Neighborhood Preservation Committees –
Zoning and Licensing Committee
The BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee (“ZLC”) meets on the first Wednesday of each month (at 7:00 p.m. at 74 Joy Street) to hear from applicants seeking either zoning relief (variances or conditional use permits) from the Zoning Board of Appeal (“ZBA”) or new/modified common victual (“CV”) or alcoholic beverage licenses from the Boston Licensing Board (“Licensing Board”). The ZLC provides a forum for community input into such applications. Applicants for zoning relief are asked to appear at a ZLC meeting where they are given the opportunity to describe their projects and rationales for the requested relief. Local restaurants, innkeepers, and merchants are similarly invited to present their licensing requests. The ZLC notifies abutters in advance and encourages both abutters and any other interested neighbors to attend and contribute to ZLC discussions.
The ZLC takes into consideration all community input, including concerns from affected neighbors, as well as the BHCA’s overall desire to protect and improve the quality of life for Beacon Hill residents. It also considers the BHCA’s commitment to maintaining active streetscapes and supporting neighborhood-oriented retail and service businesses on Charles and Cambridge Streets which are designated by the Zoning Code as ‘Local Business’ districts. After meeting with applicants, the ZLC makes recommendations to the BHCA’s Board of Directors to either oppose or not oppose each application. The BHCA Board then conveys its positions to the ZBA or the Licensing Board so that community views are considered in the City’s zoning and licensing decisions.
From June 2018 through May 2019, the ZLC reviewed a total of 21 proposals, some of which required more than one type of requested relief. The most frequently requested residential relief continued to be for excessive Floor Area Ratio (“FAR”) (10 requests) and, to a lesser extent, for insufficient rear or side yard setback (5), excess building height (2), parking spaces/curb cuts (2), and insufficient off-street parking (1). Excess FAR requests mainly involved new or expanded roof-access head houses, penthouses, and excavated basements.
On the commercial side there were 2 requests for new/modified liquor, innholder, and/or CV licenses. There were also 3 requests for conditional-use permits on Charles and Cambridge Streets.
First Friday Coffee Hour
Last week, the BHCA First Friday Coffee Hour hosted Kenzie Bok, BHCA member and candidate for District 8 Councilor. Her family’s history on Beacon Hill provides an interesting source of inspiration for her. She is passionate about historic preservation, and maintaining space in the city for affordable housing and public schools. Other local business leaders and members attended. The BHCA will host a Candidates Forum for all the District 8 candidates for City Councilor on September 10th. The BHCA will announce the venue for this forum in the coming weeks.
Upcoming BHCA Meetings
Monday, June 17: Architecture Committee Meeting. 74 Joy Street. 5pm.
Other upcoming BHCA Events
Summer Evening at Otis House – Thursday, June 20th
Evening on the Esplanade – Wednesday, July 17th
District 8 City Councilor Candidates Forum – Tuesday, September 10th
BHCA Fall HillFest – Sunday, September 22nd
Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website bhcivic.org or call the office (617-227-1922) for further details on any of these events, and for information about joining the BHCA.