Church condominium decision gets delay
A hearing and potential decision about the condominiums proposed for around Porter Square’s St. James’s Episcopal Church has been delayed until March 15, according to a corrected Planning Board agenda. The topic was to be taken up at a meeting scheduled for 7 tonight.
While the delay was attributed to an absent board member, there have been complaints from neighbors of the project and development watchdogs since the board’s Feb. 15 meeting that the issue wasn’t being presented correctly — that although issues up for approval were described as having been generally approved a year ago, they were in fact new issues.
“Why didn’t CDD require submission of a new, accurate application form … ? The site conditions, project design, permitting status and requisite zoning relief have all materially changed since the Planning Board reviewed and conditionally approved the 2009 proposal,” said a letter sent Feb. 22 to city planners by the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee.
The 46-condominium project at Massachusetts Avenue and Beech Street was described last month by Liza Paden, an associate planner, as needing a special permit to be built so close to homes on Beech Street because of its height and the nature of its lot, which is split between two kinds of zoning.
Such issues were described as being accidentally debated and approved a year ago without being officially added to a list of city documents for the developer, Cambridge-based Oaktree.
“This is a new special permit,” confirmed Liza Paden on Tuesday. “It is up to the Planning Board to determine if there is anything in the current application or proposal that significantly different.”
The board heard discussion last month about the project’s emphasis on Beech Street, with several members indicating they were hearing nothing new.