People who have followed this blog will remember the debacle of the city’s handling of the “conversion” of the “barn” [Some would say large shed] to a house on Murphy Lane in 2016. The real estate agent who bought the barn applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a host of variances stating in their application that they were going to save the barn and convert it to a home. To do this they needed variances for everything from set backs to required parking spaces as it would face a narrow alley. In violation of the assurances they put in their application for variances, they tore the existing structure down anyway. In a particularly controversial action the structure is much higher than the original. This was a poster child case for the abdication of responsibility by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The city halted construction, but due to gross mishandling by the ZBA, its staff person, Susan Barden, and the Building Inspector at the time, Steve Shaw, the city ended up in court and in the end had to allow the project to go forward. For details do a search on this site for Murphy Lane.
Recently, the property was listed for sale for a whopping $722,000, and among the specifications in the ad was that the property has two parking spaces. The seller successfully received a variance to allow for only one parking space. The allotted space off the ally barely accommodates one car. There is nowhere on the property for a second parking space. Here are some pictures of the property. Note how narrow the alley is if a car is parked in front of the house making it difficult for the neighbor with the red vehicle to get out of their driveway, and these pictures do not show how narrow the ally becomes when snow piles up.
So it appears that the seller is misrepresenting the property. A neighbor who has been the victim in this project complained to the city about what appears to be an improper representation. The neighbor noted that the seller has laid pea gravel in front of the house which appears to be in the city right of way.
The Mayor’s office referred the complaint to Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin. The Public Safety office includes the office of code enforcement. I emailed Peter Martin on June 21 asking about the right of the owner to advertise the property as having two parking spaces and to lay stone in front of the property. I did not receive a response so on June 26 I wrote Commissioner Martin again asking if he would respond.
The Commissioner promptly responded to my second email with the following indicating that his department was going to put “No Parking” signs up:
Re: Murphy Lane
Peter R. Martin