Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Councilors Flynn & Flaherty Urge Southie to Apply for CPA Funds by September 3rd

As the deadline for the 2022 funding round for the Community Preservation Act grants approaches, Councilors Ed Flynn and Michael Flaherty are urging South Boston residents again to consider applying for CPA funding for relevant projects. Interested applicants would need to contact the Community Preservation team regarding their eligibility, then submit the CPA’s rolling eligibility form by Friday, September 3, 2021 at 5pm.

In July, City Councilor Ed Flynn and City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty partnered with the Office of Community Preservation to host an information session for District 2 residents on the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The meeting provided information and resources for South Boston residents, nonprofits, community and youth sports organizations to apply for CPA funding. The Councilors also emphasized that with 16 applications submitted over 4 rounds, and 7 projects subsequently approved, it’s critical for community organizations and neighbors to apply so that we do not lose out on available funding to help improve and preserve our neighborhood. With nearly half of South Boston applications awarded funding, it’s also crucial for those who may have been denied in the past to re-apply and continue to stay engaged with the CPA team.

The CPA provides funding for initiatives related to affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and outdoor recreation facilities. From 2018 to 2021, there were 16 applications from South Boston, and the following seven approved for CPA funding:


  • Martin's Park - $500,000

  • St. Augustine Historic Chapel - $499,075

  • Barnard Place Park - $150,000 

  • Congress St Fire Museum - $150,000

  • Harry McDonough Sailing Center - $78,783

  • Castle Island Interpretive Signs - $75,000

  • Kearsarge Anchor - $75,000 


To be considered for CPA’s 2022 funding round, interested applicants need to please contact the Community Preservation team regarding eligibility at 617-635-0545 and thadine.brown@boston.gov before filling out the CPA’s rolling eligibility form by Friday, September 3, 2021 at 5pm. The form can be accessed through the Office of Community Preservation’s website at www.boston.gov/cpa. If CPA staff reviews the project and determines that it can be funded under CPA requirements, the applicant will be invited to complete an application for CPA grants. An outline of the application steps can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/community-preservation/how-apply-community-preservation-funds. For more information, including to request translation or interpretation services, please contact thadine.brown@boston.gov


“I’m calling on my neighbors to contact CPA and apply for funding by September 3rd so that our community has the chance to receive funding for initiatives on affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and outdoor recreation,” said Councilor Flynn. “CPA funding is an important resource for our community, and neighbors should take full advantage of this funding opportunity so that we can further strengthen and improve our neighborhoods. “ 


"When I worked to get the CPA adopted in Boston, it was because I knew the transformative effects the funds from the program would have across the city," said Councilor Flaherty. "With over $92M authorized for projects across the city already, we are seeing those changes. I want to make sure residents in South Boston have every opportunity to harness the impact of these funds, and I encourage folks to get their applications in."


For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and ed.flynn@boston.gov.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Boston City Council Looks At Early Voting, Cannabis Regulations, ZBA, Real Estate Transfer Fees, Recovery & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Below are some highlights from August 18, 2021 Boston City Council meeting:


Early Voting Locations: We voted unanimously to approve an amended order from the Chair of the Board of Elections regarding early voting for the September 14 preliminary election and the November 2 general election. This amended order commits to additional early voting sites in the Roslindale, South Boston Waterfront, Chinatown, and Mission Hill neighborhoods and the Upham’s Corner area of Dorchester, which had been left out of the initial proposal, as well as additional early voting days to ensure equitable access to the ballot box.

Landmark Declaration for Shirley-Eustis Place: We voted unanimously to approve an order from the Boston Landmarks Commission designating Shirley-Eustis Place, 33 and 42-44 Shirley Street and 24 Rockford Street in Roxbury, as a Landmark. 

Boston-Cambridge Tourism Destination Marketing District Plan: We voted unanimously to approve a Boston-Cambridge Tourism Destination Marketing District (TDMD) plan, based on the recommendation of Councilor Edwards, Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, and Councilor Baker, Chair of the Committee on Arts, Culture and Special Events, who reported back regarding a hearing recently held to discuss the TDMD plan. This plan, which also has the support of the City of Cambridge and the Massachusetts State Legislature, will permit hotels in Boston and Cambridge to implement a 1.5% assessment that will be directly reinvested back into the TDMD areas to support local businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors. 70% of hotels in Boston and Cambridge with at least 50 rooms have voted to approve the TDMD formation, and TDMD expenditures will be managed through a 15-member governance board

Surplus Declaration of Roxbury Parcel: We voted unanimously to approve the surplus declaration of a City-owned, former Commonwealth of Massachusetts parcel, located at Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury, and transfer the care and custody, management, and control of the property to the Public Facilities Commission for ongoing use as a community garden. 

