Building 3F in Charlestown with parking

8 Replies

Hello! I am currently looking at 1,815 sq ft plot of land in Charlestown that is zoned as a 3F. It is an adjacent lot to a 3F that I am looking to renovate & live in. I was interested in using some of the land as parking for both my lot & the 3F I would ultimately build. I am currently just exploring the idea and want to be on the lookout for any "gotchas" & tips that this community could give to me. Is there anything beyond zoning I should take a look at before making an offer on the property? Thanks so much.

Charlestown is an affluent neighborhood (except for the public housing area)...so have to be careful when applying for your permits. If you are going to ask for any kind of variance, the neighbors will get involved. Good luck and thank you for investing in Boston

Hi Colleen,

Is there an existing curb cut to the empty lot? If not, it might not be legal to park there. It’s also nearly impossible to get a new curb cut approved as you are taking away from street parking. If there is a curb cut, then I’m not sure what’s to stop you from parking on your own property… There are ordinances for renting out parking, but I’m not familiar enough with your situation and neighborhood.

Oh Parking is a huuuge issue in Charlestown and so is green space, so get your full ammo ready..So, maybe if you have enough space in this lot to lease some parking spots to your future neighbors may be they'll approve it. Good luck 

That definitely does sound questionable. Sounds like you are in all kinds of gray areas. 

I would start by speaking with someone in inspectional services (ISD). In the olden days you could go to 1010 Mass Ave. and speak to someone in person. They aren't always helpful for zoning related info because they're afraid of misrepresenting and getting in trouble, but for something like this it's definitely the best starting point.

Hi Colleen - even if the plot is zoned for a 3 family and the land use is "as of right" I'm pretty sure you'd need approval from the BPDA to build. At some point a community meeting would take place in this review process. http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-review

Hey Coleen!
I'm local in Charlestown and I believe I know right where that lot is (as there are so few of them). I helped sell a home on the street last year and spoke with the neighbors who are set on keeping that lot a garden. In fact, they were considering pooling their money and purchasing it for the street to share somehow... It's very difficult to get new construction in Charlestown, especially outside of the Navy Yard, but it does happen! I'd speak to a real estate attorney and see what the steps are, a timeframe, and the probability of it succeeding.