The public clash over redevelopment plans for the parking garage at 40 Warren Street is not over; it has just entered a new phase.
Boston’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied a variance Tuesday that would have allowed the owner of the building to add two floors of residential space on top of the three-story building, but allowed the owner to immediately restart the appeals process—which he plans to do.
“We’re committed to go forward,” said owner Vahid Nickpour. “We want to develop this property.”
But, as Nickpour begins the appeals and hearing process anew, old challenges remain. Nickpour said that the ZBA’s message at Tuesday’s meeting was that he and the property’s neighbors need to work together, but their views on the property vastly differ.
Nickpour said at a meeting in early January that he had already scaled down the project as much as possible while keeping it financially feasible, but Brian Graves, a neighbor and unofficial spokesman for the opposition said a two-floor addition was still too much.
“It’s never been like the variance requests are small,” Graves said. “In my opinion, it’s not a variance. It [would be] essentially rewriting the zoning by granting that request.”
He suggested that Nickpour might be able to achieve a feasible redevelopment project that remains within current zoning guidelines by converting some of the building’s two floors of parking space to residential space, or even converting the building’s one floor of commercial space.
Despite their differences, both men said they plan to continue a dialogue with each other as the process moves forward, and Graves said he plans to continue to stay on top of public meetings for the project.