In 2005, the Boston City Council drafted an ordinance, “prohibiting the paving of yards in areas zoned for residential use.” That ordinance was never approved by the City Council. A vote will be taken at the March 5, 2018 CSHCA general meeting about whether to ask our city councilor to take this draft ordinance to the council for approval.
Download the residential Paving Ordinance draft (Adobe PDF; 586 k bytes).
Nobody wants the headaches and expensive plumbing bills to repair water damage in your home from water pipes that have frozen and burst. According to experts, local temperatures recently have remained consistently below the threshold at which the risk of frozen pipes rises. According to Consumer Reports, that risk also includes pipes inside your home:
“The pipes most at risk are those in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages. But even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls can freeze… Research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois shows that the “temperature alert threshold” is 20° F, especially if you have uninsulated pipes running through an uninsulated space. “
Some of the prevention tips:
“Keep garage doors closed… Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors… Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes… Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature…”
Read the full article by Consumer Reports for the complete list of prevention tips, and the explanations for each prevention tip. The article also explains how to safely thaw frozen pipes, so you don’t accidentally start a house fire.
The December 14th issue of DigBoston reported:
“… earnest technocrats at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA, formerly known as the BRA) still find it necessary to play the communitarian “public meeting” game when trying to sell bad deals that advance corporate interests to the working families who are all too often the targets of such deals… it’s nice to see that housing activists with the Dorchester Not For Sale coalition decided to crash a recent BPDA transit-oriented public meeting on its “PLAN: Glover’s Corner”—which is slated, among other things, to add hundreds of units of housing that will be mostly unaffordable to current Dot residents.”
“According to the Bay State Banner and the Dorchester Reporter, the Dorchester activists are taking a page from JP and Roxbury housing activists with the Keep It 100% for Egleston coalition who protested the larger BPDA PLAN: JP/Rox—which might ultimately involve thousands of units of new housing—until the city relented and mandated that 36 percent of the new units (and 40 percent overall, including units currently permitted for construction) must be affordable…”
The article cited an average medium income amount used by the City to define what “affordable” is, and the success of some activists to increase the number of affordable units in development projects. However:
“So while their activism raised the amount of “affordable” housing the BPDA planned to offer in the deal from 30 percent to 36 percent, it’s not going to help many people currently living in or near the affected neighborhoods to stay in the area unless the definition of affordable is changed to reflect economic reality. Given that fact, Mayor Marty Walsh’s much-vaunted progress on getting more affordable housing built on his watch is based largely on smoke and mirrors because much of it remains unaffordable to the people who need it most.”
Unfamiliar with the Glover’s Corner development project? You can learn more here.
Considering a repair or remodeling project for your home or property? Know your rights. The local CBS affiliate in Boston, WBZ-TV reported about problem consumers experienced with a national home-improvement chain:
“… the I-Team took a closer look at the Lowe’s home improvement contract, which required Sullivan to pay for her deck in full before work began, more than $12,000. “I was told that was the only way that they would do business,” explained Sullivan.
Ivy Schutt of Littleton said she was told the same story when she handed over $41,000 before any work began on her kitchen remodel. “I thought it was one-third, one-third, one-third. And they said that’s not Lowe’s policy,” said Schutt. Same story from Susan Bartzak-Graham of Newton…”
WBZ-TV didn’t stop there. It investigated further:
“The I-Team took the Lowe’s contract to the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to ask if it was legal. “As written now, no it is not,” said John Chapman, the Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs. “What was wrong with it, is that it was requiring consumers to pay 100-percent upfront and that’s not what the law states,” said Chapman.
The law states “any deposit… cannot exceed one-third of the total contract price” before work begins. Consumer Affairs immediately reached out to Lowe’s and Lowe’s agreed to make changes.”
The news report includes links to several important resources for consumers: the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contract Law, Required Home Improvement Contract Terms, how to check if a contractor has a license, and more.
Good. Kudos to WBZ-TV for looking out for consumers.
The 12 Carson Street formal abutters meeting has been moved to Monday, October 30 at 6:00 pm. Residents living within 300 feet of the property should receive flyers about the upcoming meeting, according to an e-mail from David Cotter, the Dorchester Liaison in the Boston Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (City Hall Room 805; phone 617-635-4819).
The proposed development is to convert an existing single-family home into two or three units.
The Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association (CSHCA) looks for properties in our neighborhood that are unsafe, unattractive, under-utilized, or has problems in other ways. We ask you to help us identify such properties and, if you’re willing, help us deal with them.
