BHAC Approves Ratification of Unapproved Security Gate at 11 Garden St.

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission approved by a vote of 2-1, with one abstention, to ratify the unapproved installation of a security gate at the garden level of 11 Irving St. during its Nov. 18 public hearing, which took place virtually.

The homeowner, Christine Connolly, said she made an advisory presentation for the installation of a metal gate, measuring 3 feet, 1 inch wide by 3 feet tall. in December of 2020, which received unanimous support from all of the commissioners at that time.

Connolly apologized for installing the gate, which, she said, is “reversible,” without first consulting with staff and said it was there to block access to a recessed well, which has frequently been the site of open drug use, sex acts, and public defecation.

Additionally, Connolly said the only difference between what the commission had seen nearly a year ago and the gate today is its height, which has been increased to fill the entire doorway. A camera on the right-hand side of the door was installed as “a temporary solution while the gate was being approved” as well, she said.

A 77-yer-old neighbor who lives in the unit directly above Connolly said she “feels so much safer going into [her] unit knowing the gate is there.”

On an application to ratify the unapproved painting of the front door at 82 Revere St., using a high-gloss navy blue shade, the commission approved it, with the proviso that two samples, each measuring about 4-by-4 inches, be prepared on the door – one matte, the other in semi-gloss – which would then be remanded to staff for approval.

The commission voted unanimously to continue an application for 35 Pinckney St.  to replace and relocate the existing roofdeck and hatch, as well as to remove an antenna on the chimney, to allow commissioners sufficient time to view the roofdeck mock-up.

Likewise, the commission voted to continue an application for 10 Otis Place to reclad the headhouse in standing-seam aluminum panels, as well as to “rewrap” the large chimney in rubber material, to allow the applicant enough time to gather additional documentation and information  on the existing conditions, as well as on the proposed alterations.

For 77 Chestnut St., with proposed work including repainting the windows and garage door from existing green to black; repainting the currently painted masonry wall at the roofdeck; repainting the entry door green to match existing; repainting the covered entry paneling from existing beige to green to match the entry door; and replacing the entry-door hardware, accessories, light fixture, and doorbell station, the commission approved the application, with provisos that the vestibule be painted a contrasting color – white or cream – to be approved by staff; and that alternatives be sought for the door hardware, as well as for the non-historic pendant lighting fixture above the door.

In another matter, the commission unanimously approved an application for 10 Walnut St., which included removing the deteriorated bluestone sidewalk panels; and installing new granite curb and bluestone sidewalk panels, while denying the applicant’s request for three bollards on the sidewalk to prevent vehicles from pulling onto the sidewalk for the purposes of loading and unloading, as well as another request to install a granite step at the service entry. This came with a “friendly amendment” from Commissioner Alice Richmond requesting that the applicant make a mock-up of the proposed granite step so she and the other commissioners can gauge its appropriateness.

Likewise, the commission also unanimously approved an application for 59 Beacon St., to install a new handrail on the right-hand side when facing the front door, with a simple, flat design that would be curved at the end. Commissioner Martha McNamara said it would be preferable to install it in the wood surrounds, or otherwise through the mortar joints.

Meanwhile, an application for 29 Pinckney ratify an unapproved window replacement was listed on the hearing agenda, but ultimately not heard by the commission as the applicant failed to appear.

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