Beacon Hill Civic Association Community Corner

Beacon Hill Civic Association Committees

Every spring, the Beacon Hill Civic Association publishes its Annual Report covering committee accomplishments during the past year. We’ll be sharing the committees’ reports here over the next weeks.

Zoning & Licensing Committee

The 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 2019 through April 2020, the ZLC reviewed a total 8 proposals, consisting of 4 residential and 4 commercial proposals.  Some of the proposals required more than one type of zoning relief or licensing approval.  This was a much less active year than last year when the total number of proposals was more than double that.  During 2019 – 2020, the most frequently requested residential relief was for excessive Floor Area Ratio (“FAR”) (3 requests) and/or for insufficient rear or side yard setback (3 requests).  On the commercial side there were 2 requests for transfer of liquor licenses, 1 request for a conditional-use permit on Cambridge Street, and 1 proposal that involved a combination of excess FAR, insufficient rear yard setback, and Forbidden Use. 

Upcoming BHCA meetings:

Architecture Committee: Monday, July 13th, 5pm Board of Directors: Monday, July 13th, 7pm Email the BHCA office at [email protected] for details on these virtual meetings.

BHCA Masks.

Our BHCA masks shown here are available to members and neighbors for a donation of $10 each. Email [email protected] for details.

Join us!

If you haven’t yet become a member of the BHCA, we invite you to join online at  Your input in quality of life issues on the Hill is important to us, and we rely on you our neighbors to bring your comments and concerns to our attention. By joining our membership, you strengthen our numbers and add credibility to our purpose as advocates for Beacon Hill. Please call our office at 617-227-1922 or email the BHCA Executive Director at [email protected] with any questions, comments or concerns, or to learn more about how you can get involved in your community.

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