St. Botolph Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood Meeting Minutes 2008

November 13, 2008, 7:15 p.m.
Susan Bailis Center

The Neighborhood meeting was held at The Susan Bailis Center, Mass Avenue and St. Botolph Street. About 20 people were in attendance.

President Dan Munson called the meeting to order at 7:45 mentioning the following topics to be covered:

Neighborhood Updates, including development plans for Prudential and Copley Place.
An overview of various citizen-watch committees such as PruPac and CAC
Improved website information, where residents can read our mission: to inform about local activities and a sense of history including the success getting involved in the long-contested 116 Huntington Avenue project that ultimately resulted in improved neighborhood awareness and resolution of zoning, height, parking, traffic and other issues.

Big Belly
Dan announced the installation of the long-awaited Big Belly trash compactor, with thanks to everyone involved, especially Membership Chair, Claire Dargan, and past VP, Chris Coffin.  Already residents near the 7-11 are seeing a marked improvement in litter problems!

Recycling is another constant issue: what are current procedures and how to inform new and established residents.  At this time, single stream seems to be working well,  That means that residents should NOT use plastic bags, but put everything to be recycled in the blue bins: plastic, metal and glass.  Paper should be put in paper bags nearby.

The new brochure has been in circulation this fall, with a brochure box under the 7-11 bulletin board that includes info from New England Conservatory.  Both brochures have been “disappearing,” a sign that people like the brochure box and the brochures.

Beautification
Dan reported that he has purchased with his own money a regulation wrought-iron tree pit fence out front of his house at 198 St. Botolph Street.  Anyone interested should contact the Back Bay Neighborhood Association, which will install, etc.

Flyer Help Needed
Helen Powell announced that, after several years doing the flyers, and setting up a good flyer team, she is stepping down.  Her replacement should figure on spending 2 hours every 6 weeks.  It is a time-sensitive project, however, meaning that the person should be able to get the 300 flyers out to 4-5 volunteers within a week of printing.  Claire might be able to “advertise” this job in the holiday e-blast.

Neighborhood GroupsDan outlined the following neighborhood and city associations and invited residents to participate and volunteer for these important committees.

Copley Place CAC

Representative:  Morgan Pierson  (Note:  Barry Tepper, a resident of West Newton is also on this panel as a representative from PMAC.)
Purpose:  Represents SBNA on the review process of the proposed addition to Copley Place above Niemen Marcus.  Formed just a few months ago and will go on for several years and then disband.

 

Christian Science CAC

Representative:  TBD (waiting on Mayor’s selection of one appointment from the three nominees.)
Purpose:  Represents SBNA on the review process of the proposed (and yet unannounced) changes to the Christian Science Plaza.  We expect the selection to be announced shortly and will disband upon completion of the process in a few years. 

PruPac

The Prudential Project Advisory Committee, the official Citizens Advisory Committee to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Contact: Rodney.Sinclair.BRA@cityofboston.gov, 617-918-4349
Representatives:  Bob Bradley and Nancy Restuccia
Purpose:  Represents SBNA on the review process of the overall Prudential Center complex including the current addition on Exeter Street and Boylston Street.  This is the grand daddy of CACs having been formed in the 80s or 90s with no end insight.   

PMAC

Representatives:  Barry Tepper and Karen Wynne.  (They coordinate so that there is always one in attendance.)
Purpose:  Represents the SBNA on the state panel that oversees the Southwest Corridor Park.  The group meets once a month and includes representatives of the abutting neighborhoods, State Police, Boston Police, Park Management and sometimes City Councilors. 

Landmarks District Commission

Representative:  Currently being addressed
Purpose:  Represents the SBNA in the architectural review process of any permit impacting the outside of any building in the neighborhood (a protected architectural district.)  Our representatives represent the voice of the neighborhood in the review process and are an official city committee which has to approve all permits.  This is somewhat duplicated by our own Architectural Committee which is unofficial and carries no weight.  Rob DiNinni volunteered to be on this committee.

The Southwest Corridor Park
is managed by the DCR, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Division of Urban Parks & Recreation. www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/metroboston/southwestCorr.htm

 

MDC, Metropolitan District Commission, no longer in existence

South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust (SELROSLT)
is a membership-supported, non-profit organization that owns, protects, and manages 16 community gardens and pocket parks in the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston, selroslt@earthlink.net, (617) 437-0999

SW Corridor Park Conservancy, green park volunteers.

The St. Botolph Neighborhood Association, has agreed to work with the Conservancy and post a link to their organization on its website. www.stbotolph.org.Contact: swc.volunteer@yahoo.com.  Dan d’Heilly, dldheily@yahoo.com

Copley CAC Presentation

Morgan Pierson, CAC Botolph representative to this important neighborhood group, gave a complete update on this large, Copley Place extension to Neiman Marcus.  He reported that it will be a big job setting up the building foundation, coordinating with the Mass Pike, correcting the tunnel under Dartmouth.  Meeting participants suggested there be additional efforts to resolve the loading dock situation on Dartmouth and also get some funds from Simon Properties, project developers, to help fund Corridor maintenance since their project will enter from the corridor, whose funding from the city has completely dried up.  There was agreement that, at the next neighborhood meeting, we discuss the use of public art and water features as elements to suggest to Simon Properties.

