SBNA Meeting Minutes

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

December 12, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

The Holiday Party was held at The Marriott Hotel, 3rd floor Atrium, 7-9 p.m.
Two entry tables were set up: one for membership renewal ($10/year) and one for party admissions ($10 for members, $15 for non-members).   The second table was set up for raffle tickets, to fund the Big Belly program.

Revenue: We took in $1762 between admission, dues and raffle tickets. From this we paid $150 in server tips, leaving a balance of $1612.  From the info we had on the raffle tickets, it looks we sold 89 raffle tickets.  (Averaging 3 tickets per person, that would be 30 people buying raffle tickets.  We need to increase this number in the future and have a longer lead time to sell tickets)  About 80 people attended, a few less than last year, perhaps due to the later date conflicting with office parties.  Gary estimates that we took in about $1200 for admission and membership and $562 for raffle tickets.  Gary will get final numbers when Nancy has turned in her expenses.

The food was very good and the bartender excellent.  There were no sweets, but the nibbles were good enough to make a little meal out of.  Good mingling, some nice little comments by Chris Coffin and Peter Jones.  Ambient music from the jazz group downstairs filtered up to the party and made it seem very lush.  The board  “worked the room” and tried to cultivate future board members and officers.

The last guest left at 9:30.

Helen took pictures and will post on the bulletin board.
Respectfully Submitted,

Helen Powell, Clerk

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association
Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

November 14, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

The meeting was held at the Susan Bailis Center, Mass Avenue & St. Botolph Street. A duo from New England Conservatory (NEC) played while members arrived and chatted from 7:30-7:45.

Chris Coffin called the meeting to order at 7:45, thanked the violin/viola duo who then left for another “gig”.  He introduced and thanked board members, and reminded people we are a volunteer organization.  Help is always needed, and new officers requested for our April elections: President and Vice President.

Upcoming Events:
Wreath Sale, December 1, 9-noon, 7-11 corner.
Holiday Party, December 12, 7-9 p.m. 3rd Floor Atrium, The Marriott, $10 Members, $15 non members, includes one glass of wine and finger food.
Raffle Efforts to raise money for the Big Belly trash bins.  Details about specific prizes are to be posted on the bulletin board.  Sales at the Sale and Party should be brisk to take advantage of the short time frame.

Trash Issues

Chris reported that trash issues seem to have settled down.  He clarified the fact that the SBNA was not at all involved in the wave of city trash ticketing, and believes that residents are now clear about trash regulations and in compliance.  Flyers about trash should go up from time to time to remind residents, especially newcomers and students in the Fall.

99 St. Botolph Street

Chris reported that the 99 St. Botolph Street project is finally back in construction with a new contractor who seems to be taking full advantage of the warmer weather to try to get the building enclosed for the winter.

Neighborhood Inquiries

A few neighborhood residents mentioned personal or other-group interests that the SBNA should know about.  They were able to get resolution from helpful members in attendance.

Chris introduced three Guest Speakers:
Chris introduced three speakers:
Ellen Pfeiffer (and Marian Alper), PR for New England Conservatory
Jeff Doggett, PR for Northeastern
Peter Mitchell, resident

New England Conservatory: solace, stimulation, exhilaration!

Ellen Pfeiffer brought a large assortment of NEC brochures and information about courses and free concerts for SBNA members to take advantage of. The following facts about NEC were of interest to the audience.

Founded in 1867, oldest independent conservatory in the country (Boston Conservatory was founded the same year with a focus on music, theatre and dance, a slightly different “market”)
750 Students, an additional 1400 in the Preparatory Program and 250 in Continuing Education.  225 Faculty members.
Outreach Programs affect 15,000 people.
600 free concerts a year available to ALL in the neighborhood: for solace, stimulation, exhilaration.
Jordan Hall, where most of the concerts take place is one of the finest acoustic spaces in the country, second only to Symphony Hall.  Opera performances twice a year at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, owned by Emerson College on Tremont Street.

Of special interest are the First Monday Concerts: October, November and December; March, April and May.  Top faculty and students perform at these superb free concerts started by faculty cellist and former President of NEC, Larry Lesser.
Ellen urged members to take advantage of NEC as a great community resource.