Transfer of Roslindale Parcel to Conservation Commission: We voted unanimously to approve an order authorizing the City of Boston Conservation Commission to receive a property located at Morrison Street in the Roslindale neighborhood. This parcel is located in the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild and will be a valued addition to this natural neighborhood asset, serving as a buffer to an adjacent wetland area that is used for recreation, wildlife habitat, and storm water storage for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. 

Equitable Regulation of Cannabis Industry Ordinance: We voted unanimously to approve an ordinance from Councilor Edwards amending CBC Chapter 8-13, Ensuring Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Boston. This order will amend the current cannabis ordinance by removing the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) from the process, codifying the half-mile buffer zone, and maintaining the objective that no one area of the City will have an overconcentration of cannabis businesses.  

Zoning Amendment Regarding Marijuana Establishments: We also voted (12-1, with Councilor Bok opposing) to advance a zoning amendment from Councilors Edwards and Flaherty to make cannabis establishments an allowed use in commercial areas, prohibit cannabis establishments in residential districts, and remove the ZBA from the process, providing consistency in the cannabis industry. This amendment now goes to the Boston Zoning Commission for approval. 

Language and Communications Access Ordinance: We voted unanimously to approve an ordinance from Councilor Mejia regarding language and communications access for City services. This ordinance will amend the current Language and Communications Ordinance, which I authored and passed in 2016, by codifying the Office of Language and Communications Access; requiring the office to develop guidelines that reflect culturally competent interpretation and translation, including for residents with limited literacy; and requiring that vital documents be translated into languages spoken by 5% of the population of the City of Boston or by 1,000 people, whichever is fewer. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Resolution: We voted to approve a resolution from Councilor O’Malley in support of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for City of Boston employees. 

Dignity of Work Act Resolution: We voted to approve a resolution from Councilor Mejia in support of S. 1185, an Act to Establish the Dignity At Work Act, which was designed to recognize human rights in the workplace and to prevent bullying, harassment, intimidation and other abusive or negative behaviors in the workplace. 

OIA Requests 17F: We voted to advance Councilor Bok’s 17F order requesting information regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) since March 22, 2021. This order comes after recent legal complaints from local media outlets for the Administration’s failure to fulfill public records requests, a recent complaint from the Attorney General for failure to adequately respond to requests concerning the BPD, and recent media reports of disparate treatment of the Acting Mayor as compared with her City Council colleagues in relation to the Administration's release of records in response to public records requests by local media. This order requests a list of all FOIA requests received by the City that remain unfulfilled, the reason for their non-fulfillment, a date of expected fulfillment, and an indication of whether they concern files related to the Acting Mayor, her City Council colleagues, or both; those that have been fulfilled and partially fulfilled; a description of the City’s standard operating procedure for responding to FOIA requests; and a list of all instances in which the Acting Mayor has been informed of FOIA requests prior to action that resulted in their fulfillment, and delayed fulfillment, or non-fulfillment. 


Real Estate Transfer Fees Home Rule Petition: We received an order for Council approval regarding a home rule petition, Special Law Re: An Act Relative to Real Estate Transfer Fees. If approved by the City Council, Mayor, State Legislature, and Governor, this home rule petition would impose a transfer fee of up to 2% on certain real estate transactions. This legislation is similar to a 2019 home rule petition that was passed by City Council but remains in the State Legislature; however, this version is applicable only to transactions over $3 million, rather than $2 million. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.


Municipal Budget Ballot Question: We received communication from Council President Pro Tempore O’Malley regarding an amendment to the Boston City Charter, which was approved by the City Council and the Acting Mayor earlier this year. This proposed charter amendment would change the process for creating and approving the municipal budget. With this order, President Pro Tempore O’Malley formally requests that the Elections Department send a summary of the proposed changes to all households with one or more registered voters. (Placed on file)


Status of ZBA Executive Order and Home Rule Petition: I reported back as Chair of the Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation on a hearing recently held to hear updates on the status of the Zoning Board of Appeals Executive Order and Home Rule Petition. During the hearing, we heard from the Administration about the status of reforms to the ZBA, including the makeup of the Board, term limits for Board members, guidelines for recusal, the issuance of quarterly reports on variances and conditional use permits given out in each neighborhood, the creation of an online submission portal to streamline operations, and the creation of an ombudsperson role to notify the public of their rights during and outside of ZBA meetings. (Remains in Committee). 

