Zoning Changes Approved

The city’s Zoning Commission voted on Wednesday to approve a zoning amendment intended to limit the number of professional offices on Charles Street and the south side of Cambridge Street at the ground- and basement-levels.

The amendment, sponsored by City Councilor Josh Zakim, designates professional offices, including banks and real-estate brokers, in those locations as “conditional use.” While it wouldn’t affect any current tenants, this additional language subjects future offices wishing to occupy the neighborhood’s busiest commercial thoroughfares to a complete community process.

“At a time when public process is being eroded on multiple fronts this is welcome news,” said Mark Kiefer, president of the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA). “We appreciate Councilor Zakim’s leadership on this amendment, and in ensuring that the voice of the community is heard in matters involving property development in our neighborhood and throughout the city.”

BHCA board member Joan Berndt applauded the Zoning Commission for recognizing the importance of creating a public process through which the community can provide input to the Board of Appeal on the appropriateness and proposed locations of new businesses in the neighborhood.

“This amendment goes a long way towards supporting our efforts to provide an attractive retail environment for the businesses that serve the community,” Berndt said.

            Keeta Gilmore, chair of the BHCA board of directors, said, “We are certainly grateful for Counselor Zakim’s leadership in championing this amendment through the zoning process and look forward to a lively business district on both Charles and the south side of Cambridge streets.”

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