The Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) held their annual meeting at the Revere Hotel on Oct. 30. Over 50 members and neighbors gathered for hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and cocktails before listening to updates from the Executive Committee about happenings and milestones over this past year.
“It’s been a really fun year,” said BVNA President Bethany Patten. She thanked the other members for all of their hard work over the year, especially former president Sarah Herlihy for showing her the ropes and being a mentor to her throughout her first year as president.
Patten said that the city is changing, with a number of growing trends towards urban living. She said that there are three times the number of Ubers on the streets than there were in 2013 as well as more residential units being built, and “being part of a neighborhood association is a way of engaging in those topics.”
Rep. Aaron Michlewitz spoke about happenings at the State House, especially what’s going on with the short-term rental legislation, as that is an important issue in the Bay Village neighborhood. Michlewitz said they’re at the “one-yard line”—the bill has been passed, and the House and Senate agreed to parameters around taxation and legislation.
However, Gov. Charlie Baker sent the bill back with “four amendments packaged into one,” Michlewitz said. He said that since they are now in informal session, nothing can pass unless everyone agrees—both Democrats and Republicans. He added that they are negotiating with the governor about how to get this passed by the end of the year.
“We have a lot of work to do still; we have a long way to go,” he said. “I need my constituents to be active, to be vocal, telling me exactly what you want me to hear.”
Michlewitz encouraged those in attendance to attend his coffee hour on Nov. 3 at Berkeley Park in the South End.
Dan Moll gave an update on public safety in Bay Village over the past year. He said that 275 crimes happened in Bay Village, but “Part One crimes for our district were down by four incidents,” he said. He said they have been focused on the “problem property” on Cortes Street. They have communicated with the property management people for that building to improve the situation.
Another big problem in Bay Village is graffiti, Moll said. “About 91 percent of graffiti that has been reported has been removed,” he said. He added that they are working with the city on removing the rest. Heading into next year, he said that they hope to reduce petty theft and car break-ins, as well as put security cameras up throughout the neighborhood with the help of developers.
Patten added that the Boston Police Department has been “very responsive” to concerns of the neighborhood, and she is “really impressed with their engagement.”
Ben Beck gave the Planning Committee update, and listed off properties that have been approved, are under construction, or are on the horizon. There are quite a few projects going on Isabella Street. “That whole street is going to be transformed, which is cool and well needed,” Beck said. The focus for next year will be on the Motor Mart Garage project, which BVNA hopes to work with the developer on to negotiate how it will impact the neighborhood, as well as 67-69 Church St. and the Isabella St. church project.
Patten said this year has been a quiet one on the licensing front, with the neighborhood association opposing a proposal for bottle service for the W Hotel on Stuart Street, as well as opposing an increase in occupancy for a lodging house on Berkely Street due to worries that it could be converted into an Airbnb in the future.
Sen. Joseph Boncore also attended the meeting, and praised the level of engagement he sees when he comes to meetings in Bay Village. “When we have Impact Advisory Groups, there are always people who want to be a part of it,” he said.
“There’s a lot going on on Beacon Hill,” he added. “I get a lot of calls on issues.” He also reminded everyone to vote, saying “I can’t tell you how important it is at the federal level.”
Joe Kuranda from the BVNA Parks/Public Spaces Committee said they have received funding approval to redo the Isabella Street Park. “Green spaces go so far for our neighborhoods,” he said.
Nancy Morrisroe from City Services gave an update on the rat problem, reminding everyone that the city can only bait public property, so anyone who sees rat burrows should report it, so “we can stay on top of the rat problem.”
City Councilor At-Large Anissa Essaibi-George provided remarks about her work on the education committee, as well as on the Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Recovery, before everyone moved back to the vestibule to mingle with snacks and drinks once more to celebrate another successful year of the BVNA.