BHCA Zoning and Licensing Votes Not to Oppose Local Bistro Proposal

Following the applicant’s fourth appearance before the group, the Beacon Hill Civic Association Zoning and Licensing Committee voted Wednesday not to oppose the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s plans to update the dining concept and reconfigure its ground-floor restaurant and reception areas, with some provisos.

Boston’s Saunders Hotel Group, the owners of the 25 Charles St. establishment, is seeking to amend the existing liquor license in connection with the restaurant, which could accommodate up to 72-seated patrons, including an oyster bar with 15 bar seats. The project also includes plans to realign the windows facing Charles Street with other, adjacent storefronts, and to relocate the façade onto Branch Street in an effort to better illuminate the alleyway at night.

In response to ongoing issues regarding the use of the third-floor roof-deck, Dan Donahue, president of the Saunders Hotel Group, said the Bistro’s management has proposed to direct abutters opening the roof-deck for eight public events during the summer months, with a capacity of 30 and a closing time of 9 p.m. At all other times, the roof-deck would be open to hotel guests only and close at 10 p.m., he said, per the current terms of the liquor license.

Donahue said the Bistro also planned to extend a 4½-foot  “high shelf” on the roof-deck facing Charles Street to create “a shield for noise and privacy.”

The committee’s vote of non-opposition to change the bar seating from 8 to 15, with no standing allowed, is subject to the applicant reaching an agreement with the direct abutters represented by attorney Sandra Steele concerning use of the roof-deck. In another matter, the committee voted not to oppose the zoning relief necessary for the homeowner of 40 West Cedar St. to replace a second-story deck as part of a plan to replace the decks on each level of the three-family home.

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