Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Fort Point District 100 Acres Open Space 2nd Community Workshop

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) invites you to join the second community workshop for the Fort Point District 100 Acres Open Space planning initiative.
Saturday, February 29, 2020
10:30 - 12: 30 pm *
Artists For Humanity
100 W 2nd Street

* Presentation at 10:30 am followed by Community Workshop Activities

The Fort Point District 100 Acres Open Space public engagement and concept design process will serve as a guide for future development of open spaces in the area. Current goals of the project include:
  • Provide a vision and programmatic plan for future development of parks and open space that are accessible and available to all.
  • Ensure a diverse and balanced mix of parks uses based on community input and user needs.
  • Develop a system of open space areas that relate to each other, the surrounding built context and the historic Fort Point Channel District.
  • Design landscapes that are adaptive and resilient to climate change impacts including sea level rise, storm surge, heat island, and stormwater, and contribute to neighborhood flood protection.
  • Establish meaningful connections to the Fort Point Channel watersheet and surrounding open space, streets and linear connections, including Harborwalk and the South Bay Harbor Trail.

Questions: contact Joe Christo via email or at 617-918-4447.

Monday, February 17, 2020

New Changes To 15 Necco:What Do You Think?

In response to community comments and letters, the developers of 15 Necco, National Development and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, submitted revisions to the project on February 11, 2020 via a supplemental filing to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).

SUMMARIZED CHANGES (read supplemental filing here)

Changes to Civic & Cultural Uses

The community requested previously approved cultural and community space be retained. Original commitments included over 25,000 square feet of collaboration space, community work lounge and museum in addition to café and restaurant space. The new supplemental filing proposes 1,500 square feet for non-profit use and 2,700 square feet of “touch-down” space in the lobby.
Revisions to the Design


The community requested that the architectural design fit within the neighborhood, especially with respect to existing architecture.

The community requested that the mechanical penthouse of 35 feet be significantly reduced. There has been no reduction yet in height of the mechanical penthouse.

15 Necco Revised Design as of  February 11 Supplemental Filing

15 Necco Design as of January 6 Public Meeting

UPCOMING 15 NECCO COMMUNITY MEETING
Tuesday, February 27: BPDA Community Public Meeting at 6 pm at the 300 A Street. 

Related Posts

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Fort Point Landmarks February 2020 Meeting Tonight

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020
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.

I.  DESIGN REVIEW HEARING


APP # 20.796 FPC       34 Farnsworth Street
Applicant: Erik Lania, Watermark Donut Company 
Proposed Work: Modify the Farnsworth Street ground level façade, add new storefront system and window, and install signage.

II  Ratification of 1/9/2020 & 1/24/2020 Public Hearing Minutes

III. Staff Updates

IV. Projected Adjournment: 7:00 PM

FORT POINT CHANNEL LANDMARK DISTRICT COMMISSION
David Berarducci, Susan Goganian, John Karoff, Lynn Smiledge, Vacancy
Alternates: Thomas Rodde, Vacancy

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

105 West First Informational Update Meeting

Tishman Speyer cordially invites the neighborhood to attend their second Informational Update Meeting regarding the planned redevelopment of 105 West First Street to Life Sciences. The meeting will take place on:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
 6:00 PM
3rd floor Conference Room
Artists for Humanity
100 West Second Street

In 2019 Breakthrough Properties, Life Sciences arm of Tishman Speyer, acquired the former RCN building from Commonwealth Ventures.  On the West First side, the building faces the A Street Park and is nestled between the Channel Center garage and Artists For Humanity.  In December of 2019, the BPDA hosted an informal meet and greet for neighbors and the new owners. Tishman Speyer also owns One Channel Center (State Street) building and the Channel Center Garage. 

Key meeting topics will be updates on the project schedule and public realm improvements, as well as information about the design and construction plan, and introduction to the construction team members from Consigli Construction Company. The demolition and construction timeline will be covered, including points of contact for the team on site, and sharing updates on plans for the new park east of the site between West First and West Second Streets.

You may also notice in the days leading up to the February 12th meeting that there will be additional construction vehicles and equipment added to the site. Please be assured that it is staging equipment and minor interior preparations ahead of the actual construction start, and that demolition will not commence until after the informational session on the 12th.

