CNC Committee Recommends Navy Yard Project, But Parking Problems Remain

The Starboard Place residential development features 54 rental units but no on-site spaces for vehicles.

Though they are recommending support of the Starboard Place proposal for the Navy Yard’s Parcel 39A, members of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council Development Committee remain concerned about the project’s lack of on-site parking—and about Navy Yard parking in general.

Six CNC members were present at a project review meeting hosted jointly with Boston Redevelopment Authority project manager Geoff Lewis on Thursday night. The meeting was held at Constitution Inn, located next to the empty lot where the 54-rental unit project is being proposed, at the corner of First Avenue and Ninth Street.

Also present were Henry Kara and Andrew Kara, attorneys for development company Kavanagh Advisory Group LLC, and project architect Joel Bargmann of Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc.

Starboard Place is a new, 48,000 sq. ft. building with 18 studio apartments and 36 one-bedroom apartments. The building design meets National Park Service standards for the historical area in which it will be located.

Though no parking is available on-site, 32 spaces in nearby Building 199 (operated by Massachusetts General Hospital), will be designated for Starboard Place residents, as well as 11 spaces in the Flagship Wharf garage at 197 Eighth St., according to Henry Kara. That leaves the 11 affordable units without designated parking.

Parking problems

After the developer’s presentation and questions from those in attendance, five of the CNC Development Committee members voted to recommend the project to the entire council, with several conditions including that the developer hire union workers and attempt to hire at least 20 percent workforce from Charlestown, that they hold community construction impact meetings and that they ensure 54 parking spaces—one for each rental unit, including the 11 affordable units.

One member, at-large councilor Barbara Babin, voted against the project, saying she did not feel it was fair for the BRA to accept one developer’s proposal without on-site parking when other developers in the past had been required to include spaces.

“I don’t know how you get away with not having parking for all the units,” Babin said.

Several other residents felt similarly.

Marion Dancy Cullen, the council’s Friends of the Navy Yard representative, questioned what Starboard Place residents would do when they needed to unload groceries or otherwise drop off or pick up.

Friends of the Navy Yard member Richard Burtt said MGH’s Building 199 is often already full during the day, with a waiting list about 90 people long.

“We can’t keep going to the Mass. General garage,” he said.

CNC vice chairman David Whelan said garage parking at night would not be a problem but that during the day, the garage does fill up. However, he also noted that, as of May, parking for students at MGH’s Institute of Health Professions will be moved to the North End, freeing up about 190 spaces during the day.

In addition, MGH and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are essentially swapping parking spaces, with MGH employees using spots freed up at Spaulding’s Nashua Street location when the Navy Yard building opens for business in April.

Despite these changes, Whelan agreed that Building 199 was not a long-term solution and noted the high cost of parking in the Navy Yard—more than $200 a month.

Past, present and future

Other developers have suggested projects on Parcel 39a that included parking, including the proposal before Kavanagh Advisory Group’s. But that developer was unable to finance the project for several reasons—including the cost of providing underground parking, Lewis said.

Kara said it would cost Kavanagh Advisory Group about $3 million extra to build an underground parking garage on the site because of technical requirements with the site being so close to the water.

Flagship Wharf resident Mary Perkins suggested adding parking would actually increase the value of the building and could be incorporated into the unit prices.

But Kara said that the added expense just wasn’t practical right now.

Included in the Development Committee’s final recommendation to the CNC was a condition that the developer find 11 additional parking spaces for the building’s affordable units.

“In my mind, the market rate parking subsidizes the affordable unit parking,” Development Committee chairman Mark Rosenshein said.

Several people felt the city needs to work on a parking solution, whether as part of this project or separately.

As Green Street resident Sean Sullivan said, “It’s time for the BRA to start taking a serious look at the Navy Yard.”

