BHCA Zoning Agenda

The Zoning and Licensing Committee of the Beacon Hill Civic Association will meet on Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. at 74 Joy Street. All meetings are open to the public. If you have any questions or comments regarding the matters to be heard, please attend. If you are unable to attend but would like to express an opinion, please 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. Design plans and additional information and updates on these matters are posted on the BHCA website at


ONE BEACON STREET – (Informational only) The building owner proposes significant alterations to the building requiring zoning relief. The BHCA is the nearest community association to the project and we have agreed to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of the project. See our website,, for a more complete Project Description.


37 BOWDOIN STREET – Seeking a conditional use permit under Article 86, Section 6 of the Boston Zoning Code as required for the installation of cellular antennas in the Residential District.

The applicant, Verizon Wireless, proposes to install two cellular phone antennas with associated equipment on the top of the building (this is the building in which Grotto restaurant is located, just uphill of the former St. John the Evangelist church). The refusal letter issued by ISD describes the project as follows: “Change of Occupancy to include Wireless Communication Facility: Work to include add Wireless Communication Equipment, construct two fiberglass enclosures (3’x4’x7’8” high) concealing 2 antennas, 2 remote radio heads, “RRHs” and a junction box in each of the 2 proposed fiberglass concealing boxes and 1 GPS antenna on a steel frame for 2 equipment boxes; PPC automatic switch and gas generator mounted thereon with cable trays connecting same with power/telco in basement.” Detailed materials are available on the BHCA website and will be presented and explained at the meeting.

APPLICANT’S REQUEST: Non-opposition to the requested relief.

28R PHILLIPS STREET –  Seeking variances from floor area ratio (FAR) and rear yard setback requirements of the Boston Zoning Code to add 4th floor space by raising the roof in front and back.


28R Phillips Street is a 3 ½ story, single-family brick house located within a courtyard accessed by a passageway through existing buildings on the south side of Phillips Street. According to the ISD refusal letter the purpose of the project is: “to remodel existing partially finished living space into master suite by opening the roof line on front and rear of property to gain additional ceiling height. . . .  Demo existing Gable Roof and constructing new 4th Level onto building.”

According to the plans, the owners propose to raise the front and rear pitched roof areas to create a flat roof, adding 275 s.f. of floor area an resulting in an increase in FAR from 2.0 to 2.3 which exceeds the 2.0 maximum FAR permitted as of right in the H-2-65 District. According to ISD, the proposed 4th floor expansion will increase the floor area of the building and will encrosch into the rear yard setback. Since the existing building is at the maximum FAR of 2.0 in the H-2-65 District, the project requires variances under BZC Art. 15, Sec. 1 (FAR excessive) and Art. 20, Sec. 1 (Rear Yard Requirements).

Project plans and related documents are posted on the website. The applicant and representatives will appear to explain the details of the project and the grounds for zoning relief and to respond to questions. In addition to the standard variance issues of hardship, special circumstances and precedent, concerns commonly raised when external additions and roof decks are proposed include such impacts on neighbors as loss of light, views and privacy and intrusion of noise from HVAC units and noise and light associated with penthouse/deck use.


APPLICANT’S REQUEST: Non-opposition to the requested relief.

25 CHARLES STREET (Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro) – Informational session regarding the owners’ plans to update their dining concept and reconfigure the ground floor restaurant/bar/reception areas, involving modification of the all-alcoholic beverages license to increase bar seating capacity from 8 to 22.

The owner/applicants describe the proposed changes as follows:

The new restaurant concept will feature various dining areas including banquette, non-fixed tables and a 22-seat oyster bar. Total seating is included for approximately 72 patrons. Lobby improvements to the 13- room boutique hotel include soft seating and more ample space for waiting, checking-in and congregating. The physical changes include a relocated entrance to improve the flow of both hotel and restaurant patrons, longer windows on Charles Street, and new windows wrapping the corner onto Branch Street turning an intimidating alley into a safe, friendly street; all these proposed elements to be in keeping with historic guidelines to preserve the fabric of the building and the neighborhood.

The applicant will present their plans, answer questions and solicit input in anticipation of returning in December to formally request support for a modification of their liquor license and any required zoning relief to change the floorplan to relocate the bar and to change the capacity of the bar from 8 to 22 seats.

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