The Zoning Board of Appeal today rejected a proposal to turn a one-family house at 13 Greylock Rd. in Allston into a five-unit building after one member noticed that plans showed two proposed units were smaller than allowed by city building guidelines - and residents complained the house is already a neighborhood trash generator with just one family in it.
The board rejected City Realty's proposal "without prejudice," which means the company can come back with a new proposal.
Board member Mark Erlich, said he couldn't vote for the proposal, which included an extension on the rear and one side and which he said looked like a "Little House on the Prairie," because the architect's plans submitted to the board showed two one-bedroom units of 580 and 630 square feet - when city code requires at least 650 square feet.
The city has a "compact living" program that allows for smaller units, but the proposal was not filed under it.
City Realty attorney Jeff Drago, who had, moments earlier, said the units averaged 655 square feet, then asked for a deferral, because he said the figures on the plans were news to him and he needed to look into the discrepancy.
But board Chairwoman Christine Araujo denied his request, because the hearing had already started, so Drago and his client had to listen to neighbors complain about problems with the existing house.
One direct neighbor said she grew so tired of renters using her dumpsters and walking on her property that she installed $7,000 worth of cameras and locks on her dumpsters - although she added she now supports the project after City Realty, which bought the house in August, assured her it would modify the design to include trash receptacles and would build a fence along her property.
"So they couldn't maintain their property with one unit and you have faith they'll do it as a five?" Araujo asked. The neighbor said, yes, she believed City Realty.
Other neighbors, however, said they continued to oppose the proposed expansion because of the trash. One neighbor, an exterminator, said he has captured 200 rats in his own backyard.
Drago said the proposal actually maintained the character of the neighborhood by keeping the existing building - which would be extensively renovated inside - and adding an extension, rather than razing it completely.
The mayor's office supported the proposal, which brought a question from Erlich. "Why is the mayor's office in support of a project that violates city guidelines?" A liaison from the mayor's office said support came because most neighbors seemed to support the project at neighborhood meetings.
After the board rejected the proposal without prejudice, Araujo told Drago that City Realty could come back with new plans that address the previous "lack of neighborliness" as well as the discrepancy of the size of two of the units. Also, "please read five units as too dense," she said.