New Design as of December 2019
2017 Approved Design

originally published 2.3.20

Monday, February 03, 2020

Boston City Council Looks At Committees, South Boston Traffic, Census, Parking, Recycling & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Here are some highlights from Wednesday, January 29, 2020:

VOTES

Rules: The Council voted 11-2 (Councilors Baker & Essaibi-George opposed) to approve the City Council rules for the 2020-2021 term that Council President Janey introduced, including the new committee structure. Councilor Essaibi-George stood to oppose the dissolution of the committee that she had previously chaired, on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery. Council President Janey stated that the new Committee on Public Health would include responsibility for issues related to Mental Health and Recovery, and the Committee on Housing & Community Development would include oversight over issues related to Homelessness. 
See the full committee assignments here, and a summary listed below as Committee Name (Chair, Vice Chair):

  • Arts, Culture & Tourism (Baker, Breadon)
  • Census & Redistricting (Arroyo, Wu)
  • City & Neighborhood Services (Flynn, O’Malley)
  • Civil Rights (Mejia, Flynn)
  • Community Preservation Act (Flaherty, Bok)
  • Education (Essaibi-George, Campbell)
  • Environment, Resiliency & Parks (O’Malley, Wu)
  • Government Operations (Edwards, Flaherty)
  • Housing & Community Development (Edwards, Bok)
  • PILOT Reform (Bok, Flaherty)
  • Planning, Development & Transportation (Wu, Baker)
  • Post Audit (Wu, Baker)
  • Public Health (Arroyo, Essaibi-George)
  • Public Safety & Criminal Justice (Campbell, Flaherty)
  • Rules & Administration (Janey, Flaherty)
  • Small Business & Workforce Development (Mejia, Baker)
  • Strong Women, Families & Communities (Breadon, O’Malley)
  • Veteran & Military Affairs (Flynn, Edwards)
  • Ways & Means (Bok, Essaibi-George)
  • Whole (Janey, O’Malley) 

NEW MATTERS

Boston School Committee Governance Structure: Councilor Essaibi-George called for a hearing on the governance structure of the Boston School Committee. Following a home-rule petition and 1989 citywide referendum, in 1991 the City of Boston transitioned from a 13-member elected School Committee to a Committee with seven members, appointed by the Mayor. In a 1996 referendum, Boston residents voted to maintain the appointed School Committee. The Mayor appoints members from a list of candidates recommended by a 13-member Citizens Nominating Panel composed of parents, teachers, principals, and representatives of higher education. The process to become a member of the Citizens Nominating Panel as well as the process and criteria by which the panel evaluates School Committee candidates is currently not transparent nor accessible. The School Committee also currently has a non-voting, uncompensated student member, and many advocates have recommended giving the student representative formal voting authority. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Education for a hearing.

South Boston Traffic Master Plan: Councilors Flynn & Flaherty called for a hearing to discuss establishing a Traffic Master Plan for South Boston. They noted that the neighborhood has absorbed much of Boston’s development boom and housing production, with large scale developments either already approved or proposed along every major corridor that connects the neighborhood to the rest of the city. The ongoing South Boston Waterfront Strategic Transit Plan accounts for the impact of growth within the study area and the respective impacts on various modes of transportation in and out of the South Boston Waterfront, but does not account for the impact of other large scale developments on other major transportation corridors of the neighborhood. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

2020 Census: Councilor Flynn & I filed a hearing order to discuss ways to promote a complete and accurate count for the 2020 Census in the City of Boston. The 2020 Census will begin on April 1st of this year, and it will be an important undertaking to provide an accurate population count to determine the number of Congressional seats in our state, the boundaries of local, state, and federal legislative districts, and how federal funds are distributed in our community; it also provides important data that can help lawmakers craft policies that accurately reflect the needs of constituents. Boston also ranks among the hardest cities to count, as we are home to many traditionally undercounted populations, such as immigrants, residents who speak a language other than English, students, and renters. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Census & Redistricting for a hearing


