The Annual Membership meeting was held at the Susan Bailis Center on Mass Ave and St. Botolph Streets. Nearly 30 members and guests attended.
The meeting was called to order at 7:45 by Vice President Christian Coffin after a 15 mins social gathering with refreshments. He thanked Bailis Marketing Manager Ilena Shook for providing the conference room for the meeting. Chris reviewed the goals of the neighborhood association, including safety, preservation and community development support. He mentioned our two main events of the year, Holiday and Summer Barbeque, and the need to raise membership dues to $10 to help defray the cost of these important neighborhood-building activities. He also explained that for reasons of simplicity/efficiency, that the dues will now run on a September-August fiscal year rather than on the date paid.
Chris then introduced Board Members, Helen Powell, Clerk and Gary Dwyer, Treasurer. The post of President is open to an interested volunteer. Chris introduced in succession the following Committee Chairs who presented a summary of their current activities:
Claire Dargan, Membership/Communications Chair, talked about the importance of keeping accurate information about the membership, revising the website, and securing e-mail services to improve communications.
Nancy Restuccia: Events Chair, mentioned the need to get working soon on the Holiday Party, which will be a Monday or Tuesday early in December. Volunteer help with this important 100+ person event is welcome.
Gary Dwyer, Streetscape Chair, reported that the improvement project is just about finished, with Public Works finishing up replacing the old street lights. His committee works with the city on graffiti issues, street cleaning, the need for towing, etc. Two phone numbers will be put on the website: Tree Service Needs: 617-635-PARK; and the Mayor’s Office (garbage and graffiti reports) 617-635-4500.
Lee Steele, Architectural Review/Conservation Committee Member, expressed appreciation for the website improvements and invited volunteers to join in his committee work which advises residents about Landmarks and Inspectional Services help for homeowners in the St. Botolph neighborhood. He noted that ours is one of only 6 historical neighborhoods in the city and, as such, needs to comply with architectural regulations. Landmarks is the first stop in getting project advice, and Lee encouraged members to use their services. Lee requested additional volunteers for his group and received one offer of assistance from Tara xxx.
Jean Ashland, Safety Chair, said that there is usually 2-3 crime watch meetings a year which are well attended as this is an area of concern in the neighborhood. The Boston Police cooperate in these meetings to provide updates. Communication with Claremont Neighborhood Association is also helpful for area information.
Neighborhood Development Update
Keith Beardsley, Heath Properties provided an update on the progress of the
99 St. Botolph St. Property:
The owners have finally received the building permit from the City of Boston and are in the process of interviewing contractors. They hope to have the bidding process completed by the end of the year and have financing in place to begin work shortly after the first of the year. They are VERY eager to begin work and look forward to working with the neighborhood. It will be a small, 15-room boutique hotel owned and managed by experienced people. There will not be public access, however, and the dining facilities are for hotel guests only.
Elizabeth Leary, from the Boston Inspectional Services Depart, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, introduced her self, passed out pamphlets and city services fridge magnets, and reviewed the permitting process for small residential projects. She advised owners to obtain permits with the help of Landmarks and a qualified contractor as the process can be complicated due to the need to preserve our historical district. When Landmarks has reviewed the project, advice can be obtained by visiting her offices or going to their website: cityofboston.gov/ISD. She suggested the following procedure:
William Onuoha, our new liaison from the Mayor’s Office, introduced himself and invited members to a new home owners reception on October 3 and 903 Boylston Street, 7-8:30 p.m. Interested persons should call 617-635-4290 to say they will be attending. Will said he is the “go-to person” for our neighborhood at the Mayors office and will attend to street cleaning, towing and other issues of concern. Neighbors are reminded that street cleaning and towing are in effect April 15-November 30. He also mentioned the enforcement of fire escape inspections and fines for not hiring a private inspector to represent small buildings. Where fire escapes are shared, it is possible to share inspection services. His office can suggest the names of inspectors. Two members observed that the cross walks on Huntington Avenue have lights that are not well synched; Will said he would look into it. His direct number is 617-635-2679
Chris closed the meeting by reminding people that the next meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 8th at 7:30 at the Bailis Center Conference Room. The topic will be ground water issues.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 sharp!
Read our current and past meeting minutes here.