Cedar Grove airs frustration with Minot St. proposal

An as-of-right proposal to construct a two-family duplex on Minot Street stirred long-standing passions about overcrowding in Dorchester at the Cedar Grove Civic Association's monthly meeting on Tuesday night. Stuart Schrier presented plans on behalf of his client, the property owner who goes by the name Han, to convert an existing one-family at 103 Minot Street into a side-by-side duplex. The lot is approximately 6500-square feet, and as such, is already zoned for a two-family dwelling.

Schreir stated that Tuesday's presentation was essentially a courtesy call, and that the only scenario under which the project will not proceed is if a buyer of the home is found before Monday. Schrier stated that the home is currently unlisted, and will not be listed. However, he said that Han would sell the single family for an asking price of $355,000. If no buyer comes forward, Han is ready to proceed with the conversion as soon as possible. The city of Boston assessed the total value of the home and property at $282,400 for fiscal year 2006.

Residents voiced frustration with the proposal and with the zoning code, which they say fails to protect neighborhoods against projects that are creating a space crunch in neighborhoods across Dorchester. They pressed Schrier as to why the home could not be renovated. Schrier responded that it is in such a state of disrepair that such work would not be financially sound, adding that the ceilings in the home are only roughly seven feet high, and that the interior is essentially gutted.

John O'Toole, president of Cedar Grove Civic, stated that when he found out about the proposal, he endeavored to save the existing single-family home citing its historical significance, but was unsuccessful. He said that it's clear now that the project will go forward, and that his hope is to have a design that is acceptable to the community.

"At the end of the day, we'd like that we can drive by the property and like what we see," said O'Toole.

Han agreed with those sentiments and said that should no offers come in before Monday, he would meet with O'Toole and a small group of neighbors to discuss changes to the design, particularly with regards to extending the proposed driveways to create more than adequate off-street parking.