The Zoning Board of Appeals yesterday rejected plans by a Centre Street landlord to replace a three-unit house at 628-630A Centre Street with a new building with two commercial spaces and eight tiny two-bedroom apartments.
The house is next to a hole in the ground where a similar structure is supposed to go up, next to the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.
Board member Anthony Pisani, an architect, led the opposition to Kenneth Zou's three-story proposal after board Chairwoman Christine Araujo expressed surprise that Kenneth Zou was proposing two-bedroom units of between 666 and 777 square feet - which is more commonly a size for large studios. "Does that make sense, Mr. Pisani?" she asked.
"No, it doesn't," Pisani said. "It's ridiculous. This has a feeling of inappropriateness."
After representatives from the mayor's office and City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) voiced support for the proposal, Pisani moved to deny permission. He said he was also concerned the proposal was "completely out of context" with the surrounding neighborhood, even though the hole next door could eventually become a similar building - designed by the same architect - with more residential units, all, however, larger than in Zou's proposal.
Araujo expressed context concern as well, pointing to a similar structure now going up a couple blocks away on Burroughs Street - although she said in that case, the city was able to resolve issues through a BPDA review of the building's design.
"That is just completely out of context, too, so that is like a warning to us," she told Zou.
The board then voted to reject his proposal, but without prejudice, which means he can come back with another proposal for the site.
Nobody rose to speak against the proposal.