Friday, March 23, 2018

Boston City Council Looks At Short Term Rentals, Liquor Licenses, Greenway BID, Sewers & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their March 7, March 14, and March 21, 2018 meetings:

Short-term Residential Rentals: Mayor Walsh filed a letter withdrawing his proposed ordinance on short-term rentals.Whenever the Mayor files an ordinance, the Council has 60 days to amend, reject, or reject without prejudice, or the language automatically takes effect; that 60 days ran out today. On Monday the Council’s Committee on Government Operations held a working session following our hearing earlier in the month. At that working session, Councilor Edwards and I proposed an amendment to the ordinance that would eliminate the Investor Unit category, create an Owner-Adjacent Unit category that would allow owner-occupants of a 2-family or 3-family home to use one of their extra units for short-term rentals, and an exemption for furnished corporate or institutional stays of ten consecutive nights or more. This would close the loophole on unlimited corporate units, which even with a 90-day cap, could result in tenants being pushed out for short-term rentals. Here’s a summary of the short-term rentals legislative action at the City and the State. We will work quickly to finalize legislation in the next few weeks.

Community Obligations for As-of-Right Projects: Councilor Campbell called for a hearing to discuss the review process for as-of-right zoning projects, particularly with regards to previously rejected applicants. She would also like to explore the tools and ordinances the City and Council may adopt to ensure these projects align with a community’s vision for its residents. Councilor Campbell brought an example of the Popeyes restaurant on Washington Street in Codman Square. The Popeyes restaurant was denied a Conditional Use permit in October 2016 due to community disapproval, but then the applicant re-filed for and was granted an Allowed Use Restaurant permit. Members of the Codman Square community were not informed of the subsequent application and its approval. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Home Rule Petition for Additional Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages: Councilor Pressley refiled a home-rule petition for a Special Law to authorize additional non-transferable liquor licenses in Boston: 5 citywide all-alcohol licenses, 5 citywide beer & wine licenses, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine for each of Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine licenses for Main Streets Districts, and 1 all-alcohol license each for the Lawn on D at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston Center for the Arts, and the Bruce C. Bolling Building. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program: Councilor McCarthy as Chair of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice committee and Council President Campbell reported back on the hearing held on Monday, March 12th. At the hearing, Commissioner Evans and the Boston Police Department summarized the preliminary study results of the BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot, during which officers wore cameras for one year, starting in September 2017 and following policies drafted with input  from the Social Justice Task Force. 200 videos were collected, and BPD saw a reduction in the number of civilian complaints and the number of excessive force complaints during the time of the study. In 2011, there were 80 complaints of excessive force and in 2017, there were only 21 complaints. The final results will be available in May. The matter remains in committee for further work. 

Public and Private Sewer Lines and Alleys: Councilor Flynn and I called for working sessions to discuss private alleys and private sewer lines, as well as potential solutions for streamlining and alleviating maintenance burdens on property owners abutting private infrastructure. Some Boston neighborhoods have private alleys that abut commercial and residential properties, where owners of these properties are responsible for the maintenance of the alleys. However, many of these alleys were designated as either private or public as early as the 1850s, and property owners abutting private alleys are often unaware of the ownership status of the alleys, as well as their upkeep responsibilities. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) oversees the City’s public water infrastructure and has an agency policy called the Betterment Program whereby residents of abutting private sewers can petition for their sewer lines to be accepted into the public system through a cost-sharing arrangement, but the requirements to make use of the Betterment Program often do not match the situation of neighbors who need it. Councilor O’Malley also stated that some homes in West Roxbury are still connected to septic tanks and would benefit from a discussion of public and private water infrastructure as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans & Military Affairs.

Greenway Business Improvement District (BID): At last week’s Council meeting, we received a petition to establish a Greenway BID, a special assessment district allowed by state law in which property owners vote to initiate, manage and finance supplemental services or enhancements above and beyond the baseline of services already provided by their local governments. State law requires that the Council hold a hearing within 60 days of receiving the petition and after certifying signatures on the petition and then giving 30 days’ of notice of the hearing to abutters. The process requires signatures representing at least 51% of assessed valuation of all real property within the proposed BID and at least 60% of property owners; the BID application included signatures from 89% and 82% respectively. Today we voted to authorize the first step in the process, directing the City Clerk to certify signatures on the petition. This would be the second BID in Boston, after the Downtown Boston BID. City Council approval is required by Chapter 40-O of the Massachusetts General Laws to designate a BID, because all abutters would be subject to the assessment once approved for the five-year term. Stay tuned for the hearing to be scheduled in April. Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted.)