Northeastern University: an urban campus oasis

Jeff Doggett talked about the transformation of Northeastern that many in the neighborhood may not know about.  In the 70’s and 80’s, Northeastern was the largest institution in the country with 40,000 students, open enrollment, and no endowment. There was high faculty turn over and a number of undeveloped properties were just dormant parking lots. 

In 1992 there was a crisis in this out-of-control institution, and it’s ability to survive was in question.  A new president overhauled the university, and today it has a more manageable enrollment of 15,000.  There are 31,000 applications for 2800 freshman slots, an admission rate of roughly 9%, one of the most competitive in the country.  About 7% of the freshman class is from Boston itself.  Beyond the previous teaching-only mission, there are now extensive research facilities and a popular internship program at Northeastern.

St. Anne’s Church, long neglected has recently been bought by Northeastern and is now used for services and concerts,  There were a variety of questions from the audience about dorms, acquisition of apartment buildings, and regulations regarding them and their development.

Peter Mitchell, Resident Historian

Peter Mitchell introduced himself as a neighborhood resident since the early 80’s.  He has seen many changes and observed that both Northeastern and New England Conservatory have played a major role in the history of the St. Botolph area.  He quizzed the audience and found people evenly divided as to whether were Back Bay, South End or “Other.”  He suggested we are “Other” a separate and distinct neighborhood of its own.

St. Botolph was a 7th Century Monk in East Anglia, England, whose name was contracted by early Puritan settlers from the label, St. Botolph’s town, to become Boston.

In 1948 Secretary of Transportation William Calahan had a highway plan that would have meant running Interstate 95 right through the city.  Boston narrowly escaped being cut in half by Interstate 95, which now circles Boston, thanks to the efforts of Governor Frank Sargent.

Also important to our neighborhood was taking the Orange Line underground and creating another lovely city park, The Southwest Corridor Park.

Peter mentioned the School House, where he lives, the more recent St. Botolph Restaurant, the Y school and other local landmarks.  He brought an aerial photo of our neighborhood, which can be obtained from Aerial Photos International, 617-762-9400.  The photo shows our neighborhood surrounded by railroad yards, and without trees during its early development, which was the last section of the South End to be built.  A development company bought property, constructed buildings and then auctioned them off.  It started off as a working class area with many rooming houses.

The neighborhood has had many local personalities including Martin Luther King, Peter Sellers, Winslow Homer, and our own, infamous Max Trager, long-time treasurer of the SBCC,  the St. Botolph Citizen’s Committee, now the SBNA, our neighborhood association.

Chris closed the meeting at 9:15.

Respectfully submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association
Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

September 19, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

The Neighborhood meeting was held at The Susan Bailis Center, Mass Avenue and St. Botolph Street.

About 25 people were in attendance.

VP Chris Coffin started the meeting by inviting participation in Neighborhood and Board activities.  His two-year service will end July I, and the Board is looking for a new President and/or Vice President as Chris has served as both the last two years.  Duties include setting meeting agendas, attending monthly Board and Neighborhood meetings, and supervising the work of the Membership Chair, Clerk and Treasurer.  About one hour a week, on the average.

Membership Chair, Claire Dargan, collected dues at the door, to start the September-June year.  Annual dues are $5.  Additional donations are welcome to help defray the cost of two annual events, meetings and neighborhood communications, a budget of about $10,000 a year, break even is our goal.

The neighborhood voting location has been changed from the YWCA to the Northeastern Matthews Arena, 238 St. Botolph Street.

Update on 99 St. Botolph Street B&B Project.
This project broke ground in April, 2006 and some initial demolition was done and foundations poured for the new corner annex on the empty lot on St. Botolph Street.  Project Manager, Keith Beardsley, Heath Properties, and Architect Patrick Sharkey were at the meeting to answer questions and explain that the previous contractor has “dropped the ball” on the project and been replaced by Maggiore Company in Woburn.   Keith assured those in attendance that the sidewalk surrounding 99 St. Botolph will be cleared and sanded during the winter months, and gave a revised 9/08 completion date.  When asked, Keith said that they are looking for a good name for the building/residential inn.  Contact with ideas: 
Keith Beardsley, Keith@HeathProperties.com

SBNA Goals for 2008

In response to numerous inquiries and complaints, the Board of the SBNA is focusing on quality of life issues and neighborhood beautification, with particular interest in trash issues.  Chris invited response to this idea and also to the comments of the following speakers.  The neighborhood initiatives are as follows:

·Circulate an information pamphlet on trash rules.
·Recommend using clear trash bags, 3ply/30gal. John Morse offered to help with this strategy to help with people scavenging in the alleys, ripping open bags.  Residents can leave bottles/used goods aside for easy access.
·Educate and remind residents and businesses through Neighborhood meetings such as this.