Additional Liquor Licenses: Councilor Baker filed a home-rule petition for additional liquor licenses in various neighborhoods of the city. Because of the cap on liquor licenses in Boston established in state law, many of the City’s neighborhood restaurants have difficulty or are unable to obtain a liquor license, making it difficult for smaller neighborhood restaurants to open and be successful and exacerbating income inequality and racial disparities as neighborhoods that are predominantly residents of color have far fewer establishments with liquor license. Councilor Baker stated that he hoped each District Councilor would give feedback and help set a number of requested licenses that was appropriate for the neighborhoods in her or his area. This matter was assigned to the committee on Government Operations.
Transportation Benefits: Councilor Edwards & I called for a hearing regarding creating a Transportation Benefit Ordinance that would require employers to offer pre-tax payroll deductions for public transit passes. The City of Boston already offers this for municipal employees, but there is no requirement for private employers to provide similar access. Modest efforts to reduce congestion could significantly improve commuting times, combat vehicle pollution and reduce time lost at work due to traffic delays. I also noted that this was a step for necessary, low-hanging fruit to improve our congestion situation, but that the ultimate goal is still to move toward fare-free public transit. The matter was assigned to the Committee onPlanning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Parking Reform: Councilors Edwards, Essaibi-George & Campbell called for a hearing on Parking Reform to address unprecedented traffic congestion and transportation issues that impact quality of life, Boston’s local economy and the environment. They stated that the City of Boston can simultaneously move towards a transportation system with fewer cars on the road and less congested streets while maintaining and improving parking and driving conditions for residents and workers who depend on their vehicles for personal and professional obligations, educational advancement, and other needs. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Recycling, Composting, and Reducing Trash: Councilor O'Malley called for a hearing regarding recycling, composting, and reducing trash in the City of Boston. Boston's current recycling rate is 25% and at least 75% of what is disposed as trash is potentially recyclable or compostable, including paper, plastic, metals, glass, textiles, food, food-soiled paper, plant debris, wood and soils. The cost of recycling has increased significantly due to China's stricter standards on the quality of the products they will buy. Resolving this recycling crisis will require implementing innovative strategies that addresses producer responsibility and building a sustainable infrastructure that promotes zero waste. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Resiliency & Parks for a hearing.

APPOINTMENTS
  • Zoning Board of Appeals: Konstantinos Ligris, Eric Robinson and Kerry Walsh as members until March 2022 (Assigned to Planning, Development & Transportation for confirmation hearing)
  • Make Boston Shine Trust Fund: Manar Swaby, Kaira Fox, Jerome Smith, Inez Foster & Jacob Wessel as Trustees until January 2022
  • Boston Common Maintenance Trust Fund: Emme Handy reappointed as Trustee until January 2022
  • Franklin Park Maintenance Trust Fund: Emme Handy reappointed as Trustee until January 2022
  • Boston Housing Authority: Kathryn Bennett appointed as Administrator effective January 6, 2020.

UPCOMING HEARINGS (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv):

Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, February 5th at Noon

For complete notes of Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically.            

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

FPNA Kicks Off 2020 With Rep. Biele, Grubstreet & 15 Necco Update

Fort Point Seaport Neighborhood
2020 Kickoff


Tuesday, January 28, 2020
6 pm to 8 pm
District Hall
75 Northern Ave.


featuring

State Representative David Biele
7 pm

introducing

GrubStreet
coming soon to 50 Liberty
requesting a beer & wine license
6:15 pm


with


Neighborhood Updates
including
15 Necco Street 
6:45 pm



Special Thanks to District Hall for providing meeting space

Neighbors Want 15 Necco Changed

updated 01/15/20: Comment deadline extended from Jan 17th to February 3, 2020.

At Monday night's BPDA Community Meeting for 15 Necco Street over 150 Fort Point neighbors turned out to have their voices heard and their message was clear. 

The Boston Globe took notice. The City staff was surprised. The development team was shocked.

Make sure your voice is heard. 

Submit a letter to the BPDA and our elected officials.  
Our personal comments are the most effective way to make change happen.

We only have one chance to get this right.

Comment letter deadline is now Monday, February 3, 2020.

Email To:
BPDA Project Manager Aisling Kerr-  aisling.kerr@boston.gov
with copies to: 
BPDA Senior Resilience & Waterfront Planner Joe Christo- joe.christo@boston.gov
BPDA Deputy Director for Climate Change & Environmental Planning -richard.mcguinness@boston.gov
District City Councilor Ed Flynn - ed.flynn@boston.gov
Councilor-At-Large Michael Flaherty- michael.f.flaherty@boston.gov 
State Senator Nick Collins- nick.collins@masenate.gov
State Representative David Biele -david.biele@mahouse.gov
FPNA- fpnaboston@gmail.com