Watch Live Monday, 3/26 at 11:00am: Hearing re: flooding in the City of Boston (Planning, Development & Transportation) at Iannella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall. Monday, 3/26 at 2:00pm: Hearing re: Ordinance increasing access to voter registration (Government Operations) at Iannella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall. For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

City Council Hearing On Flooding Scheduled

The Boston City Council Committee of Planning, Development and Transportation will be holding a hearing to discuss flooding and legislative funding on:

Monday, March 26
11 am
Boston City Hall
Ianella Chamber 
5th Floor

Members of the public are cordially invited to attend and testify.  If you have not testified at a Council hearing before, please arrive (5) minutes before the call of the hearing to sign up and become familiar with the hearing format, testimony locations, and sound system. Please bring fifteen (15) copies of any written documentation you wish to present at the hearing. If you know of others who may be interested in this hearing, kindly notify them. Written comments may be made part of the record and available to all Councilors by sending them by email, fax or mail to arrive before the hearing, please see details at the end.

Docket 291 is sponsored by Councilor Michelle Wu and is as follows:

The City of Boston is extremely vulnerable to flooding from multiple sources: coastal flooding, as rising sea levels meet more intense weather patterns; riverine flooding, as the Charles River, Neponset River, Mother Brook and others swell with more intense rain events; and stormwater flooding, as the city's drainage system struggles to absorb and manage runoff; and

On January 5, 2018, Boston experienced a record-breaking flood as the high tide reached its highest level since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1921, which not only beat the record set during the Blizzard of 1978 but also occurred much more suddenly, over a single tidal cycle. During this storm, severe flooding restricted access and caused damage to roads, public transportation, and many buildings; and

The City of Boston's Climate Ready Boston initiative released a vulnerability assessment in 2016 estimating that sea levels could rise 10 feet by the end of the century and 37 feet by 2200, nearly double the previous predictions, with East Coast communities bearing a disproportionate impact from accelerating melt of the ice sheets covering Antarctica; and

The City of Boston has also published a Coastal Resilience plan for East Boston and Charlestown, including proposed defenses that would cost $200 million in East Boston and $62 million in Charlestown, and similar studies are being completed for South Boston, Fort Point, and the Seaport; and

Funding for additional major infrastructure projects will be needed to adapt and protect the city from increasingly frequent flooding, including the potential for a major seawall in Boston Harbor, reconstruction of roadways, and renovation of many homes where residents cannot afford the entire cost of adaptation; NOW

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the appropriate committee of the Boston City Council hold a hearing to discuss flooding in the City of Boston and the legislative, funding, and governance structures needed for the city and residents to adapt, and that representatives from the Boston Planning and Development Agency, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Energy, Environment, and Open Space Cabinet, other interested parties, and the public be invited to testify.
The hearing will be broadcast: Live on Comcast Channel 8/RCN 82/Verizon 1964 and streamed on

Committee Liaison: Juan LopezMail Address: Boston City Council, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA  02201Telephone Number: (617) 635-3041 Fax Number: (617) 635-4203  E-mail: -

Fort Point Neighborhood March Gathering: Hitting the Streets

Join the Fort Point Neighborhood Association
A Fort Point/Seaport Neighborhood Gathering 

Tuesday, March 27
6 pm sharp

Capital One Café
57 Seaport Blvd

Chris Osgood
City of Boston Chief of Streets, Transportation & Sanitation 
(Transportation & Public Works Departments)
Performance Parking Pilot Results
Summer Street Improvements /Crossroads Project 
& Neighborhood Discussion

Tatte Bakery & Café 
requesting a Common Victualler license


Pink Taco
 requesting a liquor license

with an update by
Mayhew Wine Shop

*** light appetizers and refreshments by Hopsters ***

Special thanks to Capital One Café  for hosting. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Power Of Words: Pangyrus & The Fort Point Theatre Channel

Fort Point Theatre Channel presents Pangyrus Litmag, readings from a community of creative individuals and organizations dedicated to arts, ideas and making culture thrive. On Thursday, March 22nd they step from behind the curtain to read their own works. Come hear Anne Bernays, Fiction Editor; Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, Poetry Editor; Cynthia Bargar, Managing Editor; Greg Harris, Editor; Yahya Chaudry, Social Media Director and Chris Hartman, Reviews Editor of Pangyrus.

