Beacon Hill Civic Association Community Corner

Tom Clemens, Zoning & Licensing Co-Chair, speaks at BHCA Coffee Hour

In an effort to grow membership and involvement in the community, our monthly First Friday Coffee Hours will be hosted each month by a different BHCA committee chair. Last Friday, Tom Clemens, BHCA Director and Co-Chair, explained the purpose of the Zoning & Licensing Committee (ZLC) with examples of typical and not so typical matters that pass before his group. Variances requested in zoning issues as well as licensing matters are evaluated by the committee, and then voted upon. The committee’s vote is then ratified or rejected by the BHCA Board of Directors. The final step in the process is a letter of support or opposition to the request for a variance, directed either to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeal or Licensing Board.

The mission of the Zoning & Licensing Committee is to assist property owners who desire to make changes to their properties that require variances from the Boston Zoning Code. Such owners and their representatives are asked to appear at a ZLC meeting, where they are given the opportunity to describe their projects and rationales for requesting variances and, in turn, receive input and insight from the community.

The ZLC reviews requests by local restaurants and merchants for liquor licenses in a similar manner to the review of zoning variances. It encourages the location of varied permitted business and retail uses in the designated traditional commercial locations on Charles and Cambridge streets.

The ZLC may act when it believes requested zoning or licensing changes may adversely affect all or a significant portion of the Beacon Hill community either directly or through the precedential nature of the change. It may also act where the concern is expressed solely by affected neighbors.

The ZLC’s recommendations are subsequently presented to the Beacon Hill Civic Association directors for discussion. The board in turn communicates its decision to the Zoning Board of Appeal who has the authority to determine whether a variance is granted.

The next BHCA First Friday Coffee Hour is scheduled for March 1st, from 8:00 – 9:00 am at 74 Joy Street. Next month’s speaker will be James Ewing, BHCA Director and Co-Chair of the Architecture Committee.

Upcoming BHCA Meetings

Monday, February 11: Board of Directors Meeting; 7pm at 74 Joy Street.

Other upcoming BHCA Events

Oscar Night – Sunday, February 24th at Hampshire House

BHCA Young Friends Social – Wednesday, February 27th at Harvard Gardens (7-9 pm)

Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website or call the office (617-227-1922) for more information on any of these events.

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