Just a person! January 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM
All I can say is: The BRA and the CNC are out of control! They really have to be looked at!
Just a person! January 25, 2013 at 01:23 PM
How can you approve of a development with no parking??? Especially 54 units? But then again it's the CNC /BRA. If I wanted to build a mutiple dwelling house I have to make sure there is parking for all units. Then you have the white elephant on West School St that they also approved 99 units with one spot per unit, and any person would know most households have two cars, Do the math! I suppose too that Mark R. Is on board, Is he on the architect team, like Domino's I think it is a conflict of interest here..
PattyK January 25, 2013 at 01:25 PM
They keep approving more and more projects that leave the neighbors fighting over parking. I think the CNC needs to stand their ground and hold the BRA accountable for approving developments without parking for all units, and the city should also be held accountable, the BRA needs to answer for their actions. Besides we all know that most units have more than one car!
Navy Yard resident January 25, 2013 at 01:50 PM
I don't understand cramming more housing into the navy yard without parking and without neighborhood businesses. They Navy Yard needs basic amenities that most residents have to get in their car and drive to a neighboring town. Harborview's retail space sits empty. Whatever happened about a restaurant going in there supposedly last December? The infrastructure isn't there to support a new hospital and more housing.
Joseph January 25, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Ha! Ha! Ha! JAP and Patty K are spot on!. How many other examples do you need about the sketchy relationship with the BRA and CNC? $3MM in additional costs on such an undertaking is NOT a lot of money. Maybe all you haters that don't like us being critical of the CNC are starting to see the light?
pat b January 25, 2013 at 02:05 PM
the navy yard needs a parking garage BEFORE building more rental units. seriously, does the BRA report to no one? rhetorical question.
Dan January 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Maybe it's time for us to push for the BHCC parking lot be converted into a parking garage to serve the community at large need for parking - T, Collage & Us. Haven't you noticed Johnnies parking lot is full even after Johnnies first closed up. The people parking there aren't shopping! they take the T into the city and these same people are using our on street parking as well during the day. We collectively need more parking in our community not just the Navy Yard proper.
Karen Giordano Catizone January 25, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Why not just make half the number of units so they'll be room for parking? (I know the real reason for that-but it's still a common sense solution). It's hard enough to park there as it is, how are the people living down there supposed to handle at least 50-100 more cars coming into the area now?
Just a person! January 25, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Yes, they report to themselves. NO ONE controls them! And they answer to NO ONE! Its an "Authority" This is why they need to be abolished. Enough is enough they have destroyed our Town since the 60's it's time for them to leave..
Joseph January 25, 2013 at 09:00 PM
BRA supplying data to Mayor Mumbles stating Boston has fully recovered from the Great Recession.
Matthew January 25, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Considering what the BRA did to the West End, I'd say Charlestown has held its own pretty well...all things considered. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a2/Building_in_West_End_Boston.jpg That being said, this city needs to come back down to planrt Earth and realize that, while new construction means jobs and is a sign an improving economy, at some point we have to accept that we can't just keep building on top of buildings and selling the finished product for grossly over inflated prices.
PGRD January 27, 2013 at 11:43 AM
The added expense wasn't practical right now - when wil it be? The CNC always caves.
Blythe Robertson January 27, 2013 at 02:27 PM
I attended this meeting, as well as the first one, and the lack of on-site parking for all units has remained the most contested issue about the project. (Not to mention the fact that, for multiple reasons, no resident in attendance thought the building "as is" is a good idea). Impassioned and in very direct words, resident after resident stood up to say that the parking problem was not acceptable, that it would adversely affect those residents already living and parking in the Navy Yard. Also, because there is no unloading area, Starboard residents would double park in front of the building to unload, adding to the congestion on 1st Ave, which will be even more exacerbated once Spaulding opens. But as usual, residents were more or less dismissed by the BRA as well as the CNC. Only one CNC member had the courage to dissent when it came to a vote (thank you Barbara Babin!), even though almost all the members in attendance believed the parking issue was a major problem. Why doesn't the CNC stand firm and show the BRA - as well as the residents - that they are there to represent the town? Why doesn't the BRA try to work WITH the residents instead of letting us think our voice makes a difference to find out in the end it makes none. Who are The Friends of the Navy Yard and what influence do they have? It was crystal clear at the meeting that the residents did not approve of the project, as it would adversely affect the Navy Yard - but then, when has that really mattered?
Blythe Robertson January 27, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Big thanks to Becca Manning, the editor of the Charlestown Patch, for her coverage of this story.
Just a person! January 27, 2013 at 02:47 PM
You hit the nail on the head, Blythe Your voice does not matter to the CNC nor the BRA The both org. Are out of control, residents attend meetings only to listen to the CNC and the, and only then they open the floor at the end of the meeting for the RESIDENT input, I think they have the cart before the horse! RESIDENTS should have their say first, and the CNC should listen, after all they supposed to be impartial and supposed to be the TOWNS voice.. Correct me if I am wrong!, But I thought that was the reason for the CNC to be "OUR" voice to the City and the BRA, it seems that our voice does not matter! They do what THEY want.
M January 27, 2013 at 05:41 PM
It is my understanding that there was a proposal for 38 units with parking which would have been a much better choice for our community and the future residents of the project. The Navy Yard needs a master plan, created by experienced, thoughtful, forward thinking urban planners with input from the community. Instead we get hacks from the BRA giving jobs to their friends who could care less about the quality of the job or the long term impact on our community and city. It appears this is once again an inside job that could be fodder for an investigative reporter. Mayor Menino lost my confidence and my vote when he appointed someone with zero work or educational experience to head up the BRA. After going to two meetings for Parcel 39a, that decision is further affirmed.
TheMaskedTruthsayer January 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM
BRA, the REAL power in Beantown.
Kenneth Stone January 29, 2013 at 03:08 AM
This project without deeded parking should not proceed.
Just a person! January 29, 2013 at 02:25 PM
But it will..........thank you CNC/ BRA


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