Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What Will You Be Doing A Week From Today?

A week from today District 2, which includes the Fort Point and Seaport neighborhoods of South Boston, will have a new City Councilor. In order for that to happen, you must cast your vote in the Boston Municipal Election on:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
7 am - 8 pm
Condon School
200 D Street
(Off of W. Broadway behind the Laboure Center)

Also on the ballot are the mayoral candidates and candidates for the four City Councilor-At-Large seats. 

If voting by absentee ballot, you have until noon on November 6th. Visit Boston.gov for more details. Not certain of your voter registration status? Check here.

Still undecided on whether Ed Flynn or Mike Kelley will best represent the neighborhood? The neighborhood associations of South Boston hosted a District 2 Candidates Forum on October 18, 2017. Watch online their answers to our issues.

The Fort Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) encourages all neighbors to vote. We all count on our elected officials for their support of neighborhood initiatives and issues. Elected officials look at voter turn-out. If you have been to a FPNA monthly gathering, then you know elected officials have been featured speakers, often drop in and send representatives to keep abreast of what the community is saying and doing. 

originally published 10.31.17

Monday, October 30, 2017

October Fort Point Gathering: Congressman Lynch, Parking & Tacos

Join the Fort Point Neighborhood Association's
October/November Neighborhood Gathering 

Monday, October 30, 2017 
6 pm - 8 pm
Factory 63
63 Melcher St.

special guest

Congressman Stephen Lynch

USPS & Developmental Impacts
on Fort Point & Reserve Channel Communities


P&G Gillette Parking Lots 8 & 9
Alan Sheard, P&G Gillette
Ken Fields, Fort Point Associates

and introducing

sister restaurant to Barcelona Wine Bar
25 Thomson Place

*** featured restaurant: La Casa de Pedro***

Save the date December 5th for our year end neighborhood event.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Boston City Council Looks At South Boston Funding, Right To Charge & To Purchase, CPA & More

City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their October 18, 2017 meeting:

Yesterday (October 18, 2017) was Councilor Bill Linehan’s final Council meeting, as he submitted a letter of resignation and we thanked him for his combined 43 years of service to the city. Mayor Walsh joined us to present Councilor Linehan with a silver Revere Bowl, and in line with Council tradition I presented him with a crystal gavel given to outgoing Councilors who have served as Council President.

South Boston Community Funding: The Council voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s order to accept additional funding from Massport for the South Boston Foundation. This $1.5 million is pursuant to the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement, and will be paid in ten annual payments of up to $150,000. Councilor Linehan urged support of this as his final item he wanted to accomplish for his district.

Right to Charge: The Council voted unanimously to advance the right-to-charge legislation that I introduced which would codify the right of condominium and homeowners to install personal electric vehicle charging stations in or near their dedicated parking spots. In Boston, we have many multi-family homes that have been converted to condos, sometimes with just 2 or 3 condos in the association, and the governing documents require unanimous consent for any changes to the property. That means one owner could prevent another from switching to an electric vehicle by blocking installation of charging infrastructure for any reason. Given that 30% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, we want residents in any living situation to be able to switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles, and we want to set the stage for charging infrastructure now since the costs of electric vehicles are quickly becoming more affordable. Other states and jurisdictions have passed similar right-to-charge laws that prevent condo associations from being able to block homeowners from installing charging infrastructure at the owner’s expense; associations may still add reasonable conditions or restrictions on the location and other features. At last week’s hearing, representatives from the Environment department and Transportation department expressed support for the content but passed along concerns from the law department that the City would be more vulnerable to litigation by passing this in the form of an ordinance rather than a home-rule petition. Although I am generally skeptical of filing home-rule petitions since we have no control over the pace and likelihood of state approvals, I have already spoken with state colleagues who are optimistic about passage on a reasonable timeline. With passage of the home-rule petition at the Council, we begin the process of advocating on Beacon Hill. More to come!

Tenant's Right to Purchase: The Council voted to adopt Councilor Pressley’s resolution urging the State Legislature to pass H.3017, An Act to Preserve Affordable Housing Through A Local Option Tenant’s Right to Purchase. This bill would allow tenants, or a non-profit on their behalf, the opportunity to match the fair market value offered by a prospective buyer for a building with three or more units. This would provide an important tool for Boston to fight the displacement and affordable housing crises.

NOTE on Community Preservation Act: The CPA committee and working group met last week to develop the application for the CPC and the guidelines for evaluation. The approved application should be up on the City website soon. We also discussed the fact that since passing the relevant orders and ordinances, we discovered a mismatch in timeline. The original order required that nominations be finalized within 90 days of passage, instead of within 90 days of the relevant committee being formed. In order to line up those timelines and give the City Council’s CPA committee 90 days to complete their work, we will be filing an amendment to the law at next week’s meeting.

