Concern over condos dominates City Hall event in Southie

Hundreds packed a City Hall-hosted open house in South Boston to learn more about government services last night, but rampant condo development was on some minds.

“I think one of the bigger issues is a lack of a master, cohesive plan that all of South Boston knows about,” said Eileen Murphy, an L Street resident who has spoken at public meetings in opposition to some of the smaller burgeoning developments. “What happens at one end of Southie affects the other end of Southie. There’s a reason it’s called a peninsula. We have limited entry and egress to this community and you’re really surprised when you go by and there was a single family house and all of a sudden it’s a four-story condo.”

In recent months developers have purchased single-family and two-family homes with plans to convert them into multi-unit condo buildings. According to the Boston Planning and Development Agency — which had representatives at the open house — there is $283 million in development spread over 19 projects now under construction in South Boston neighborhoods. That is separate from the waterfront.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh attended last night’s event and said the city has worked to slow that down by making developers appear before the Zoning Board of Appeal, regardless of whether their project conforms to zoning standards.

“I think what’s happening here is people concerned about people buying two-families, and converting them into four or sixes,” Walsh said. “On the bigger stuff they’re not as concerned on the bigger stuff, they’re more concerned on the smaller stuff, and the smaller stuff is big for people. Slowing that down a bit is a good thing. We’re doing ZBA one project at a time for now. Developers were abusing Southie for a long time, and other parts of the city. Hopefully, as we move forward here we’ll be able to get it under control, and get a better understanding of what we want to see moving forward.”

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