·Consider organizing an “Adopt a Block” program and call ISD Hot Line when problems surface.

·Approach key neighborhood businesses—711 and Cleaners—to do their part in trash control.

·Put bold marks on recycling bins to prevent theft.
·Styrofoam and plastic bags CANNOT be recycled.  Avoid, or use cloth shopping bags.
·Provide Moving Day Info kits each Fall to educate new residents, especially students.  Good will incentive coupons, etc.  The board will research this.  They Mayor’s Office offered to help.

Other neighborhood service numbers are as follows:
Trash/Sanitation Department: 617-635-7475.  Trash collection is 6 a.m-3 p.m. only, M/Th’s.

Neighborhood Improvement Panel Discussion

Chris introduced the following speakers to inform the group and answer questions, which were many!

Will Ohuoha (an-o-ah), Community Liaison from the Mayor’s Office.  617-635-4500.  Call often!

·John McCarthy, Recycling Department, 617-635-4959
·Latifa Ziyad,  Inspectional Services Department (ISD), 617-961-5300, call code violations.  If need be, call this number from your cell phone after trash pick up to get inspectors and citations to improve resident behavior.

After lengthy discussion, the group came to the conclusion that an investment in two “big belly” trash compactors @$3K each would be worth considering, one machine at 711 and one at Mass Avenue and St. Botolph.  Once paid for, the city does trash collection regularly, for free, using a monitoring system on these trash compacting machines.  Household trash would not be accommodated, litter only.  Beacon Hill Neighborhood Association has done this, paid for by themselves; the Board will look into this.  Getting neighborhood businesses involved would be important for this program, to make them aware of the role that THEY play in the creation (and removal) of litter, perhaps sharing the cost.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk

Neighborhood Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2007, 7:30 p.m.  Susan Bailis Center

Vice President, Chris Coffin welcomed a group of about 20 members and neighbors to the meeting, mentioned our summer block party on June 21, Red Sox fundraising raffle tickets, and then introduced Lee Steele, Chair of our SBNA Architectural Review Committee. 

A long-time resident of Durham Street, Lee has worked with the Landmarks Commission, the BRA and, more recently, with the developers for the dorm housing at the top end of St. Botolph Street., behind the YMCA.  He introduced Jay Rourke, Project Manager of the BRA who explained the extensive review and comment process for these types of large projects, invited comments and gave his e-mail address: jay.rourke.bra@cityofboston.gov, 617-918-4317.   The BRA invites neighborhood input at this stage of the approval process and will meet again 6:00 p.m. May 30 at the YMCA library on Huntington Avenue.  The BRA website has further information and there are copies of the project proposal at the Y for study there.

Next to speak was John Cappellano, with Lincoln Property Company, which has developed numerous housing projects.   This private development venture is called Grand Marc. Lincoln is in the process of buying the back portion of the Y, its former gym and the Hastings Wing which would form an L-shaped complex between Huntington, the Y and New England Conservatory.  The Huntington Avenue building facade will not change in appearance to preserve the look of that stretch of the neighborhood. The Y is using some of this sale revenue to consolidate and upgrade its facilities and will continue to be available to the neighborhood. The Y management will have 16 parking spaces in the new building, but, other than that, there will be no parking in the complex and no local stickers given out to student residents of the housing.  Contact information here is jcappellano@lpc.com.

Cappellano mentioned other development team members: Phoenix Property Company, a Texas-based developer of privatized university student housing; JPI Management Services, also Texas-based, the residential manager of the proposed project;  and Brookfield Capital, the institutional financing source, from of Toronto. The 12-34 story complex including 1140 dormitory and suite-style beds is a private development that will lease at about $1100/bed/month, furnishings and utilities included, directly to students, co-signed by parents.  There is no financial or business arrangement with any area institution.  The rental market includes upper classmen, graduate, technical and non-traditional students.  Leases are for 12 months, units furnished, cutting down on moving and trucking needs in the neighborhood.  There will be a staff of about 20 for the building plus resident advisors and perhaps some city police.  

