September 24, 2008, 7:15 p.m. – Susan Bailis Center
About 25 members gathered at 7:00 to visit and collect neighborhood information.
Newly elected president, Dan Munson opened the meeting at 7:15 by thanking retiring Vice President Chris Coffin. He introduced himself as the new President of the SBNA, Tara Wilstein as the new Vice President, Gary Dwyer, ongoing Treasurer, Helen Powell, continuing Clerk/Secretary and Clair Dargan, Membership Chair.
The neighborhood’s first Welcome Brochure was printed and distributed to each building early September. The goal of the brochure is to give residents, old and new, basic information about the Botolph area and names of helpful agencies, websites and city services. Dan called attention to Landmark’s restrictions to our handsome, desirable and historic neighborhood, particularly: paint colors, windows and doors, masonry, decks, and roof additions. These are the areas that neighbors and Landmarks observe to be sure that improvements conform to neighborhood standards in this historic district.
Dan observed that the many neighborhood and city agencies and committees can be confusing, but that it is important that residents know about they and consider volunteering to work in some of these areas to keep our neighborhood safe and attractive.
The general position of the SBNA board has been to present neighborhood concerns about developments and provide information about these on the stbotolph.org website.
Architectural Committee: Member Lee Steele presented a general overview of his committee. He suggested that we get the Architectural Review Application on to the St. Botolph website for residents to download conveniently. He will get that information to Helen Powell for website insertion.
Landmarks: Member Bob Bradley gave an update and asked for residents to continue oversight of and involvement in this important liaison to the BRA. He noted that there has been a weakening of city oversight and communications regarding this important historic standards regulating agency. City Hall appears to want less citizen involvement so that it can work more directly with developers and revise zoning and other regulations in the neighborhood. He urged residents to get involved in Landmarks. Claire Dargan said that sitting in at open Landmarks meetings is very important and urged members to go to the City website and track upcoming meetings, open to the public.
PRUPAC, Neighborhood Committee to review the Prudential Development.
Committee Member, Bob Bradley, who explained the projects below.
CAC, Citizens Advisory Committee, Morgan Pearson, representing the neighborhood, overviewing the following current projects:
Simon Developers’ Copley Place Residential Tower with shops and café’s.
Prudential Towers at Exeter behind Lord & Taylor, and on Boylston Street
Grand Mark Project at Northeastern/The Y: currently unapproved, on hold
Christian Science Church: discussion about the future of trees and landscaping areas
PMAC, Parkland Management Advisory Committee, Karen Wynne and Barry Tepper introduced themselves and asked for volunteers. PMAC works with law enforcement agencies for the Park, landscaping, the DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) concerning maintenance lighting and fencing. They reported that they are working on the fencing around the butterfly garden at the top of the Corridor at Mass Avenue. For further information, call 617-424-0979.
City Police have reported a slight spike in neighborhood break-in’s. Residents are reminded to leave NOTHING visible in cars. Even the suction cup marks on windshields tell thieves that there may be a GPS hidden in the car. Clean your windshield. With home break-in’s, thieves have been pushing in air conditioners, so be sure your AC is securely installed.
Dan thanked Claire Dargan for all her hard work getting the city to deliver the new Big Belly at the 7-11 corner. Litter has been reduced already!
The Inn at St. Botolph
Dan Thanked Claire Dargan for her work on the flyer and the printing of the Welcome flyer, but did not participate on the creation of content. Some residents were asking about this and were told that the city published a larger flyer with city money.
Copley Plaza Project
Representatives from Simon Properties and from the architectural firm of Elkus Manfredi--Jack Walsh and Rob Hobbs--gave a thorough power point overview of the development of the Copley Place project, expansion of Neiman Marcus, a daunting prospect over the Pike. They outlined the infrastructure challenges to building over the Pike, next to Back Bay station, issues of wind and shadow, etc. 280 luxury residential condo units will be included in this 600’tower that has 47 floors and will sell at $1,500 square foot. (The Prudential Center is 698’ tall.) There will be a Winter Garden with a 45’ high glass lobby opening to pedestrian traffic, café’s, wider escalators, in the vicinity of the current Au Bon Pain to improve Neiman Marcus traffic and pedestrian access to and experience of the development. Because there is already sufficient parking on site, with a 1.26 car ratio, parking will not increase. Passenger drop off will be provided, and extensive consideration will be given to pedestrian crossing on Dartmouth, where the traffic there will be better controlled though the narrowing and focus of the intersection.
Sarah Zetteck reported that the St. Botolph Tenants Union met with the owner of several neighborhood properties on Albemarle; mortgages will be extended to 2016 which all felt was fair and helpful.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00.
Helen Powell, Clerk, SBNA
Read our current and past meeting minutes here.