Legal Representation of Boston Groundwater Trust: Councilors Bok, Flaherty and Edwards introduced an ordinance to provide for legal representation of the Boston Groundwater Trust by the City of Boston Law Department. The Groundwater Trust monitors groundwater levels in areas of the city where foundations are threatened by low levels, and is governed by a Board of Trustees, who are unpaid volunteers. Because the Corporation Counsel has argued that the Trust’s officers and employees cannot be deemed to be officers or employees of the City of Boston, the City Law Department cannot advise or represent any trustee, officer or employee of the Trust. This ordinance would amend the City of Boston Code to expand legal representation by the City of Boston Law Department to all trustees, officers, members, employees and volunteers of the Boston Groundwater Trust. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations. 

COVID-19 Recovery Funds: Councilors Flaherty and O’Malley called for a hearing to discuss COVID-19 Recovery Funds. The City of Boston is expected to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the end of 2024. The City Council approved roughly 25% of total expected ARPA funding at the end of June, and the Administration recently announced the launch of the Equitable Recovery Taskforce (ERT) to inform the investment of additional recovery funds. Residents and stakeholders should have numerous opportunities to understand and inform how the City leverages this funding for short-term and long-term recovery efforts, both within the City Council and through the ERT. This matter was referred to the Committee on COVID-19 Recovery. 

UPCOMING HEARINGS (Streaming Online)

  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, September 15 at 12PM

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Indoor Mask Mandate Effective Friday 8/27 at 8am

Effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 27 in the City of Boston, face masks will be required in all indoor public settings for everyone over the age of two. The City is implementing this proactive public health plan to mitigate community transmission of the Delta variant, ahead of the arrival of more than 50,000 college students from across the country and a return to school for more than 50,000 Boston Public Schools students. Most of the 100,000 children who live in the City of Boston are too young to be eligible for vaccination. 

Through an order from the Boston Public Health Commission, the City of Boston will require all people over age two to wear a mask or face covering:
  • Whenever they are indoors on the premises of a business, club, place of assembly or other place that is open to members of the public, including but not limited to retail establishments, restaurants, bars, performance venues, social clubs, event spaces, and municipal buildings.
Face coverings may be removed when actively eating or drinking. Masks must be worn for all other indoor activities, including ordering at a bar or dancing. Masks are also required in gyms. The order does not apply to gatherings in private residences when no compensation is paid, private buildings that are inaccessible to the public, places of worship, private work spaces inaccessible to the public, or performers who maintain six feet of distance from their audience. 

Frequently asked questions about the new mask mandate are posted in reopening in Boston website

Restaurant owners with questions specific may contact: licensingboard@boston.gov. If you are in any other sector covered by this mandate, or you have general questions, please call 311 or contact: smallbiz@boston.gov.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Gallery At 249A Opens Rule of Thirds This Saturday

The Gallery at 249 is hosting the opening reception of Rule of Thirds: An Experiment in Sequential Collaboration by Rocco Giuliano and Sylvia Stagg-Giuliano on:

Saturday August 14, 2021
5 - 7pm
249 A Street

The experiment: Visual artist and photographer Sylvia presents husband Rocco, a writer, with dozens of gritty urban street photos and asks him to write an haiku inspired by each one. This seems to Rocco like a bizarre idea, as an haiku is not usually associated with, say, a photo of Hoboken motorcycle cops. In fact, it seems downright perverse to force two radically different forms of expression to share a single sheet of photographic paper. 

But, having learned that resistance is futile, Rocco goes along with this experiment in sequential collaboration. It is our hope that the viewer, whom we presume to be a seeker of coherence if not truth, will, in conjuring meaning from the juxtaposition of image and verse, join our experiment as a third collaborator. 

The show runs through September 3rd. Private viewings may be arranged upon request. To visit the gallery by appointment: contact Sylvia Stagg-Giuliano via email or by calling 781-395-4036.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Fort Point Landmarks August 2021 Meeting


Thursday, August 12, 2021
6:00 PM

This hearing will be held virtually and NOT in person. 
You can participate in this hearing by going to our Zoom meeting link 
or by calling 929-205-6099 and entering meeting id 864 4568 0088# 
You can also submit written comments or questions to FortPointLDC@boston.gov 


Applicant: : COJE Management Group, Chris Jamison
Proposed Work: Ratify installation of speakers, heaters, and additional lighting at the patio.

