For the past decade Boston has experienced a development boom that can be hard to keep track of for the average resident.
Unless you attend community group meetings regularly held each month in the neighborhood it can be difficult to keep abreast of development projects in Beacon Hill until now.
This week Mayor Martin Walsh announced a new Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) project tracker that will allow residents to gather information about ongoing projects.
The new online tool that can be found at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/c019ba9a25cb4f33bb6cdd2f69b543d4/page/page_0/ fulfills the requirements set forth in Mayor Walsh’s Executive Order Relative to the Zoning Board of Appeal.
Walsh said this new tool will increase access to information related to proposed projects seeking relief from the ZBA. The tracker is designed for anyone to quickly search for a specific appeal that has been submitted to the ZBA, or to search for appeals based on criteria such as location or applicant, in order to identify the status of the appeal.
“Increasing access to the workings of municipal government is important for our residents to have access to resources about the city’s role in the development and livelihood of our residents,” said Walsh. “The Zoning Board of Appeals’ online tracker will increase our city’s transparency and our residents’ understanding of our neighborhoods.”
The Beacon Hill Times took a look at the new, easy to use ZBA Tracker Monday. The new feature allows viewers to use an interactive map of Beacon Hill or other Boston neighborhoods to view projects seeking relief or by typing in the address which provides the following additional details for each proposed project: The status of the appeal; Community process; Date and location of an appeal application; Hearing scheduled; Address of the proposed project; Status of project; Deferral date; Hearing result; Application numbers; Zoning district; Contact information; Appeal type; and Date of submission.
For example a quick search of recent hearing results in Beacon Hill showed one project that was recently approved by the ZBA.
The project at 112 Myrtle St. was approved last month. The ZBA ruled in favor of confirming the occupancy of the building as a 10-unit residential apartment. The project also calls for a full gut rehab of the interior of the building–including new plumbing, electrical mechanical Installation, and a new fire alarm sprinkler system with a dedicated water line. Exterior work includes building of a roof deck, replacing windows, as well as repointing and restoring exterior brick
The tracker also shows a ZBA hearing has been set for the project at 47 to 149 Charles St.
Here the proponent is seeking to change occupancy from a restaurant and bar to nine residential units. The plan also calls for building a rear addition and renovating the interior and exterior.
“This newly developed tool will further Mayor Walsh’s commitment to increase transparency to department processes and community development,” said Inspectional Services Commissioner Dion Irish. “ISD will continue to create digital tools that will provide real time information related to permits.” All permits issued after January 1, 2021 will display a QR Code which will allow passersby to access detailed information of the property in question on their smartphone.