March 14, 2023
Matthew Malloy of Ocean Street in Dorchester really, really wants to buy an electric vehicle. But he doesn't have a driveway and ISD has warned him that if he tries to run an extension cord over the sidewalk to a car parked at the curb, he'd get fined.
Malloy found relief Tuesday at a hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeal, which unanimously gave him permission to build a sort of mini-driveway up his front yard so he could pull in whichever EV he buys and plug it into the Level 2 charger he will also buy.
Malloy, CEO of the Dorchester Brewing Co., needed a variance because city zoning normally forbids parking spaces in front yards.
He said he tried to convince his neighbor to build a shared driveway - he even offered her the equivalent of $17,000 - but she just wasn't amped up about the idea and refused him. Driving 1.7 miles to the nearest public charging station, and then waiting in line to charge up wasn't practical, he said.
Shockingly, he said, Boston is not keeping current with some neighboring communities and has no answers for homeowners in a situation like his, even as City Hall is pushing for electrification of pretty much everything.
His plans, which called for a mini-driveway just large enough to pull his car in and plug it in, got no resistance from the local neighborhood association; in fact, it sent in a letter of support. Councilors Brian Worrell, Frank Baker, Erin Murphy and Michael Flaherty also supported the idea.
And, Malloy said, he's so committed to the idea of an electric vehicle, he would agree to remove the small driveway and curb cut if he ever went back to a gas vehicle.
The board approved his request for a variance unanimously - with a proviso the space only be used for an EV.
Board member Katie Whewell said she was very sympathetic. "It's something I'd think the city would want to encourage electric vehicles."
Malloy did not specify what sort of EV he's thinking about.