Applicant: Applicant: Paul Connolly
Proposed Work: Ratify removal of trees and pits along Thomson Place.


APP # 21.0994 FPC 364-372 CONGRESS STREET
Applicant: Applicant: Mike Shunta
Continued from 6/10/2021 hearing: Remove existing smokestack at roof and install new roofing system, install new flashings and moldings to match existing.

Applicant: Jason Parillo
Proposed Work: Install new signage at main entrance on existing sign band

APP # 22.0072 FPC 300 A STREET
Applicant: Dyer Brown & Associates
Proposed Work:  At the main roof, demolish one (1) RTU and install three (3) new RTUs.

Applicant: Philip Marcotty
Proposed Work: Replace existing loading dock and stairs at rear of building. At roof, repair two (2) brick head houses, install mechanical equipment, and expand existing mechanical penthouse.

III  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. 

APP # 22.0118 FPC 11 & 47 Farnsworth Street, 12-44 Thomson Place: Repoint all facades, replace/reset displaced brick, replace window sealants, replace and paint corroded steel.



VI  Projected Adjournment: 8pm

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

originally published 08.05.21

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Final 244 -284 A Street Public Meeting 8/11: Transportation Impacts

updated 08/12/21 with presentation and meeting recording. 

You won't want to miss the final scheduled BPDA public meeting for the development of 244-284 A St (former Gillette parking lots site) on:

Transportation Impacts
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Over one million square feet of proposed development will see more than 2,500 people per day come to this site. This is in addition to 1,000 people a day working in 5 and 15 Necco (former GE headquarters site currently under construction) without parking.

The existing surface parking lot is licensed for 800 cars. The new development is planning parking for about 400 underground spaces. 

How will everyone get here, on the T, via bicycle, walk? How about impacts to resident street parking (resident parking spots are being eliminated with the proposed shortening of Binford St)? Are the streets and roads in the neighborhood being redesigned to meet Vision Zero and complete streets? Who will own them? How will all these changes affect us?

Attend this meeting to learn about transportation plans and how they will impact mobility and public access.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Have You Heard The Noise? Find Out What It's All About

updated 8/10/21 with 15 Necco construction website and office hours.

Office Hours (use reoccurring meeting link)

August 11th from 12pm-1pm and 5pm-6pm
August 25th from 11am-1pm
September 8th from 11am-12pm and 5pm-6pm

Contact National Development

Have you heard noises coming from 15 Necco (former GE Headquarters site)?

Construction has begun. 

Come and hear from the National Development team as they share their Construction Management Plan with the neighborhood. It will be a busy 26 months.

National Development Construction Meeting
Wednesday August 4th
6:30 PM

Topics will include
  • Construction Hours
  • Site Safety and Emergency Vehicle Access
  • Trash and Waste Handling
  • Construction Vehicle Movements and Routes
  • Construction Worker Parking
  • Rodent Control

originally published 07.28.21

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Boston City Council Looks At Housing Protection, Early Voting, Redistricting, Tree Canopy, Extreme Heat & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Below are some highlights from July 21, 2021 Boston City Council meeting:


Restoring Governmentally-Involved Housing Protection Home-Rule Petition: The Council voted unanimously to approve a home-rule petition for a special law, An Act to Restore Boston’s Governmentally-Involved Housing Protection, after Councilor Edwards reported back as Chair of the Committee on Government Operations and recommended the order ought to pass. This home rule petition would preserve or restore at-risk affordable housing, including current or formerly HUD subsidized housing with “expiring use” restrictions, helping Boston maintain its stock of affordable housing and discouraging the condominium conversion of these homes. This proposal was prompted in part by recent developments at the Forbes Building in Jamaica Plain, home to primarily elderly Boston residents, where the new owner has refused to sign contracts with the Boston Housing Authority that would keep tenants in their affordable units. This matter will now go to the Acting Mayor for approval before moving to the Massachusetts State Legislature.

