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.

Architecture Committee

The Beacon Hill Civic Association Architecture Committee’s mission is to help main-tain the architectural integrity of our National Historical Landmark District by re-viewing applications that have been submitted to the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission (BHAC).

The BHAC holds monthly hearings for applications for Certificates of Appropriate-ness which are submitted for exterior construction visible from a public way and re-views architectural violations to the guidelines. Ahead of each BHAC meeting, the committee reviews the applications and provides neighborhood input to the Com-mission.

The BHAC has significantly updated its active commissioners, 5 members and 3 alter-nates that are all current with two vacancies.

Because the BHAC now has the agendas, submitted plans and accompanying docu-mentation for its monthly hearings available online (https://www.boston. gov/historicdistrict/historic-beacon-hill-district.), the committee’s monthly reviews and meetings have become more interactive. The committee is able to review each application online and then visit each property in advance of their monthly meetings to examine the specifics of the application and its potential impact on the Historic Dis-trict. The Architectural Commission meets the third Thursday of each month, and the committee typically meets the Monday prior to the hearing. Our meetings are open to all residents, and we welcome potential new committee members. During its meet-ings the committee then reviews the online submitted applications and materials, dis-cusses the issues presented, prepares comments and submits them to the BHAC. One or two committee members attend the BHAC hearing at City Hall to monitor the hearing and offer our comments. This year the committee has continued to be actively involved in reviewing the applications of residents for alterations to the facades of their buildings especially their facades that are visible from a public way.

Of note, during the COVID pandemic our committee has started to use ZOOM for our meetings as has the city gone virtual with their monthly meetings.

Additionally, some of the bigger and more involved projects we worked on were: fi-nalizing the BHHB renovation plans to a point where work could be started, the con-troversial 28 Pinckney Street garage conversion, the repainting of 9 Willow Street, preliminary renovation plans at 71 Charles St (the former Hungry I), which was re-solved with a subcommittee with members of commission, senior landmarks preser-vation planner staff and a member of our committee, and the proposed and ultimately denied addition at 85 Pinckney. 

We have continued to work throughout the neighborhood to integrate the necessary 5G and similar technology and communications infrastructure within the context of an historic district, and we have attempted to assist them to find locations that are mini-mally obtrusive, both in visual impact and in proximity to residential units.

We have continued to monitor the sidewalk/access ramp projects throughout the Hill. The negotiated agreement under which the work is proceeding is as follows:

1. Installation of cast iron tactile pads in place of the plastic pads proposed. While bright when new, they will soften and ultimately blend better with the brick.

2. Use of wire cut brick to achieve smoother slopes and transitions to the pads in place of the large concrete aprons originally proposed.

3. Minimal concrete frame/setting bed around the pads.

4. Raising the street paving level to meet the new slopes. Note that the generator for the ramp project initially was the ADA requirement attached to Federal funds for re-paving the streets on the Hill, which are in deplorable condition, and now can and will happen.

BHCA Masks

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

Join us!

If you haven’t yet become a member of the BHCA, we invite you to join online at www.bhcivic.org/become-a-member.

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 advo-cates for Beacon Hill. Please call our office at 617-227-1922 or email the BHCA Execu-tive 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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