BLC Approves Lighting for Christian Science Complex, Votes on Properties’ Eligibility for CPA Funding

During the design review portion of the Boston Landmarks Commission hearing on Sept. 25, the Christian Science Complex proposed to install exterior lighting on the Church structures. Commissioner David Berarducci told the rest of the commission at the business hearing that this is a phased lighting proposal.

Berarducci said the applicant wants to light the original church and the extension “a little more efficiently.” “They worked hard to conceal them and minimize their appearance,” Berarducci said of the light fixtures. He said that they did discuss having the applicant minimize shadows that would affect the architecture of the churches.

The original church will be illuminated from within, but the extension will not. The globes on the ground fixtures will have clear LED bulbs inside, and existing lights for the building will be changed to LEDs as well, so the color will be the same across the whole structure.

The commission voted to approve this proposal with no provisos.

Joe Cornish, director of design review for the Boston Landmarks Commission, then presented the commission with an update to the Bay Village Historic District Guidelines. Cornish recently presented these to the Bay Village community at a neighborhood association meeting on Sept. 10 and provided them with the document to study.

As he told Bay Village, Cornish told the commission that the current scope of protection in Bay Village only includes front and side elevations; rear elevations and additions are not currently protected. He said the first step is to expand the scope of protection. In addition, the guidelines were never updated; the current guidelines are the same ones from 1983 when the historic district was created.

Cornish also said that the new document will be online and be a living document, meaning it can be easily updated for everyone to see quickly.

He said that a comment he received at the Bay Village Neighborhood Association meeting is that people have a fear of coming to the commission and that it is not very user friendly.

“We want to use these guidelines as a resource,” Cornish said.

Commissioner Thomas Hotaling said that though every district is different, he wondered if it could be one document for all districts with a special section for each individual district. He said it would be “standardizing to a degree the guidelines for all of the neighborhood districts.”

Cornish said he would be going back to the Bay Village Neighborhood Association next week to gather comments and feedback from the community.

Next, the commission voted on whether five different items/buildings were historic resources worthy of funding. A smaller committee looked at several projects and brought five to the full commission for voting. The criteria used for the five projects were: architectural significance, historic/cultural significance, location/neighborhood context, and impact of potential loss.

The five different items include papers from the Freedom House that are currently being stored at Northeastern University, and artifacts inside Faneuil Hall building.

“I don’t see any reason not to include any of these,” Commissioner Hotaling said. “They should all go to the next step.”

The Commission voted to approve these projects, and CPA Director Christine Poff reiterated that this motion “only establishes eligibility for CPA funding.” These projects will still have to go through the same process as all of the other proposals to receive CPA funding.

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