The Zoning Board of Appeal today voted 4-2 to approve Juan Chavez's proposal to replace his auto-collision shop on Washington Street at Bexley Road with a four-story apartment/commercial building - which means the proposal was actually rejected because it didn't get the 5 votes required under state law.
Chavez, who has run the shop for more than 20 years, is seeking to retire due to an injury and had proposed razing his garage and building seven apartments, with two storefronts on Washington Street, and a common roof deck, but no parking
At issue for nearby residents was the proposed building's lack of parking at the site.
Chavez's lawyer, Kyle Smith, said Chavez had originally proposed a residential building with parking, but that the Roslindale Square business association asked that he continue Washington Street's commercial storefronts with new storefronts, which meant eliminating the parking.
He said Chavez was trying to "thread the needle" of competing requests from the surrounding neighborhood and commercial district. "We can't possibly appease all parties with all requests."
But Smith said the building is well suited for the carless generation - it's on a street with numerous bus lines frequently running to and from Forest Hills and is near the Roslindale Village commuter-rail station. And he said that the proposal, by eliminating a long curb cut on Bexley Road, would add four or five on-street parking spaces.
The mayor's office supported the proposal. Aides to City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Michelle Wu declined to take a position.
Board Chairwoman Christine Araujo, a Roslindale resident, said she could not support the proposal because of the parking issue. She said it's already difficult enough for people to shop at some stores in Roslindale Square because of parking difficulties.
In June, the BPDA approved a 31-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail space and a theater at 4198 Washington St. that does not have any on-site parking.
In addition, the plans called for access to the roof deck via a head house, rather than the simpler and smaller hatch the board generally requires for deck access.
Also, "I think the community is owed better in proposal and design," she said.
Board member Joe Ruggiero joined Araujo in voting against the proposal. Member Eric Robinson recused himself. Other members voted to approve the proposal on the condition that BPDA designers work with Chavez to resolve or minimize the issues.
Video of the hearing: