South End Landmark District Commission Update

January 11, 2018
By

By Beth Treffeisen

The South End Landmark District Commission held a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Although the agenda was light, a few key things were passed and or continued to the following month. A prior story outlined the decision of the South End Library Park.

 

Bicycle Racks Galore

The South End will soon see a slew of bicycle racks installed at various locations throughout the South End, courtesy of the Boston Transportation Department. These are not Hubway bike stations but regular bike racks, with a metal pole and circular loop to attach a personal bike to.

The 15 new locations can be seen on the map to the right. The darker markers represent the locations that have been slightly changed to accommodate community feedback. Some locations have one bike rack and others have up to three.

 

Antenna Problems

An upgrade to existing rooftop telecommunications facility at 725 – 743 Tremont St. by Crown Castle telecommunications representing T-Mobile, caused some stir with the Commission. The work involved replacing three, existing antennas and adding four antennas; removing existing cables; and adding new fiber lines and power lines.

The Commission voiced that generally they were in agreement with expanding the existing boxes that surround the antennas on the roof; they were not in agreement with creating a new one.

The Commission asked for a better explanation as to why one antenna can’t be placed within an existing box, but is removed and further out to the street side.

“There are already other providers up there,” said Chair John Amodeo. “At what point do we say stop until the providers share the equipment?”

The Commission approved the application, with further explanation to staff.

 

Hole of Questions

An application at 232 West Canton St. to rebuild the front façade lightwell at the front garden left the Commissioners with a lot of questions. The presentation showed a hole through the plaster in the basement of the brownstone building leading into a 3-foot shaft underneath the front garden.

The applicant said the hole suggests there was once a lightwell or window there before, but, the Commissioners said they want further proof. In order to grant a new lightwell or opening in a front façade the Commission asks for evidence there was one there before or if it is a bedroom, they are allowed to punch through one to allow for an egress – demanded by fire code restrictions.

“We’re going to need to see more evidence that there was a window there and not just an opening,” said Commissioner Peter Sanborn. “It could have been just a coal pit or a utility door.”

The application was continued, and will need to provide more information.

Roof Deck Shrinkage

An application at 54 East Springfield St. asked to remove and replace a roof deck. The original roof deck was larger, and could be seen from a public way, but was approved before SELDC took affect.

The owners have to remove it due to safety problems and damage to the roof that needs to be fixed. Once a roof deck is taken off, the replacements are subject to the rules and regulations of SELDC.

After some questions on whether or not the front portion of the new, already smaller deck, was visible from East Springfield Street, the applicant gave-in and said he will just make it even smaller. This came after talk of relocating the spiral staircase sent the Commissioners in a dizzy as to how that could happen out of view and in code.

“This wouldn’t be the first time a replacement roof deck had to get smaller and narrower,” said Chair John Amodeo.

The application was approved with the front edge of the roof deck brought in further away from the street.

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