Bill Linehan pushed for a rezoning of the entire neighborhood, saying it has reached its "breaking point" because the zoning board and Boston Redevelopment Authority have given builders of hundreds of new condos and rental units breaks on parking space requirements.

Mulligan and his lawyer, Jon Friedmann , who called Lynch "wrong" several times during the hearing, argue that with 14 proposed spaces on site, its residents will not need to park on the street.

The builder also contends that current zoning allows for his four-story, eight-unit building, and the only reason why his project requires ZBA approval is because a sliver of the 12,000-square-foot property is in a protected "Greenbelt" district that has stricter codes. Yet after being previously shot down by the board, Mulligan sued the ZBA and won. A Superior Court judge last spring ordered it to reconsider his appeal.

The zoning board took no action yesterday after Jerome Smith , head of Neighborhood Services, asked it to delay its vote until city lawyers can review the case.

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