Thursday, March 22, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Art Under The Stairs
Midway Artist Studios
15 Channel Center Street
free admission and light refreshments

Friday, March 16, 2018

Lots Going On Around The Neighborhoood

From art to seasaws to Dorchester Heights to wearing green and not turning green, there is a lot going on this weekend.

The South Boston Arts Association is hosting an Irish Open House tonight, March 16th from 5 pm - 8 pm at their gallery, Art Around The Corner. Purchase paintings of Ireland and South Boston from local artists including Fort Point artist Karen McFeaters. Light refreshments will be served. Art Around the Corner Gallery is located at 317 E Street (behind Neatly Nested).

If you live in the neighborhood, you most likely know March 17th is St. Patrick's Day and the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade is Sunday. If you are new, you may not be as familiar with South Boston's historic ties to Evacuation Day. In 1776 Col. Henry Knox moved 50 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights much to the surprise and dismay of the British who later evacuated 3,000 men and ships from Boston on March 17, 1776. The South Boston Citizen’s Association invites you to the annual Evacuation Day Memorial Mass celebrated by Father Joe White on Saturday, March 17th at 9 am at St. Augustine’s Chapel located at 181 Dorchester St., and the annual Historical Exercises to celebrate Evacuation Day at 10 am at the Dorchester Heights Monument. Watch the 2017 Evacuation Day Promo.

Closer to home it's a St. Patrick's Day Celebration at the Seasaws at Seaport Common from 11 am - 4 pm on March 17th. Enjoy food, live Irish music and local craft beers for the over 21 crowd. There will be family friendly lawn games, a chance to win prizes and of course, no visit would be complete without hopping on a seasaw. Seaport Common is located at 85 Northern Avenue.

In addition to shamrocks, there are flowers galore at the Boston Flower & Garden Show this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Now about this Sunday's March 18th St. Patrick's Day Parade at 1 pm, we suggest you check out Caught In Southie's ultimate guide for all the details on where to watch, public bathrooms and general tips by seasoned parade watchers. View the parade route. If you wish to avoid the crowds, NECN will stream live and on air the parade starting at 12:30 pm. Coverage for St. Patrick's Day breakfast hosted by Congressman Stephen Lynch and Councilor-At-Large Michael Flaherty begins at 10 am. Remember bars throughout the neighborhood will close at 6 pm on Sunday.

The Fort Point Arts Community presents Misremembered, a group  exhibition examining the ever-changing emotional resonance of past events and how they can transform our perceptions of memory as we mature. The FPAC Gallery show runs  now through April 12, 2018. An artists talk takes place this Sunday, March 18th at 1 pm. The event will incorporate working with the public to create a site-specific installation of accordion books that bridge the gap between two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. The opening reception of Misrememebered is Friday March 23d from 6 pm - 8 pm. Come see the artists intertwine displays of glass sculpture (Katie Dye), prints (Amanda Kidd Schall), and photographs (Brittany Severance) creating an experience similar to the process of making memories. The FPAC Gallery is located at 300 Summer Street.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Winter Storm Warning: Snow Emergency, Parking Ban & Boston Public Schools Closed

updated 3/14/18 at 1:50pm: Snow emergency and parking ban will be lifted at 5pm. You have until 7pm to move your car from a discounted garage or pay full price. 

updated 3/13/18 at 5:30pm: Boston Publics schools will be closed tomorrow. There is still a snow emergency and parking ban in the City.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning. Total snow accumulation of 12 to 18 inches is expected. Boston Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13. A snow emergency and parking ban go into effect in Boston beginning at 7 PM tonight (March 12).

You may begin parking at participating lots and garages two hours before a declared snow emergency. You must remove your vehicle within two hours of the City lifting the emergency ban. If you don't remove your vehicle in time, you will subject to the standard parking rate.

Some garages only allow residents from certain Boston neighborhoods to park. Other garages allow all Boston residents to park. Please check the "fee and information" section for each garage below to make sure you qualify for the discount.

South Boston Discounted Garages & Lots

Boston Convention Center
415 Summer Street

No Charge. The discount is only for South Boston residents. You'll need to provide proof of your residency. After the parking ban is lifted, you have two hours to remove your vehicle. If you don't, your car will be towed at your expense.

Channel Center Garage
116 West First Street

$10 for each 24-hour period. Please bring a valid driver’s license with a City of Boston address to the garage office.

12 Drydock Avenue

$1 for each night. The discount is only for South Boston residents. You need to have a South Boston resident sticker on your vehicle. The garage only allows snow emergency parking on the fourth floor.

