BLC Discusses New Guidelines for Bay Village, Executive Committee Votes on Licensing Matters

At the Bay Village Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 10, Joe Cornish, director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC), gave a presentation regarding the updating of the Bay Village Historic District guidelines.

Cornish said that Bay Village ”probably has the most vague and confusing guidelines,” and currently only the front facades and side elevations that are visible from the public way are included in the scope of protection.

Rear elevations are not currently protected.

Cornish said that one of the major changes they’re proposing is to expand the protection to anything that is visible from the public way. He also provided those in attendance with a copy of the draft.

“We worked very hard to come up with this draft,” he said, and they are continuing to work to make it an attractive, accessible, and easy to understand document.

Cornish reminded the Bay Village community that one thing that’s very important to the BLC is whether or not windows are original wood. He said that if someone has a 1970s replacement window, the Commission would want it to be replaced with something that looks historic. If the windows are original wood, he said that the Commission would ask that they be restored.

In response to a question about the sustainability of restoring wood windows, Cornish said that they had an intern who helped with the language of climate change within the document.

He said he will be coming back to the October Bay Village Executive Committee meeting to gather feedback from the community once they’ve had time to look over the new guidelines.

“This is a very public process,” he said. “We really want all of your input.”

He said there will be several hearings as well.

“We want to be a resource for you,” said Cornish, and he encouraged the community to call up the BLC and give them some suggestions.


Following up on the last Bay Village Licensing and Planning Meeting, BVNA President Bethany Patten said that the W Hotel has put in a request for bottle service at its bars to accommodate party planners and to keep up with the competition. She told the rest of the Executive Committee that the police have told her that they are opposed to this idea because they don’t want any more “riff raff” in the neighborhood.

The Executive Committee voted to oppose the bottle service and support the police’s recommendation.


Also discussed was the lodging house at 119 Berkeley St., which has asked for approval for an additional number of occupants. Right now, they have a license for 25 occupants and want to increase that to 38 to accommodate couples and families.

BVNA Vice President Sarah Herlihy said that lodging houses are conditional uses throughout the city, some are dorms, some are rooming houses. She said that they asked the proponent to “put a reasonable restriction” on the length of stay for his residents, but she said he wouldn’t commit to that. The Executive Committee voted to oppose the request for the additional/occupancy limit.


Patten then turned to issues of public safety, including the rash of vandalism on cars in the Bay Village neighborhood. She said that there was good turnout at the last safety meeting, with more people than she’s ever seen. She said that Sergeant Moy has been “incredible when it comes to being responsive and calling people on his day off.” Patten also said that he “spent a long time” talking to her about how to address vandalism. She said one of the most important things is knowing the difference between 311 and 911, and 911 should be called when a crime is involved. She told those in attendance that they should be encouraging their neighbors to file police reports if they see something.

The next BVNA Planning/Licensing Committee meeting will be held next Monday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at the South Cove Apartments, and the 47th annual Bay Village Neighborhood Block Party will be held on Sept. 20 on Melrose Street from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Go to for ticket prices and more information.

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