Roof decks don’t compensate for ruined neighborhood

I was stunned to see a real estate ad posing as an article in the April 13 edition of The Chestnut Hill Local.  The article touted the wonders of new construction in the 100 block of Gravers Lane, with the writer particularly enamored of the building’s roof deck.

As someone who lives next door to this new construction, I’m considerably less enamored.  These monstrous buildings are far out of proportion to anything else in the neighborhood – dominating this block and the surrounding blocks.  They literally tower over the twins next door (one of which is mine).

To build these nightmare houses, around 40-50 trees were cut down in a single awful day, including several huge old oaks (one of which is still depicted in the sales sketch – nope, you guys cut that down). Not only did we lose the kind of beautiful green space that makes Chestnut Hill what it is, we also lost a valuable watershed space (Gravers Lane is prone to flooding) and wildlife habitat. I used to have toads and chipmunks in my back yard. Not anymore.

And then there’s the noise.  Months of constant noise, five and sometimes six days a week, starting with the generator that gets turned on between 7 and 8 a.m., and moving on to the giant earth movers, compressors, diggers and nonstop hammering.  The week of jack hammering up our (newly paved) street to accommodate the plumbing and water pipes was particularly delightful.

In short, this beautiful block has been permanently ruined by these giant houses, completely out of proportion to everything else around them in both size and price.  We’ve lost valuable green space, peace and privacy.  My back yard, which used to be overlooked by a canopy of trees, is now overlooked by three towering stories, 15 additional windows, two balconies, and, yes, that roof deck.

I’m sure the view from the deck is quite good.  But your readers would have been better served by an article that tells them how they can prevent a similar catastrophe from occurring on their own blocks, instead of offering free ad space to developers who destroy our neighborhoods to make a few bucks.

Cheryl Donahue
Chestnut Hill

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