Early Voting Options Home-Rule Petition: The Council voted unanimously to approve a home-rule petition for a special law, An Act Relative to Early Voting Options for City of Boston Municipal Elections, after Councilor Edwards reported back as Chair of the Committee on Government Operations and recommended the order ought to pass. If approved by the Acting Mayor and the Massachusetts State Legislature, this special law would provide permanent early voting and vote-by-mail options in both regularly scheduled and special elections. 

Election Day Voter Registration Home-Rule Petition: The Council voted (11-1, with Councilor Baker opposing) to approve a home-rule petition for a special law, An Act Relative to Election Day Voter Registration for City of Boston Municipal Elections, after Councilor Edwards reported back as Chair of the Committee on Government Operations and recommended the order ought to pass. If approved by the Acting Mayor and the Massachusetts State Legislature, this special law would allow for same-day voter registration and for voting on the day of such registration, whether it is on election day or during an early voting period.

Transparency and Accessibility in State Legislature Resolution: The Council voted to approve a resolution from Councilor Mejia urging action in the Massachusetts State Legislature to uphold the values of transparency and accessibility, including reconsidering recent efforts at the state level to increase transparency by making committee votes public and providing sufficient time to read legislation between the introduction and the passage of a bill.

Equitable Housing Recovery Resolution: The Council voted to approve a resolution from Councilor Mejia in support of state legislation S.891 and H.1434, an Act to Prevent COVID-19 Evictions and Foreclosures and Promote an Equitable Housing Recovery.


Tree Canopy Ordinance: Councilors Arroyo and Breadon proposed an ordinance establishing protections for the City of Boston tree canopy. In September 2020, the City of Boston released a Tree Canopy Assessment, which found that Boston’s southern and eastern neighborhoods have suffered the highest relative tree canopy losses, and that more tree canopy was lost on residential land than any other land use type. This ordinance would protect trees on city-owned property, private property, or in the public right of way by setting criteria and requiring public notice and approval for the removal of trees, requiring replacement of removed trees, and establishing a street tree stabilization fund. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

Redistricting Process: Councilor Arroyo called for a hearing to discuss the redistricting process in the City of Boston. The full 2020 Census results will be released on September 30, 2021, and upon the release of the data, the Boston City Council will be tasked with using Boston’s population data to redraw its districts. This process requires substantial community input and participation and should be open, transparent, and accessible. This matter was referred to the Committee on Census and Redistricting.

Safety Conditions in BPS During Extreme Temperatures: Councilors Arroyo and Flynn called for a hearing to discuss safety conditions in Boston Public Schools (BPS) classrooms during extreme temperatures. A majority of BPS classrooms do not have the infrastructure, such as air conditioners, access to water facilities, and shaded windows, to handle extreme heat. BPS should have official policies in place during extreme temperatures to ensure that not only are students in optimal learning conditions, but also to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff. This matter was referred to the Committee on Education. 

Pest Control and Illegal Dumping: Councilors Flynn, Edwards and Breadon called for a hearing to discuss pest control and illegal dumping in the City of Boston. There has been a recent rise in 311 calls about rodent and pest activities, and trash that is not properly disposed can attract rodents and cause other public health issues. This matter was referred to the Committee on City and Neighborhood Services. 


Short-Term Residential Rentals Report: We received communication from Tim Davis, Deputy Director of the Policy Development and Research Division of the Department of Neighborhood Development, regarding the submission of the Report on the Ordinance Allowing Short-Term Residential Rentals in the City of Boston. This ordinance, passed by the Boston City Council in 2018, requires regular estimates of the impact of short-term rentals on Boston’s housing stock, evictions, and home and rental prices. The full report may be found here. (Placed on file)


  • Boston Parks Commission: The Council voted unanimously to confirm Reverend Mariama White-Hammond as a member for a term coterminous with the Acting Mayor, filling the term of Christopher Cook, who has stepped down. 

UPCOMING HEARINGS (Streaming Online)

  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, August 18th at 12PM
  • Monday, August 9 at 1PM: Hearing regarding the Creation of a Boston-Cambridge Tourism Marketing District (Committee on Government Operations and Committee on Arts, Culture, and Special Events)
  • Tuesday, August 10 at 3PM: Hearing regarding homeownership assistance including for first-generation homeowners (Committee on Housing and Community Development)
  • Tuesday, August 17 at 10AM: Hearing on the status of Zoning Board of Appeals Executive Order and Home Rule Petition (Committee on Planning, Development, and Transportation)
      For complete notes of Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com to sign up to receive Council Notes automatically.