For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Final District 2 City Council Candidates Forum

Join FPNA and our sister South Boston neighborhood associations for this important community event and hear the differences between our final two Boston City Council candidates: Mike Kelley and Ed Flynn.

District 2 City Council Candidates Forum
October 18, 2017
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm (new time)
Mass Bay Credit Union
147 W 4th St (W 4th@ A Sts)
Free Parking
Handicap accessible

Free ride courtesy of Southie Shuttle
5:30 pm departure outside Barlow's Restaurant (241 A Street) 

We all have an important decision to make on November 7th. Make sure you are making an informed decision and then back it up by getting out to VOTE in the final election!

If you are unable to attend, the event will be live streamed on the South Boston Community Bulletin Board on Facebook.

Last day to register to vote is October 18th.

originally published 10.6.17

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MassDOT To Host North South Rail Link Public Meeting

The MBTA operates two largely separate commuter rail systems, divided by a one-mile gap between North and South Stations. This gap limits connectivity between rail systems to the north and south, including the MBTA and Amtrak, and has prompted interest over the years in linking the systems. A North-South Rail Link is considered to be a possible solution to alleviate traffic in the Seaport / Fort Point to/from North Station.

MassDOT is undertaking a Feasibility Reassessment for the North South Rail Link Project to update the prior work and determine if further technical and financial analysis is warranted. 

MassDOT is hosting a public meeting on: 

MassDOT – North South Rail Link Public Meeting
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Atlantic Wharf, Fort Point Room
290 Congress Street

The primary objectives of the North-South Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment are as follows:

  • Identify any significant changes to the context within which the NSRL would be implemented, such as demographic shifts, new transportation technologies and trends, and changes to the built environment.

  • Determine the major elements of the NSRL necessary to allow for an assessment of costs and benefits (two versus four tracks, whether or not to include a Central Station, the location of the north portal, as well as station and headhouse locations).

  • Identify a Right of Way envelope that could be used to inform future development plans in Boston, Cambridge, and potentially other impacted municipalities.

  • Develop an order of magnitude cost estimate, assuming the initial use of dual-mode locomotives allows the project to advance without full electrification of the commuter rail system. This cost estimate will be informed by recent experience in rail tunnel construction (both international and domestic) and industry best practices.

  • Estimate the benefits of NSRL, including ridership growth, increased system capacity, operational efficiencies, air quality improvements, and the creation of new redevelopment opportunities.
  • Friday, October 13, 2017

    It's The Weekend Art Party

    It is Friday. It is the start of the weekend. More importantly it is the weekend after Columbus Day. If you have lived or worked in Fort Point for any of the past 38 years, you know that means Fort Point Open Studios hosted by your artist neighbors and the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC). If you are new to Fort Point or never been to Open Studios, be ready to see art in the streets, in the Channel, in galleries and in artist studios. Best of all it is free until you are inspired to make that first purchase of art, of course. 

    Tonight before hitting the bars, visit select artist studios until 7 pm and don't miss the Grand Opening of The FPAC Space at the Envoy Hotel from 6 pm - 8 pm.

    Did you know Fort Point is home to three buildings dedicated to artists? 249 A Street Artist Cooperative arrived first in the mid eighties followed by The Artist Building at 300 Summer Street ten years later and Midway Artist Studios located at 15 Channel Center Street in 2005. 

    On Saturday, October 14 and Sunday October 15, 2017 from noon to 6 pm, explore over a hundred artist studios, see art demos, hear live musical performances and learn about art directly from the artist. Whether you are looking to start an art collection or add to it, buy one-of-a-kind gifts or just want to do something cool this weekend, check out the complete list of activities (for kids too), galleries and open studios in the Fort Point Fall Open Studios brochureFree parking available at the P&G Gillette lots at Binford & A Streets. 

    End your Saturday night at the Distillery Gallery's 10 year birthday celebration from 7 pm - 11 pm. The Distillery is located at 516 E 2nd Street.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    Fort Point Landmarks October 2017 Meeting

    The FORT POINT CHANNEL LANDMARK DISTRICT COMMISSION will hold a public hearing on:

    Thursday, October 12, 2017
    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).

    Design Review

    18.407 FPC 5 Necco Street
    Applicant: Peter Cavanaugh, General Electric (CE)
    Proposed Work: Design updates to previously approved rehabilitation of 5 and 6 Necco Street (formerly 5 and 6 Necco Court) including: Necco Court Bridge west elevation design updates;  Necco Court Bridge east elevation paint color; window treatment at the first two floors on Necco Court and Necco Street; level 6 design updates; exterior signage; exterior lighting; and outdoor furniture and landscape.

