by Rick Winterson
All of the neighborhoods in the more residential areas of South Boston have civic organizations that look out for key issues and the well-being of their residents, as well as fostering social, “good neighbor” activities in their areas. There are seven of these civic organizations; they generally meet monthly.
It is January of 2018. South Boston Online plans on covering certain of these civic meetings early in the year, and then reporting on those issues that might have interest for all of South Boston during 2018. The CPNA (City Point Neighborhood Association) met last night – Tuesday, January 09. Two key issues, both dealing with zoning, were prime topics of discussion.
The first issue involved the actual application to City Point of the so-called South Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (“IPOD”). Simply stated, the IPOD is a revised zoning plan that allows more residential development without the constant need to ask for variances (i.e., exceptions) because of the original zoning restrictions. As one attendee put it, the IPOD now makes most of the open areas in South Boston “buildable”. The CPNA was mostly concerned about maintaining the neighborhood characteristics of City Point.
There are three forces at work here: The desires of current residents to “quiet enjoyment” of their neighborhoods as they stand, the rights of individual property owners to do as they wish with what they own, and the incessant demand from developers (and the City of Boston itself) for additional housing.
The CPNA’s second zoning issue relates to a specific variance. In general, the City of Boston bans billboards, although exceptions are made through formal requests for variances. This specific variance is for an 18’x18’ illuminated billboard looking out on L Street from the side of the building at 749 East Broadway. It appears that the approval of this variance was properly handled, but the process was excessively murky due to a one-year delay in construction coupled with a new City administration as of 2014.
This is not to lay blame anywhere, but just to point out that the last thing L and Broadway needs is a huge billboard.
We plan to cover the Andrew Square Civic Association meeting next, which will present information about the March 18 Parade routing. Other civic organizations are welcome to contact us to cover key issues that will arise at their upcoming meetings.
Please let us hear from you.