Bay Village Gets Urban Renewal Update

The Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) held its monthly Executive Committee meeting on December 2. Despite the short agenda, several neighbors came out to the South Cove Apartments for the meeting.

First up on the agenda was a brief presentation from Chris Breen, Urban Renewal Manager at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) about Urban Renewal Zones. Breen said that there are 16 Urban Renewal areas in Boston, and the city has been working on an inventory of Land Disposition Agreements (LDA), which, according to the BPDA, is “an agreement with the BPDA that governs the transfer and use of BPDA owned parcels; typically recorded with the deed.”

This information has been collected and is available for public viewing on the zoning viewer on the BPDA website. Breen said that the LDAs will be available for download, and they include the South Cove urban renewal area as well as some parcels in Bay Village. He said that this was Phase One of the community process, and he will be coming back to the community some time early next year for Phase Two at select urban renewal areas, South Cove being one of them. The point of the next phase is to discuss the goal changes of the urban renewal plans. “The second round will require a lot of community input,” Breen said.

One of the Bay Village parcels includes a piece of the land on Warrenton St. that is currently being leased to the Blue Man Group for storage and managed as a dog park. Breen said that lease expires in February of 2021, and there is a possibility of a transfer of the land to the Boston Parks Department. “There are no current discussions for further development on that parcel,” Breen said.

More information regarding the Urban Renewal Zones can be found on the BPDA website.

After Breen’s presentation, the BVNA briefly discussed two licensing and planning matters that were discussed at the committee meeting in November. The first was the Nahita building, and as of a few weeks ago, the Nahita restaurant ceases to exist, according to Bethany Patten, President of the BVNA.

Tom Perkins of the BNVA Licensing & Planning Committee said that Nahita still has a lease on their building, and Patten added that Nahita is “trying to reinvent their concept” and are applying for the same approvals as they have in the past. Perkins said a new group came to the committee seeking non-opposition, but the BNVA provided the group with an example of a non-cooperation agreement for their operation of the building, which includes provisions similar to the ones given to Nahita. Examples of such provisions include a 1:00am closing time (which is still being negotiated), valet parking nd not speeding through the neighborhood. “Formally this will come to us in January I think as a proposal,” Perkins said.

The group also discussed what they call the “Castle Building,” which is the former Smith & Wollensky restaurant space in the Park Plaza Castle. The proposal is to turn the space into a function hall for corporate events, weddings, and similar functions. There was a question of whether this location is zoned for entertainment, which might bring up issues and the need for a zoning variance to have entertainment at the venue.

BVNA member Sarah Herlihy also added that there have been complaints in the past with noise in the area from loading in and out, so that would have to be something that is further discussed with the project proponents.

Lastly, the BNVA holiday party is scheduled for Sunday, December 8 from 6:00-8:00pm at O’Connor’s Restaurant. Prior to the party, a tree lighting and caroling celebration will be held at the Church Street Park, where Santa Claus will make a special visit. The holiday party is free and open to all BVNA members; registration required.

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