Municipal Lot #018
450 West Broadway
No Charge

Municipal Lot #021
650-652 East Broadway

No Charge

Space Saver Etiquette
Did you use a trash can, cone, or some other object to save your parking space on the street? Here's what you need to know:

·        You can only use a space saver when the City declares a snow emergency.

·        You have 48 hours to use a space saver after we end an emergency. After that, you must remove it from the street.

For more information on restricted streets, clearing snow and winter storm tips, visit

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Calling All Gardeners: Community Gardens Lottery

updated 3.4.18: If you missed us last Sunday, you have another chance this Sunday, March 11th at 10 am to enter the A Street Park Community Gardens Lottery.

A Street Park
Community Gardens Lottery

Sunday, March 11th
 10 am

Garden Plots

Medallion Ave Extension in front of Channel Center Garage
in case of inclement weather, meet at Midway Artist Studios, 15 Channel Center St (one block from A Street Park)

A Street Park is a City of Boston Park bordered by Richards and W. 1st Streets featuring 8 garden plots, tot playground, dog park, half basketball court and flexible field.

Names will be drawn for five open garden plots plus an additional 8 names for the waiting list. If you are unable to attend, you may send a proxy. Please complete Proxy form and email it to FPNA by March 10th at 5pm. Proxy may be involved in plot selection.
Garden plots are for a 3 year term to allow more people the opportunity to gardenView Community Garden Lottery Terms.

If you are designated a plot, you must be prepared to start planting your garden this spring.

Any questions, please contact FPNA.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Fort Point Landmarks March 2018 Meeting


Thursday, March 8, 2018
6:00 PM
Boston City Hall - Piemonte Room (5th Floor)
After 5:30 pm, enter and exit City Hall at the Dock Square entrance on Congress Street 
(across from Faneuil Hall).

Subject of the hearing will be applications for Certificates of Design Approval on the agenda below, review of architectural violations and such business as may come before the commission, in accordance with Ch. 772 of the Acts of 1975, as amended.from Faneuil Hall).


18.841 FPC 253 Summer Street
Applicant: Christopher Jamison, COJE Management Group
Proposed Work: Continued review of application heard on 2/6/18 to review patio proposal, updates to lighting; patio furniture; and bar tile finishes.

Applicant: Emily O’Neil, Fort Point Arts Community
Proposed Work: Continued review of application heard on 12/17/17 regarding the installation of art wall on Farnsworth St. façade.

18.689 FPC 25 Thomson Place
Applicant: Mark Blair, VP bartaco Design
Proposed Work: At side façade install outdoor dining patio and corresponding signage.

II. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW/APPROVAL: In order to expedite the review process, the commission has delegated the approval of certain work items, such as those involving ordinary maintenance and repair, restoration or replacement, or which otherwise have a minimal impact on a building’s appearance, to commission staff pending ratification at its monthly public hearing. Having been identified as meeting these eligibility criteria and all applicable guidelines, the following applications will be approved at this hearing:

18.897 FPC 332 Congress Street
Applicant: P.J. Spillane Company Inc.
Proposed Work: At front façade, repair brick spandrels, replace deteriorated steel channel headers, repoint brick and replace the sealant joints.

David Berarducci, Susan Goganian, John Karoff, Lynn Smiledge, Vacancy, Alternates: Thomas Rodde, Vacancy

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Climate Ready South Boston Plan Update & Community Open House

Join the City of Boston for a Climate Ready South Boston Plan Update To Reduce Risk of Neighborhood Flooding & Second Community Open House on:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
6 pm - 8 pm*
Boston Children's Museum
308 Congress St
5th floor conference room

*Presentation starts at 6:15 pm followed by Open House. It is recommended you attend the presentation and allow 30 minutes for the Open House. 

Over 200 people have already signed up. R.S.V.P today.

Climate resiliency planning is happening in Boston’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. The recent storms of March 3d, March 2nd and January 4th and subsequent flooding in Fort Point and the Seaport vividly demonstrate our vulnerability. Your participation will help inform the City's ongoing efforts to develop climate resilient solutions that will improve our neighborhood.

originally published 2/22/18

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced preparations underway ahead of the anticipated coastal storm and flooding that is expected to begin on Friday. As part of this storm, three high tides are expected to occur in Boston on 

High Tides
Friday, March 2,2018  at 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. 
Saturday, March 3. 2018 at 12:05 p.m.

Along with heavy rain and sustained winds of 20-40 miles per hour (MPH) with gusts up to 65 MPH.