Corridor Planting
Conservancy Representative, Dan d’Heilly, invited residents to help plant spring bulbs this weekend, Saturday morning, November 15.

City Relations
It was suggested that Nancy Restuccia continue communication with newly-elected official,
Sonia Chang-Diaz, to get awareness of and support for the Botolph neighborhood.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10
Respectfully submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk

 

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood Meeting Minute

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.

Welcome Brochure
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.

Neighborhood Committees
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.

Neighborhood Crime
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.

Big Belly
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. 

Tenants’ Union
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.

Respectfully Submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk, SBNA

 

SBNA Meeting Minutes

St. Botolph Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood Meeting Minutes

February 13, 2008, 7:30 p.m.
Susan Bailis Center.

About 30 members gathered for refreshments and conversation while speakers were setting up.  Vice President, Chris Coffin, introduced both speakers, mentioned that the next neighborhood meeting is April 9th, Election Night, when it is hoped the neighborhood will add a President and a new Vice President to the existing Board:

Chris Coffin, Retiring Vice President
Helen Powell, Clerk, running for the same office in April
Gary Dwyer, Treasurer, running for the same office in April
Claire Dargan, Membership Chair (not a board office), volunteering again in April, etc.
Nancy Restuccia, Past President, volunteering again in April, etc.
April 26 is the date set for the Spring Clean up.  It is a Saturday morning.
Other dates are posted on the bulletin board and on the stbotolph.org website.

Speaker: Park Volunteer Representative, Franco Campanello

Franco Campanello, President of the Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy, represents a group of volunteer gardeners who are concerned about the condition of our one-wonderful park.    The Conservancy has recently gotten non-profit, 501-C3 status and a grant of $26K with which it hopes to make modest improvements to save the rapidly deteriorating park:

         Replace dead trees from West Newton to Carleton, est. $2-3K.
         Establish a butterfly garden at Mass Avenue T stop area, est. $8K.
         Install 24” fencing at Rutland Square, est. $8K.
         Install Carleton Court planting bed, est. $1K

A number of park stressers have to be resolved: persistent drought, broken irrigation system, dog owner neglect, and an underground subway system. Here are the key players in park life:

The Southwest Corridor Park is managed by the DCR, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Division of Urban Parks & Recreation.  The park opened in 1987, is a 4.7 mile, 52-acre, linear park stretching from the Back Bay to Forest Hills. It links the neighborhoods of South End, Back Bay, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain with a street-level, green open space for parkland and recreation. Approximately a quarter of the parkland is decked over the railroad tracks, providing more space for grass and plantings, and such recreational facilities as 11 tot lot areas, 2 spray pools, 7 basketball courts, 5 tennis courts, 2 street hockey rinks, 2 amphitheaters, and approximately six miles of biking, jogging and walking paths.www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/metroboston/southwestCorr.htm
PMAC, Parkland Management Advisory Committee
MDC, Metropolitan District Commission, no longer in existence
SBNA, The St. Botolph Neighborhood Association, which has agreed to work with the Conservancy and post a link to their organization on its website. www.Stbotolph.org.
South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust (SELROSLT) is a membership-supported, non-profit organization that owns, protects, and manages 16 community gardens and pocket parks in the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston, selroslt@earthlink.net, (617) 437-0999
SW Corridor Park Conservancy, green park volunteers.  Contact: swc.volunteer@yahoo.com
Boston Police Department: patrolling on a regular basis?
PRUPAC, the Prudential Project Advisory Committee, the official Citizens Advisory Committee to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Contact: Rodney.Sinclair.BRA@cityofboston.gov, 617-918-4349

Northeastern University
Northeastern has an Environmental Department with engineering resources we might access.Lorraine Norwick might be a contact person here.
Helen Powell suggested we contact The Friends of Boston Garden, Henry Lee, to see how that group has organized itself and been so successful, working with the city and other agencies.

Speaker: Bill, Eddy, representing Big Belly Corporation
Bill Eddy made a presentation to the group explaining how these solar trash compactors save money and energy while helping residents keep neighborhoods clean.  The Boston-based, 5 year old company has sold BB’s in New York, Chicago and as far away as Australia.  Eddy showed a video and answered questions about the 330 pound, installed units that are animal and tamper proof.   At the moment, the SBNA is investigating ways of getting funding from the city, area businesses, etc.  For two BB’s, we would need about $7K. bigbelly.com.

Neighborhood Blog

Resident Dan Munson has set up an informal neighborhood blog where people can share ideas about the neighborhood: http://stbotolph.blogspot.com/.

Additional Participants

Boston City Councillor, John R. Connolly, sent his Policy Director, Adam Webster, to attend the meeting and report back.  Councilor Connolly wants to be in the information loop: Adam.Webster@cityofboston.gov, 617-635-3115, zip 02201.

Betsy Johnson, Executive Director of the American Community Gardening Association and President of the South End Lower Roxbury Land Trust, a volunteer-run organization that owns and manages 16 community gardens in Boston.  Betsy has 30 years of community activism experience in urban open space improvement, air quality, occupational health, recycling, and neighborhood development issues.

Janet Hunkel, who was not at the meeting, is another good resource. Jan.Hunkel@gmail.com

The meeting adjourned at 9:00.
Respectfully Submitted,
Helen Powell, Clerk