Two Projects Return Before BBAC; Receive Approval

A couple of projects came back to the Back Bay Architectural Commission on May 8 with new proposals, after being asked to make changes. The first was the forthcoming Chick-fil-A restaurant at 569 Boylston St., represented by architect Jeremy Lindsey. At a previous hearing, the Commission was not happy with the proposed signage or the roof plan. At the hearing on May 8, Lindsey proposed a new sign that had a tan background instead of a stark white one in order to better fit within the historical district. “The finish as shown is a pretty typical stucco finish,” he said, and the sign has some internal-lit components with a metal surround.

Lindsey said there were two options for a new roof plan, but the Commission said they prefer if an extended parapet would be used to shield the equipment from view, as it would blend in better. Commissioner Robert Weintraub said that the parapet “should be a color that blends in and fades into the background,” not a darker color that draws the eye to the roof line. “I would agree,” said Commissioner John Christiansen. The Commission voted to approve the application with the proviso that the extended parapet option is used for shielding the mechanical equipment, rather than the other proposed screening option.

At 237 Newbury St., the site of Serafina restaurant, architect Ryan Noone returned before the Commission to present the proposal for the restaurant’s patio area. There are two upper patios, which Noone called Upper Patio A and Upper Patio B. Upper Patio A, Noone said, is only to be used by the restaurant when the Safar salon is not in business, which is usually evenings and Sundays. Upper Patio A has ten proposed seats around round tables. Upper Patio B would have 30 seats around round tables with four proposed umbrellas. Under these patios are storage areas where the furniture would be stored when not in use, Noone said.

The Commission seemed a little concerned about how cramped the seating areas looked, but Noone said that both the Inspectional Services Department and the Fire Department approved the restaurant for 69 people on the patios. Noone pointed out that he was proposing less seats than that, but did say that this particular diagram of the seats has not yet been shown to the Fire Department.

“I think we can set that aside and let’s just concentrate on the design,” Weintraub said.

Noone also talked about the lower patio, where he proposed a bench, four tables with three seats and one table with two seats, as well as planters underneath an overhang that would serve as a buffer so people wouldn’t be able to sit. All umbrellas are 7.5 feet wide and 7 feet tall with no writing on them. The previously proposed ones were orange and had writing, but after meeting with the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB), those changes were made.

“I’m very pleased to see the changes you’ve made since our meeting,” said Sue Prindle of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. The speakers that were previously installed have also since been removed at the request of the neighborhood.

Christiansen was very displeased with the proposed table that would sit in front of the stairway to the Safar salon. “For me to vote for it, I’d like to see that one table taken out,” he said.

The Commission ultimately voted to approve the application as submitted, provided that the applicant follow all health and fire code regulations and that the current planters are modified to fit within the property line.

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