Most Talked About Changes:
  • Overall architectural design & fit within the neighborhood, especially with respect to existing historic architecture (see meeting presentation page 6)
  • Retaining State (Chapter 91) approved cultural and civic community ground floor spaces- a community work lounge, a restaurant cafe, museum and collaboration space.
  • Reduction the height of the 2 story 34 foot Life Sciences lab mechanical penthouse and protruding pipes at unknown heights.
15 Necco (former GE Headquarter's site) 

Related Posts
originally published 01.09.20

Monday, January 20, 2020

Boston City Council Kicks Off 2020 With New President & Looks At Climate & Opioid Crisis, ZBA, PILOT & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Here are the notes from the Monday, January 6 and Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020:

Welcome to the new City Council term! Although we usually meet on Wednesdays at noon, the Boston City Charter requires that the first Council meeting of the term take place on the first Monday of the year (even when it falls on New Year’s Day, as it did in 2017) and the most senior member of the Council (by age) preside over that meeting until a Council President is selected. So today, after all thirteen Councilors were sworn in at Faneuil Hall--special congratulations to our four new colleagues Councilors Arroyo, Bok, Breadon & Mejia!--Councilor Liz Breadon started with the gavel.

CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: We voted 12-0 (Councilor Baker abstained) to elect Councilor Kim Janey as City Council President for the 2020-2021 term. She is the third woman of color to serve in that role and the first Council President from Roxbury in over 30 years. She laid out an agenda focused on transparency, equity, and accountability, specifically mentioning the creation of a PILOT Committee to ensure fair contributions from hospitals, universities, and Boston’s large tax-exempt institutions; as well as moving forward with the push for fare-free bus service.

VOTES
Climate Crisis as a Public Health Emergency: The Council voted to adopt Councilor O'Malley’s resolution affirming that the climate crisis is a health emergency. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that only a decade remains for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and even half a degree of average warming will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The health threats of climate change include increased exposure to extreme heat, reduced air quality, more frequent and intense natural hazards, and increased exposure to infectious diseases and aeroallergens, nutritional security, effects on mental health, and increased risk of population displacement and conflict. 
 
NEW FILINGS
Stray Voltage in Boston: Councilor Flynn refiled a hearing order to discuss issues and concerns regarding stray voltage in the city. Boston’s infrastructure includes older electrical utility cabinets, which are weakened during the winter months due to salt on the ground that can corrode wiring and grounding lugs. This poses threats to pets, and there have been multiple incidents where pets have been injured or killed due to this, and children are also vulnerable.
 
After Hours Construction: Councilor Flynn refiled a hearing order to discuss construction and development issues outside standard permitted hours of 7am-6pm, including early morning, late evening, weekends and holidays. Residents have highlighted concerns regarding security and safety in all phases of development at construction sites, damages to neighboring properties, the need for adherence to approved plans, and suitable rodent control. The current penalty for demolition, erection, alteration, or repair of any building outside of permitted hours without special approval is $300 for each offense. 

Sharps Disposal: Councilor Essaibi-George refiled an ordinance to provide for safe disposal of sharps through the establishment of a Product Stewardship Program, given that an insufficient number of safe drop-off sites for sharps has caused improper disposal of needles in household trash, parks, and public spaces, posing a risk to public health and safety and our waste management system. The proposed language would require manufacturers of sharps sold and distributed in Boston to work with retailers that sell sharps to take back sharps at no additional cost to the consumer at the time of return. The collection services should include at least two methods, which may include but not be limited to: a mail-back program that provides prepaid and pre-addressed packaging, collection kiosks, drop-off day events, or in-home disposal methods that render a product safe from misuse. 
 
Opioid Crisis: Councilor Essaibi-George refiled an order for a working session regarding the opioid crisis. The working session would convene stakeholders to discuss strategies to combat the crisis, including ways to increase funding on-the-ground prevention, treatment, and recovery solutions, and improve access to treatment, treatment beds, and point-of-time connection of services

Zoning Board of Appeal: Councilor Edwards refiled a Home-Rule Petition to change the statute governing the Zoning Board of Appeal, amending the state law designating the nominations process for ZBA members and the requirements of the board. Specifically, it would add designated seats to represent renters, persons knowledgeable in civil rights and fair housing, experts in environmental protection and other stakeholders not currently represented on the ZBA. The language would also require timely notification, the ability to access zoning services and records of decisions electronically and at Boston City Hall, and a regular report on variances by neighborhood and zoning district to inform future zoning by clearly indicating where actual development practices and the zoning code differ substantially. 

Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Payments: Councilor Flaherty called for a hearing regarding the City's PILOT payments. In FY19, the PILOT program cited $52,496,775 in community benefits and $34,187,928 in cash contributions. The property values which PILOT agreements are based on were last assessed in 2009 and haven’t been updated since, even though according to the original PILOT Taskforce, valuation should be reviewed after the first five-year phase in. 
 
PILOT Task Force: Councilors Edwards and Essaibi-George filed an ordinance to create a PILOT Task Force to renegotiate agreements with large tax-exempt institutions in the City. The noted that the successful implementation of PILOT is an important tool and obligation to the City, as property taxes continue to rise for residents, while the percentage of tax-exempt land has increased.

UPCOMING HEARINGS (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch Online
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, January 29th at Noon

Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Fort Point Channel Operations Board Annual Meeting This Thursday

The Fort Point Channel Operations Board will be holding their annual meeting on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 11 AM in the Fort Point Room at Atlantic Wharf (280 Congress St). The public is welcome to attend. 

The agenda includes:

  • Recap of Atlantic Wharf 2019 Annual Plan
  • Presentation of Atlantic Wharf 2020 Annual Plan
  • 2020 Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Grant Program

What is the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan? To determine how to take better advantage of the Fort Point Channel's potential, the BPDA initiated a watersheet planning process with the Fort Point Channel Working Group and Fort Point Channel Abutters Group, which involved area residents, business owners and stakeholders. The resulting Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan envisions the channel as a location for a wide range of water’s edge and floating public uses, including piers, docks and landings for cultural attractions, recreational boating and sightseeing. The Plan also endeavors to seamlessly balance these public uses with the existing water-dependent uses along the Channel, including the Gillette Company, Barking Crab and Hook Lobster, as well as advancing water transportation initiatives. The activation goals and elements of the Plan have informed Municipal Harbor Plans specific to the area as well as state Chapter 91 Waterways licensing of projects along the Channel.

originally published 01.10.20

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

15 Necco (formerly GE) Life Sciences Project Enters Community Review

updated 1/14/20 with January 6th Public Community Meeting presentation posted under Meetings below.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) is hosting two public meetings to solicit feedback on the proposed new development at 15 Necco Street. GE and MassDevelopment sold the two historic Necco buildings and parcel to National Development and Alexandria Real Estate Equities earlier this year. 

The Proponent proposes the construction of a new, 12-story, approximately 316,000 square-foot, multi-tenant office/life sciences/research and development building with active ground floor uses, such as retail and restaurant spaces within the southern portion of the Project Site (15 Necco Street). Because of the Project Site's proximity to public transit and nearby public parking facilities, the new building is not proposed to include any underground parking.  Depicted below is the new building design.


MEETINGS

January 6th: BPDA Public Community meeting. View Presentation.

December 18th: Boston Harbor Now Harbor Use Meeting 

December 17th: BCDC Committee Meeting. View Presentation

December 3d: Boston Design Civic Commission Meeting held December 3d. View presentation.

November 21st: The first meeting of the Impact Advisory Group. 






On Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, ARE-MA No. 74, LLC, which is a joint venture between affiliates of Alexandria Real Estate Equities ("ARE") and National Development, and ARE-MA No. 72, LLC, an affiliate of ARE (collectively, the "Proponent"), filed a Notice of Project Change ("NPC") with the Boston Planning & Development Agency ("BPDA") for 5 and 15 Necco Street, which comprise an approximately 2.7-acre site in the Fort Point neighborhood of Boston and for which the General Electric Company (GE) Headquarters Project was previously slated for construction. 

Concurrently with this NPC, the Proponent also filed a proposed Amended and Restated Development Plan for 5 and 15 Necco Street, South Boston, Massachusetts, within Planned Development Area No. 69, South Boston/The 100 Acres and a proposed Fifth Amendment to the Master Plan for Planned Development Area No. 69, South Boston/The 100 Acres. The previously approved project was contemplated to include GE occupancy in both 5 Necco Street and the new office building at 15 Necco Street. GE will now occupy office space only at 5 Necco Street. 

Comment Deadline: January 17, 2020
Send comments to Aisling Kerr, BPDA Project Manager


originally published 11.14.19