The recently announced "agreement" between the City and Stevens regarding the Babbio Center and the companion parking garage is, to say the least, very disappointing. This is the second such "agreement" and serves no purpose other than vindicating the errors committed by both the City and Stevens.
The property excavation and garage foundation was permitted by the Zoning Officer's mistaken judgment. After the enormity of this error became clear to the public, the Zoning Officer finally reversed his decision and issued a stop work order around Christmas. Stevens, apparently driven by the advice of the garage's engineer who also sits on the Stevens Board thought it cheapest and fastest to build the garage and Babbio Center at the same time, despite not having sought permits for this work.
This led to the February Zoning Board hearing that pitted the in-your-face, unprofessionalism of our Zoning Officer versus the multitude of confusing remarks of Stevens engineer. To their credit, the Zoning Board asked enough questions to clarify matters, and the Zoning Board's engineer agreed that Stevens had built a garage, not only a foundation. If the Zoning Officer hadn't skirted his responsibility and left the hearing, it appeared the Board would have upheld the stop work agreement and justice be served.
The City's latest "agreement" comes at the point where Stevens has already completed the garage work they intended to build in the last few weeks since this hearing got interrupted. Stevens has still not explained or produced a drawing (or based on the testimony at this recent hearing, even thought about) either how they would provide the surface parking spaces approved with the original plan or how the Sinatra Drive facade of the "foundation" will look now that the cliff (which was supposed to be the Sinatra Drive facade) has been removed.
This "agreement" renders the efforts of the Planning Board and their decision useless, while shredding the zoning process and leaving it in the hands of a miscast Zoning Officer and irresponsible applicants.
I am a member of the Planning Board but the above opinions are my own.