I encourage all residents to be mindful of the storm and encourage employers to take the weather into consideration, which will mostly impact the coastal areas of our city," said Mayor Walsh. "As we saw with the coastal flooding in the Seaport in January, there is a need to proactively plan for our changing climate, which is why we're integrating climate resilience into all aspects of city planning moving forward, beginning with a Climate Ready project in South Boston."

Fort Point/ Seaport Neighbors: The Channelside (aka Gillette) Parking Lot will be closed Friday, March 2nd due to flooding of the Fort Point Channel. Please find alternative parking for any cars parked in areas prone to flooding. Read Flood Protection Tips.

Below are the various watches that are in place for Friday through Saturday:
  • Coastal Flood Watch in effect from Friday 9 a.m. until Saturday 2 p.m.;
  • Areal Flood Watch in effect Friday 7 a.m. until Saturday 7 a.m.;
  • High Wind Warning in effect from Friday 10 a.m. until Saturday 10 a.m.

The City will continue to monitor the storm throughout its duration. In preparation for the storm, Boston is taking the following proactive steps:
  • Boston Water & Sewer Commission (BWSC) is cleaning out low-lying areas of debris that could clog catch basins and restrict the flow of water through underground systems.
  • Boston Police Department (BPD) is prepared to institute barriers in areas that will be most affected by flooding, and redirect traffic as needed.
  • Public Works Department (PWD) will have loaders available to remove debris.
  • Several city departments, including BWSC, BPD, EMS and 311 will have extra support available to assist.
The City encourages residents to be aware of the upcoming weather, and understand their risk of flooding by looking at the latest FEMA flood maps:

The City is currently pursuing a Climate Ready project in South Boston that is analyzing the current and future flood risks to the neighborhood, with the input and feedback from residents, businesses, landowners and developers. Next week the City is hosting a community open house to share conceptual designs of flooding solutions. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 6 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Children's Museum. More event details & R.S.V.P.

About Climate Ready Boston
Climate Ready Boston is the City's initiative to develop resilient solutions to prepare Boston for rising sea levels, extreme heat and increased weather events. Climate Ready Boston is aligned with Imagine Boston 2030, Go Boston 2030, Resilient Boston, and other planning initiatives to ensure that climate adaptation supports the Mayor's goals for economic growth and social equity across the city.

Climate Ready Boston is led by the City of Boston in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission and with support from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Barr Foundation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Difficult. Who Me?

The Gallery at 249 A presents Difficult Women, a group show of eight women artists considering "What does it mean to be labeled difficult?" 

Visit this intriguing show through March 30, 2018. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 1 from 5:30 pm to 8 pm with special events throughout the month.

Through a variety of media, the artists present work about women chafing at traditional roles or re-defining them, often taking risks or facing obstacles in the process. As apt today with women speaking out on social, cultural and political concerns as it was for the suffragists in their fight to gain women the right to vote. 

Exhibiting artists are: Laura Davidson, Joanne Kaliontzis, Lisa Knox, Amy MacDonald, Mary McCarthy, Maria Molteni , Shirley Veenema, Denise Wallace-Spriggs.

For special Difficult Women exhibition events and hours visit the Gallery At 249 A. The gallery is an evolving project of the 249 A Street Cooperative, one of Massachusetts’s first limited-equity live/work cooperative for artists. The gallery is located at 249 A Street in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Grants Available

The Fort Point Channel Operations Board, comprising representatives from the Boston Planning & Development Agency (for the City of Boston), Boston Properties (representing the Fort Point Channel Abutters Group), and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (representing the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs), announced Monday that approximately $40,000 in grant monies for the 2018 Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Grant Program for the purposes of advancing the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan. The Grant Program provides financial resources for capital improvements and public programming within and along the Fort Point Channel. 

  • Capital Improvements - Projects that include the construction of new water-based infrastructure that further implements the City of Boston’s Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan.
  • Public Programming - Projects that include the development of new public programming that activate the Fort Point Channel including, but not limited to, public events, new public art installations, and public education installations.
Funding for the Grant Program is from the Chapter 91 Waterways Regulations License #11419 for Russia Wharf. The funds are held in escrow by the FPCOB.

Additional details on the application, qualified projects and eligibility is available hereContracts are expected to be awarded by March 31, 2018. Projects must be completed by June 1, 2019 and reimbursement requested by June 15, 2019.

The deadline for proposals is 12 noon on Friday, March 2, 2018 to Richard McGuinness, Deputy Director for Climate Change & Environmental Planning, BPDA.

Questions or concerns may be directed to Erikk Hokenson, Waterfront Planner, BPDA.

originally published 2.7.18