BVHDC Continues Discussion on Proposed Changes to District Guidelines

The Bay Village Historic District Commission (BVHDC) met briefly on Dec. 10 to discuss proposed changes to the Bay Village Historic District Commission Regulatory Standards.

The Commission reached out to the Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) several months ago, asking for comments and feedback on the new guidelines but have yet to hear back.

Nothing has been changed on the draft document since 2018, so Joseph Cornish, Director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission, recommended to the BVHDC that they look at it again “with fresh eyes” and come back for the January meeting with comments about it.

Several of the Commissioners had already taken another look at it. “I think it looks really good, nicely presented, and organized in a clear, coherent way,” said BVHDC Commissioner Stephen Dunwell. He added that it “includes a lot of the climate resilience agenda that some voices were asking for.”

One piece of information Dunwell said he’d like to see on the guidelines are a brief statement of the Commission’s mission to maintain historical integrity in the district. Having an “overarching vision at the beginning” of the document will lay out the duty of the BVHDC, which Dunwell said includes preserving the “historic fabric we have” in context of evolution, changes of use, and renovations within the district.

Dunwell also praised the section of the guidelines that deals with new construction, as he said this “will become a hot topic in 2020,” with several large projects expected to come down the line in Bay Village next year. One such project could be a proposal for the Boston Center for Adult Education building and its adjacent parking lot, Dunwell added, as the parcels are for sale. “It’s important that the segment on new construction be clear,” he said. The next steps for the Commission include continued discussion on these proposed guidelines at the January public hearing, where comments will be compiled into a revised draft.

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