Please join us to help develop strategies to address each problem property or send an e-mail that identifies properties you’re not happy about. Address the e-mail to our Planning Committee chair, Eileen Fenton.
There are two major reasons to do this. The first reason is, simply, that we want to live in a quality neighborhood. While the vast numbers of parcels in the CSHCA area are nice, we do have some problem properties. We believe that the civic association can help improve these.
The second reason is that there are resources out there that could help if property owners were aware of them. The City of Boston has programs to help both home owners and business owners. Very often, many owners know nothing about them.
Additionally, the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC), a non-profit development company started by CSHCA members in 1978, offers both grants and loans to eligible residents. The grants range from $15,000 for a single family to $30,000 for a three family. These grants (that means free money!) are restricted to homeowners with household incomes less than $62,000. DBEDC has below market rate loans for higher income households and businesses. Again, most property owners don’t know about these resources.
The Planning Committee does not intend to be nasty, aggressive or strident in dealing with property owners. Our intention is to help property owners access resources necessary to improve their properties. Having the civic association actively supporting the property owner will help the owner. An owner that improves his/her property helps the neighborhood.
Please send us your problem sites and consider joining the committee to work on them.
The last neighborhood meeting about the 54 Pleasant Street development project was held on August 1st. According to the Dorchester Reporter:
“The development team offered two stark choices… saying the neighbors could get on board with a well-designed set of 17 condominium units or be left with a blocky set of nine rental units with above-ground parking. At a well-attended meeting hosted by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), neighbors expressed their discontent with the scope of the development and potential impacts on traffic and safety in the area…”
The proposed new condominium building would replace the existing Scally & Trayers Funeral Home at 54 Pleasant Street. Also:
“Attendees asked for alternatives to the underground parking in trade for a smaller unit count. Eileen Boyle of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association proposed nine units, but over a floor of above-ground parking to maintain the building’s shape… Sonia Kaszuba, who lives on Pearl Street, started a neighborhood petition to get the units reduced. In conversations with abutters, some were vehemently opposed to anything above six units, with others okay with a dozen. They split the difference and have been asking for nine.”
“[BPDA project manager John] Campbell dismissed the idea of the petition, which had gathered 85 signatories by Aug. 1. “Petitions don’t count for anything at all,” he said, asking instead that people submit comments to him via website, email, or mail. A public comment period on the proposal is open until Aug. 11…”
Residents and the BPDA clashed about zoning because the proposed development:
“… has a floor area ratio of 1.53, which [Pearl Street resident Mel] Parker pointed out is more than three times the ratio allowed by zoning… The higher the ratio, the more dense the development… BPDA project manager John Campbell, who was moderating the meeting, quickly reacted to Parker’s statements. “Do you realize how outdated that is?” he asked. “You’re talking about a 50-year-old zoning code… the zoning code is being changed neighborhood by neighborhood, and that’s what the Zoning Board of Appeals is for…”
Reportedly, several residents were shocked by that response, since current zoning law is the law.
Interested residents can view preliminary project documents and submit comments at the BPDA site, and join the 54 Pleasant Street Abutters group on Facebook.
The next neighborhood meeting about the proposed 17-unit condo development project at 54 Pleasant Street will be:
Date: Tuesday, August 1
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: McLaughlin Center / Boys & Girls Club, 1135 Dorchester Ave
A prior neighborhood meeting was held on July 22. To learn more about this project, attend this upcoming meeting. Spread the word or join the 54 Pleasant Street Abutters group on Facebook.
There will be a neighborhood meeting about the proposed 17-unit condo development project at 54 Pleasant Street:
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Location: Christ The Rock Church, 48 Pleasant Street
A group of concerned neighbors met on February 4, 2017 to discuss this project, which would replace the existing Scally-Trayers Funeral Home. The group consensus was that the 17-unit project was, “too large and excessive for this property, and poses a significant impact upon density (a/k/a “cramming”)… Sentiments were shared with the developer Joey Arcari and with the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association at multiple Planning Committee Meetings, whose board members agree there is a definite validity to all of these concerns…”
To learn more about the project, please attend this neighborhood meeting. According to the flyer, Councilor Baker will attend this meeting:
“The Planning Board, Mayor’s Office, and Councilor Frank Baker have explicitly said they are looking to hear from the neighborhood before deciding upon their final position, either for or against this project”
Spread the word or join the 54 Pleasant Street Abutters group on Facebook. If you are unable to attend the meeting and support a reduced scale development project, then sign the online petition.