Letter to the Editor: Decision by the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission of Ratification of Signage

To the Editor:

The Acorn Street Association (Association) is gratified that the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission ratified the placement of “no trespassing” signs at the top and bottom of Acorn Street as reported by the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) in its Community Corner. [Story from 4/23 Beacon Hill Times at pages 1 and 5.]  The Association does, however, take issue with some of the comments by the BHCA.

For years, the Association has been trying to manage the amount and behavior of visitors to Acorn Street, a private way that the owners have allowed the neighbors to use freely for decades.  Since the advent of Instagram, the number of visitors has become overwhelming and their use intolerable. We have people peeking in the windows of our houses and taking interior photos with selfie sticks.  They camp out on the door steps for extended periods and leave their trash behind.  Wedding photographers set up their tripods (and sometimes changing tents)  in the middle of the street. We have had a sorority party on the street which concluded with the tossing of confetti everywhere.  A month ago someone lit off fireworks in front of a house that has three children in it, smudging the newly painted window frames.  Similar parties have occurred on the street at all hours, creating a carnival atmosphere that is noisy, dirty, and unsafe.  The worst insult to date was last week when 6-7 Harley riders roared down the street.

The Association met with the BHCA prior to the hearing before the Architectural Commission. The BHCA suggested that we install a tasteful bronze sign at one end of the street explaining to visitors the historical import of the street and that the street is residential.  Their other suggestion was that we erect a sandwich board in the street also explaining that the street is residential and asking people to be considerate.  From the years of fighting the tourists and photographers, the members of the Association (not “certain Acorn Street residents”) decided that these efforts would be an exercise in futility.

Acorn Street is a private way.  The abutters are legally and financially responsible for the management, maintenance and repair of the street.  Moreover, it is our home.  We would like to care properly for it and enjoy it — and we would like for the neighborhood to enjoy it also. Neither of these can happen if we cannot control the use of the street. For as long as anyone can remember, the abutters on Acorn Street have allowed the neighbors to walk on the street and we hope to continue to be able to do so, so long as we can limit other use of the street.  We hope that the “no trespassing” signs will help but if they don’t we will work on other solutions and hope to accommodate the neighborhood.

Sincerely,

The Acorn Street Association

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