BHCA Community Corner

Looking with compassion for a solution to homelessness

Beacon Hillers interested in learning more about individuals struggling with homelessness and what services are provided to them are encouraged to join the BHCA’s Cambridge Street Quality of Life Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 1, at 6:30 pm at 74 Joy Street.

At the meeting several new initiatives by committee members will be discussed, according to Chris Donnelly, chair. Kathy Judge, for example, has arranged for committee members to serve a meal in the men’s dining room at the Pine Street Inn on Saturday, May 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Eight volunteers are needed.

BHCA Safety Committee Chair Paula O’Keeffe plans to sponsor a second Forum on Homelessness that will focus on helping such individuals find the services they need. In addition, she has contacted Karen Lafazia of the St Francis House, who welcomes neighbors to visit the state’s largest day shelter there. No dates have yet been selected for these events.

In March committee members MJ Kennedy, Rachel Thurlow and Maura Smith will meet with Dr. Jim O’Connell, the Director of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless [] to learn more about ways to help the homeless and to invite him to speak to Beacon Hill residents about the care his own organization offers.

Smith also plans to schedule a press conference at the Cambridge Street Fire House to thank the team there for assisting our homeless neighbors when they are in need of a medical response.

The Cambridge Street Quality of Life Committee, which is a subcommittee of the BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee, was formed last fall in response to residents’ concerns about the increase of intoxicated individuals loitering and littering on their properties and Cambridge Street. Neighbors interested in joining the Committee or attending any of its outreach programs are encouraged to do so by emailing the BHCA office at [email protected].


BHCA submits additional information to the Court

The BHCA strongly supports accessibility improvements to pedestrian intersection ramps in the neighborhood and sees no conflict between the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the historic district law. At a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court on February 14, it argued its case that the City of Boston must submit ADA-compliant ramp designs using historically appropriate materials for review by the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission.

In response to a request by the judge during the hearing, the BHCA submitted additional information to the Court this week documenting three prior instances when the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission has reviewed City plans for work affecting the streetscape and required the City to use historically appropriate designs.  Accessibility is and will continue to be an important issue on Beacon Hill, and the BHCA remains eager to work with the City to find mutually-agreeable solutions for improved accessibility that can be implemented in a timely fashion.


Zoning and Licensing Committee to hear 73 Mt. Vernon proposal

A proposal to add to the existing living space at 73 Mt Vernon Street will be heard by the Zoning and Licensing Committee of the Beacon Hill Civic Association on Wednesday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at 74 Joy Street.

The proposed additions of living space by converting basement utility and storage space and adding an extension atop the existing two-story ell require variances from the Boston Zoning Code because the building already exceeds the maximum floor area ratio (FAR). Variances are also needed to allow extensions into the required rear yard and side yard setbacks. The plans show new roof decks on the top (fifth floor) of the main building and on top of the ell.

The brick row house building is located on the north side of Mt. Vernon Street above Louisburg Square. It has a large front yard on Mt. Vernon Street and backs on Public Alley #303, a public way. The building is listed with the City as an 11-unit apartment building but has most recently been used as a nine-unit apartment. The owner/applicant is performing a gut rehab and proposes to convert it to a 4-unit condominium property.

Project plans and related documentation are posted on the BHCA website The applicant and architect will appear to explain the details of the project and the grounds for zoning relief and to respond to questions. They have asked that the Committee not oppose the relief.

All Zoning and Licensing Committee meetings are open to the public.  Residents with questions or comments regarding the matter to be heard are encouraged to attend. Those unable to attend who would like to express an opinion may call (617.227.1922), write (74 Joy Street, Boston, MA 02114) or send an email to the BHCA office ([email protected]) prior to the meeting.


Get involved

Beacon Hill Civic Association committees and special events comprise volunteers working together from all over the neighborhood to assure a good quality of life here. All residents are welcome to jump aboard.



Wednesday, March 1:

Zoning & Licensing Committee Meeting. 7:30 p.m., 74 Joy Street

Friday, March 3:

Membership & Events Committee Meeting. 8:00 a.m., 74 Joy Street

Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website and/or call the office (617-227-1922) for more information on how to get involved.

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