January 25, 2022 Minutes

St. Marks Area Civic Association (SMACA)

Jan. 25, 2022 meeting, minutes by acting secretary, Laurie Martinelli

In-person meeting in basement of St. Mark’s Church

Attendance, including speakers:  42

  1. Welcome – Sydney Miller, Acting Chair
  1. Welcome – Sydney Miller, Acting Chair


  1. Police Report – Officer Mike Keaney
  • A couple Auto break-in; one car was not locked and purse was inside!!!
  • Gun shots fired at a driver – driver ok but went to hospital;
  • 4 teens stealing bikes on Geneva Ave. One teen has a 45 caliber gun; charged w 6 felonies


  1. Elected Officials reports:

George Huynh, Mayor’s  liaison to Dorchester reported the following ([email protected]) :

  • New leadership at Boston’s Neighborhood services - Enrique Pepin, Brianna Lenore, John Romano.
  • Mayor Wu Administration is requiring vaccination proof for many indoor venues – all Boston employees also.
  • Boston Police Dept Commissioner Search Committee is having their 2nd or 3rd Zoom community public meeting on 1/26; all are invited. Mayor Wu has put together a stellar search committee chaired by retired chief justice of the Mass. Judicial Court, Geraldine Hines.
  • Lots of community concerns about parking minimums for new developments. Several members asked that we address at a future SMACA meeting.


Leon David, new Legislative aid from Senator Nick Collins

  • $25 mil from COVID federal relief money being released by Legislature;
  • Voting Rights bill passed Senate but still waiting for house.
  • Contact Leon w any questions/concerns for Senator Collins: [email protected]


  1. Development Proposals
  2. 1677 Dorchester Ave; to add an office to a 3 family house. NO SHOW which means SMACA automatically sends a letter to ZBA opposing this project.
  3. 4 - 6 Ashmont Park. Darren Swain and his business partner, Andrew Schena presented their proposal to tear down 2 homes on Ashmont Park dead end street and erect two buildings – each 4 story with 4 unit condominium units, front and rear decks, plus 5 parking spaces in back.  (for a total of 8 units)

Developers presented plans and explanation.  Their proposal violates Boston zoning in several ways:

  • Condos complex in this residential neighborhood is a “forbidden use”
  • Height of buildings and number of floors exceed zoning.
  • Floor area ratio is excessive.
  • Insufficient open space, insufficient side yard.
  • Driveway width insufficient.

Abutters issues:

  • Claim that mansard roof fits into the neighborhood. Neighbors contest this claim saying there are no mansard roofs in the neighborhood;
  • Abutters wanted smaller projects which is why developers are building 2 smaller projects instead of 1 large project. 4 stories still too high.
  • Lots of discussion about narrow street and cars won’t be able to get in and out of property or street.
  • The potential increase in demand for street parking and the elimination of green space were also raised.


  1. 15 Parkman Street: Benjamin Lee presented his proposal for a 2nd time to SMACA “to erect at 4 story family home,” on an abandoned property.   Lee reported based on his last presentation to SMACA he reduced the number of bedrooms in each apartment.   Mike Folan pointed out the square footage “footprint” is till the same.

All developers left the room and SMACA members discussed and voted on the 2 proposals.

4 – 6 Ashmont Park:  Several abutters were at the meeting.  Dale Senechal presented professional drawings showing the proposed height of these buildings that would tower over the houses already on the street.  Abutters are very much opposed.

VOTE:  Yes:  4 SMACA members

              No:  19 SMACA members

15 Parkman:  One member spoke eloquently about why SMACA should support this project because it’s basically been an empty house for many years and we should support someone who wants to improve the property.    Some pushback about whether this is the “right” kind of development we want in our neighborhood.

VOTE:  YES:   4 SMACA members

             NO:  17 SMACA members


Meeting adjourned at 8:35pm

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published this page in Meeting Minutes 2022-02-11 16:24:11 -0500
St. Marks Area Civic Association
The St. Marks Area Civic Association is a group of community conscious residents who want to improve the quality of life in our section of Dorchester. We meet in the lower hall of St, Marks Church, at 1725 Dorchester Ave on the last Tuesday of each month