Friday, October 20, 2017

Discover Newly Changed Plans For Seaport Square

updated 10/20/17: Seaport Square returns to BCDC on Tuesday, October 24 at 5pm, room 937A, City Hall. Public invited to attend. 

updated 10/18/17: Remember to submit public comments by end of day, October 27, 2017 (details below).

Last week (9/12/17) WS Development, who in 2015 purchased the remaining 12.5 acres of Seaport Square, filed a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) to their Notice of Project Change submitted seven months prior. The filing responds to the many public comments submitted from Boston residents, performing art organizations and others including the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and Boston Parks & Recreation Department. WS Development also filed an amendment to Seaport Square Planned Development Area 78  three days later.

Two of the largest calls came in response to the jettisoning of a 200,000 sf arts center and the elimination of Seaport Hill Park. 

Discover the new plans for performing art spaces, open green spaces and other changes at: 

  • Boston Civic & Design Commission (BCDC): September 19, 2017 at 4 pm in room 937A, City Hall. View Presentation.
  • Seaport Square IAG Meeting: September 20 from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm at District Hall, 75 Northern Ave. The Impact Advisory Group (IAG)will be discussing the changes made to the proposal. The public is welcome to listen.
  • Seaport Square Community Meeting: September 27th from 6pm - 8pm at the Seaport Hotel, in Seaport Ballroom #1, 1 Seaport Lane. View Presentation.
  • Seaport Square Community Meeting: October 4th from 6pm - 8pm at District Hall, 75 Northern Ave. 
  • Via the Seaport Square Supplemental Information Report and amendment to Seaport Square Planned Development Area 78.

Public Comment Deadline: October 27, 2017
Submit comments to BPDA Project Manager Michael Rooney

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originally published 9.18.17

Factory 63 Change of Use Public Meeting

updated 10/20/17: Public comment deadline is November 6th (details below)

The Boston Planning & Development Agency is hosting a community meeting regarding the change of use of Factory 63 on:

Thursday, October 19, 2017
6 pm
Factory 63
63 Melcher Street

Currently Factory 63 is an apartment building with a basement level shared residential and community space where the Fort Point Neighborhood Association holds monthly neighborhood meetings, and art events and local art by Fort Point Arts Community and Artists for Humanity is displayed. Come learn about the proposed changes and how the building will support the neighborhood and the arts. 

Project Description: On September 21, 2017, the Proponent filed a fourth Notice of Project Change (the “Fourth NPC”) and this Amendment to allow a single change to the Third Revised Project (the “Fourth Revised Project” or the “Project”). The sole change from the Third Revised Project is to acknowledge approximately 2,695 square feet of existing residential GFA in the basement of the existing building of 63 Melcher Street, which is owned and is being renovated by the Proponent, for Office and/or Cultural and/or Community use. Separate from the sole change under this Amendment – to acknowledge 2,695 square feet of the 63 Melcher Street Basement Space as GFA for Office and/or Cultural and/or Community use – the form of ownership of 63 Melcher Street will be altered to a condominium under M.G.L. c. 183A. For more details click here.

Public comment deadline: November 6, 2017
Send comment to BPDA Project Manager Aisling Kerr or online (scroll to bottom)

originally published 9.29.17

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Hotel Planned For Summer Street

You may have read in the news earlier this Fall of a proposed 1,000 plus room hotel to be located at 440 Summer Street (Summer & D Streets) from the Davis Companies and the Omni Hotels Management Corporation.  The Boston Plans and Development Agency (BPDA) will be hosting a public community meeting on:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
6 pm - 8 pm
Westin Boston Waterfront, The Otis Room
425 Summer Street

The Summer Street Hotel project will contain approximately 788,500 sf to be comprised of approximately 1,054 hotel rooms, ballrooms, function rooms, meeting spaces, restaurant/retail space, and together with public realm improvements. This project is part of  parcel D2 of the Waterside Place Project.

View Summer Street Hotel Project documents

Comment deadline: November 1, 2017
BPDA Project Manager, Casey Hines

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 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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