    18.392 FPC 300 Summer StreetApplicant: Marggie Lackner, The Artist Building at 300 Summer StreetProposed Work: Replace existing chiller at roof with new chiller on the existing steel dunnage with required supplemental steel; and install window grates on four ground floor windows on the north elevation alleyway to match adjacent window grates.
    13.391 FPC 343 Congress Street:
    Applicant: Brian Lesser, Speakeasy Group, Inc.
    Proposed Work: Replace existing metal cut-out blade sign with a neon lit painted aluminum blade sign, replace existing metal cut-out sign above the existing metal canopy with a neon lit painted aluminum sign; and replace existing door handle.
    18.390 FPC 47 Farnsworth Street:
    Applicant: Jean-Claude Tetreault, Trillium Brewing
    Proposed Work: Modify openings, construct a roof deck and bulkhead, and install signage.
    18.269 FPC 253 Summer Street:
    Applicant: Michael McGowan, Bergrneyer Associates, Inc.
    Proposed Work: Install illuminated blade sign on Summer Street; install illuminated sign at Harborwalk window sign facing the channel; and install wall-painted signage (“Lolita”) on the Harborwalk (Continued from 9/14/2017 public hearing).
    18.394 FPC 25 Thomson Place:
    Applicant: Nick Makemson
    Proposed Work: Installation of two exterior patio dining areas and installation of signage.
    Administrative Review/Approval
    18.315 FPC 311 Summer Street: Remove three sections of existing window bars from the Summer Street ground level windows.
    Review and Ratification of 9/14/2017 Public Hearing Minutes
    Discussion Item
    Amending Section 8.0 Recommendations of the Fort Point Channel Landmark District Study Report, specifically regarding commissioner nominations.
    Staff Updates
    Projected Adjournment - 9:00 pm
    David Berarducci, Susan Goganian, John Karofl Lynn Smiledge, Vacancy
    Altemates: Thomas Rodde, Vacancy

    originally published 10.2.17

    Monday, October 09, 2017

    Congressman Lynch Introduces Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017

    U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch introduced this week the Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017, which is outlined below from his October 4, 2017 press release

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Massachusetts) introduced H.R. 3938, the Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017. The Act addresses increasing community concerns about airplane noise and pollution by requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to sponsor an Expert Consensus Report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the health effects of airplanes flying over residential areas. Expert Consensus Reports produced by the National Academies examine scientific and technological issues of national importance. The bill is co-sponsored by 13 members of Congress, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Vice Chair Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Illinois).

    Federal and regional transportation authorities have received an increased number of complaints around airplane noise as new flight paths have been implemented as part of the FAA’s “Next Generation Air Transportation System.” The program – often referred to as “NextGen” – shifted flight paths in and out of airports, causing increased airplane activity over certain residential areas. In Massachusetts alone, MASSPORT received nearly 30,000 complaints about aviation-related noise from across 78 communities, including Hull, Hingham, Milton, and Boston, in the first half of 2017. That nearly doubled the number of complaints received during the same time period in 2016 and was more than four times the number received in the first half of 2015.

    “There is a clear demand from our constituents that we look into the impacts of new flight paths across the country,” said Congressman Lynch. “It is imperative that we understand and remedy any health effects caused by aircraft flying over residential areas, and the onus is on the FAA to produce this information.”

    Congressman Lynch’s Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017 would make available the best scientific information on the health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution by requiring the FAA to sponsor an Expert Consensus Report from the Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Under the bill, the National Academies would be required to convene a committee of health and environmental science experts within 30 days. The committee would examine the health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution and issue the Expert Consensus Report with their findings. The report would be submitted to the FAA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and relevant Congressional Committees, including the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

    Cosponsors of the bill include: Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-California), Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-New York), Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-California), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California), Congressman Scott Peters (D-California), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-California), and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).

    Friday, October 06, 2017

    Boston City Council Looks At Seaport/Fort Point Civic Amenities, Flight Paths, CPA, Energy & More

    City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their September 19, September 28 and October 4, 2017 meetings:

    South Boston Waterfront/Seaport Public Facilities: I filed a hearing order to discuss plans for access to public facilities, civic space, and city services in the South Boston Waterfront and Seaport / Fort Point areas given the continued residential transformation of the neighborhood. The area has seen population double in the last ten years, some projections estimate that the population will grow from about 4,000 current residents to upwards of 26,000 residents in 10-15 years. Currently there is no civic space in the area (e.g. no library, school, community center, fire station or police station), and we should be looking ahead to plan for how we will deliver city services and civic spaces to current and future residents. The matter was assigned to the Planning & Development Committee for a hearing.