As the building is not part of a university, the building management can work directly with police, enforce strict leases and evict problem tenants.  Food service is still being discussed as a convenience to tenants but also its impact on local food service businesses.   The building’s ground floor will contain offices, a café, common areas; its main entrance is off St. Botolph with another entrance also on Huntington.  Security entrance cards will be assigned to residents and give them access to their own floors; visitor cards typically take 24 hours.  Opening of the building is slated for the 2010 school year.  In the meantime, BRA and neighborhood reviews will continue as well as market surveys to better configure the building and its service.  Mitigation reviews will be ongoing.  The building currently exceeds zoning and density limitations, and the developer is working with the BRA to resolve that.

John Cappellano then introduced a representative of the architectural firm who provided boards illustrating the building.

Looking ahead, it is likely that the building will be sold to an area institution but management will continue by the current development and management team..  The agreements and conditions put in place to permit construction would stay with the building and bind future owners.
The next Board Meeting is Wednesday June 6th at 7:30 at 5 Durham Street.
Next neighborhood Meeting—the BBQ—June 21, 6-9 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00.
Refreshments were provided by Vice President, Christian Coffin
General Manager
Doubletree Guest Suites Boston

Contacts:

Jay Rourke, Project Manager of the BRA who invited comments and gave his e-mail address: jay.rourke.bra@cityofboston.gov, 617-918-4317

John Cappelano, Lincoln Property Company, jcappellano@lpc.com.

Respectfully Submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association
Monthly Meeting Minutes
January 31, 2007, 7:30 p.m.

The neighborhood meeting was held at the Susan Bailis Center , Mass Avenue at St. Botolph,   About 35 people attended this important update to the 99 St. Botolph B&B project and the Safety/Crime information panel presentation.

Vice President Chris Coffin called the meeting to order at 7:40 by thanking the Bailis Center for their gracious room and refreshment hospitality.

Three representatives from the 99 St. Botolph Project made presentations: 
Keith Beardsley of Heath Properties, a Boston-based developer of extended-stay residential hotels.
Fred Schultz, S&E Construction
Patrick Sharkey, Architect

The goal of the project is to restore and complete this historic site at the corner of West Newton Street with a 15-suite complex.  All permits have been obtained and construction, which will be completed in November, has started.  There will be a 10’ landscaped set back that will include new fencing.  The cellar stairs fronting on West Newton will be removed, and a caretaker’s apartment created in the basement with light from window wells. Piles for the filled-in section of the building will be drilled and completed in February.  Monthly rates might be between $2&3K.  Valet, but no on-site, parking will be available.  The name of the residence has not yet been established.

Chris then introduced three Safety Representatives:
Captain Evans of the Boston Police Department, D-4
Carolyn MacNeil, Community Services Coordinator, D-4
Edward Geary, Public Affairs Officer, Suffolk County Sheriff.

All three answered questions about recent car break-ins and other neighborhood crimes, giving the audience a very complete view of the detailed monitoring of the St. Botolph neighborhood, and how it compares to other neighborhoods in the large, D-4 area.  Property crimes here are down 42%, but there has been a wave of car break-ins, considered crimes of opportunity, where the homeless and drug users go after anything visible in cars because there is a useful network of stores that handle stolen ipods and GPS’s.  The urged those attending to leave NOTHING visible in cars as desperate thieves find just about anything worth stealing and fencing. 

Residents of our neighborhood should be assured that the police department is well aware of crime patterns and has a good priority system for responding to crime.  The Symphony Hall stabbing involved members of a gang who had come into the area that evening and was not typical of our neighborhood.  More serious crimes such as robberies and assaults are more prevalent in other areas of D-4.  Problems arise when there is a mix of high-end residences and homeless shelters nearby where residents spill into the streets during the day, looking for fast money.  There is a special way to call 911 from a cell phone: 617-343-49111.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50.

Respectfully Submitted,  Helen Powell, Clerk