Back Bay Architectural Commission Approves DAS Nodes on Streetlights

By Beth Treffeisen

At the Back Bay Architectural meeting on October 13, the commissioners approved to expand the existing Wireless Distributed Antenna System (DAS) in the Back Bay.

This involves adding 19 new DAS nodes on various streetlights between Berkeley Street and Hereford Street by removing the proviso that the arms supporting the light fixtures be curved.

Daniel Glissman who was proposing the project said the straight arm pole is the only way to replace it and that they have already ordered the parts for them after gaining approval from other city departments.

“How far back in the process should we come about the historic process?” asked Commissioner Patti Quinn. “We are too far down the stream?”

Glissman did point out that there are existing nodes already throughout historic parts of Boston.

Commissioner Lex Stevens pointed out, “There’s nothing historic about the curbed arms.”

The Commission denied without prejudice the proposed work at 197 Commonwealth Avenue. The project consists of installing two copper-clad dormers on existing pitched roof and installation of decorative ironwork at all elevations.

Concerns about how the drawings where inaccurate was brought up by an abutting neighbor. This caused the commission to ask for more detail drawings.

Wendy Forsyth of 222 Marlborough Street was concerned that the new windows proposed would allow her neighbors to look straight into her dining room and bathroom.

“This will put giant aft windows looking in four to five feet closer to my apartment,” said Forsyth who also pointed out that is not reflected in the drawings. “But more importantly somebody will be able to look at me on the toilet!”

The Commission approved the proposed work at 240A Newbury Street. Proposed work included removal of existing fire escapes from all elevations, demolition of 1960s connection and replacement with a four level connecting structure.

It will also allow for the demolition of existing Newbury Street bump out and replacement with a new projection. It will allow for construction of egress stairs and elevator at rear patio along with an installation of new mechanical equipment on the roof.

“Our goal is to restore as carefully as possible the modern new interconnection but keep it complimentary to the existing,” said the head architect of the project for his applicant Vincent G. Norton, Jr.

“What you’ve done is what we’re about,” said Commissioner John Christiansen.

Earlier in the meeting there was a violations hearing addressing removal of a tree at 274 Clarendon Street. The commission asked for a site plan and that violator work with the Back Bay garden club to come to a good solution for a replacement tree.

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