    Community Preservation Act: Councilor Flaherty filed a communication with the Council announcing the members of the CPA Working Group, whose purpose is to assist the City Council's Special Committee on the Community Preservation Act in recruiting and evaluating candidates for selection to the Community Preservation Committee. The members are Boston residents Curtis R. Kemeny (Beacon Hill), Beverly Johnson (Mattapan), Cortina Vann (Dorchester), Shelly Goehring (Dorchester), and Jeffrey Gonyeau (Dorchester). The group will meet soon to approve the application materials and kick off the process.

    Flight Paths: Councilor McCarthy rose to give an update on his trip to Washington DC to meet with Congressmen Capuano and Lynch about the concentration of flight paths over a narrow band of households in recent years after the FAA instituted changes to GPS navigation systems. This has significantly increased noise and pollution over certain neighborhoods in Boston, including South End, Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury and Hyde Park. Councilor McCarthy will make available the in-depth report from MIT commissioned by the Congressmen.

    Community Choice Energy: The Council voted unanimously to authorize the City of Boston to adopt the Community Choice Energy that I was proud to file in partnership with Councilor O’Malley. The order charges the Administration with beginning due diligence on a municipal electricity aggregation to increase clean energy for Boston residents and small businesses. At yesterday’s packed hearing, advocates, residents, and experts spoke about the environmental and economic benefits of increasing our renewable energy supply. We learned that dozens of municipalities in Massachusetts have instituted a CCE program with a 5% increase in renewable energy, and in all but one the rates have been cheaper than the Eversource basic plan rate. Boston’s 5% renewables increase would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 6,400 cars from the city’s roads.

    At today’s meeting, Councilors rose to speak about the urgency of committing to a clean energy future as we face the impacts of destructive climate change in weather disasters and the environmental refugees that we will welcome after each incident. Adopting a green municipal aggregation is the single largest action that Boston can take to immediately and dramatically increase our clean energy consumption. Moreover, the process has numerous safeguards, including the ability for anyone to opt out back onto the utility’s default basic plan. The utility company will continue to deliver the electricity and administer billing, so the transition would be seamless for the ~125,000 accounts that would chip in a little towards a big result. As mentioned at the hearing, not everyone can afford to install solar panels on their homes. CCE allows all residents to pool together and share in the transition to a green economy.

    With the Council now having voted to authorize CCE, the Administration will begin the process of researching and requesting proposals from energy procurement companies, and vetting them in consultation with state agencies and public process. There are still months of process ahead before any draft plan would be presented and approved.

    Short-Term Rental Housing: Councilor Zakim called for a hearing to discuss how the city reviews plans for new developments with respect to short term rental set-asides. The hearing is designed to increase transparency in the development review process around plans that a developer may have to set aside entire floors for short term rental corporations. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing & Community Development for a hearing

    Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch online)
    • Tuesday, 10/10 at 4:30PM, hearing on project with the National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI) (Healthy Women, Families, and Children) [Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, 2300 Washington St, Roxbury]
    • Tuesday, 10/10 at 2:30PM, working session on parking permits for home health professions (City, Neighborhood Services, and Veterans Affairs) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
    • Thursday, 10/12 at 10:00AM, hearing on the right to charge (Government Operations) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
    • TENTATIVE, 10/16 at 11:00AM, hearing on the BPD Detectives Benevolent Association collective bargaining agreement (Ways and Means) [location TBD]
    For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

    Get In The Halloween Spirit

    Grab the kiddies and get in the Halloween spirit at the Friends of the South Boston Branch Library's 13th annual Fall Fair this Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 11 am - 2 pm.  There will be crafts, face painting and pumpkin decorating. Families with infants up to age twelve year are invited to participate. 

    The South Boston Public Library is located at 647 East Broadway. The branch holds a special collection of South Boston historical materials. There is a large collection of adult music CDs. A set of historical maps of Boston is on permanent display.

    The South Boston Branch first opened in April 1872 in the Masonic building at 372 West Broadway. It was the second branch library established in the United States. When the Masonic building was sold in 1948 the South Boston Branch was closed. In response to high demand for library service the branch was reopened in June 1950 in a storefront at 385-8 West Broadway where it remained until destroyed by fire in May 1957. Construction of the present building consolidated the City Point Branch with the South Boston Branch.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2017

    The Creation Of A Waterfront Park

    The long awaited Martin's Park along the Fort Point Channel Harborwalk officially started construction on September 12, 2017. The Park's creation will take a little over a year. Watch the park come alive by viewing the park's construction activity via the Boston Parks and Recreation project camera. The camera takes time lapse photos every 15 minutes.  As the project continues longer time lapse videos will be available.  

    What to expect in October? This Tuesday or Wednesday, pile driving is targeted to start for approximately the next 35 days. 

    Sign up to receive monthly construction updates by emailing Lauren Bryant, Project Manager at the Boston Parks & Recreation Department. If you have any questions or comments, Lauren may also be reached at 617-961-3019. 

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