What a difference two months and a summertime walk can make.
The Severyn brothers left the city Planning Board in late July feeling frustrated after resistance from the community and board members left their proposed Symphony Row town home project in limbo.
But on Monday night, the pair emerged from the same board not only victorious in winning the board’s support but with the enthusiastic support – and literal applause – of the same community after weeks of talks with neighbors and a significantly revised plan that scaled back the development to four town homes.
“It’s about the process and how citizens of the community work with development. There were some rough bumps in the conversation, but the best part was that we came together,” said Elena Delgado, who lives on Summer Street, and has been talking with the Severyns about the project for months.
“I ask you to hold this up as a model for how citizens and developers can work together in the city in areas in which there are conflict.”
Mark Goldman of Jersey Street, a vocal critic of the project before, agreed. “We worked very closely with the Severyn brothers, very fruitfully and very positively,” he said. “I’ve been working with developers for many years, and these brothers are by far the most accommodating of all that I’ve worked with.”
Severyn Development, a family-owned firm, originally proposed six town houses before scaling the project back to five because of community criticism. But even that plan met with fierce opposition from neighbors, who objected to the design and size of the project, complaining that the architecture was not in keeping with the surrounding streets and community fabric.
The Severyns almost gave up. But after the last meeting, on July 30, the brothers met in mid-August with some neighbors and Planning Board members, and even went on a walking tour with residents.
“It was an opportunity to look at those architectural buildings. I’m very pleased that you listened to us and took that into consideration,” Delgado said.
The new proposal calls for four attached for-sale town houses at 390 Jersey St., in an 11,214-square-foot wood-frame building. Most of the front facade will consist of brick and a rustic-stone base, with aluminum-clad windows and carriage-style overhead garage doors.
Plans by HHL Architects call for each three-story unit to include either 2,787 or 2,820 square feet of space, with an attached two-car garage. Cars would enter from Jersey Street and exit onto 14th Street.
The $2 million project is expected to take about nine months to complete, with work beginning in March.