Minutes February 28, 2023

Saint Mark’s Area Civic Association (SMACA) Meeting Minutes
2/28/23, 2023 7:00pm
Basement of St. Mark’s Church
Minutes by Kendra Beaver, Secretary
Attendees (including speakers): 25

Police Report — Officer Mike Keaney
● Feb. 26, 1:17 am - an unknown call came into the station, and upon arriving at the requested
address, a woman was found at the site who had 10 warrants; she was arrested
● Feb. 26, 5 Semont Rd - a fight broke out and a window was punched out by a woman; she was
arrested for that
● Officer Keaney suggested reading this Dorchester Reporter article entitled “Officials cite
widespread thefts from mailboxes, say timing key to safe posts” to learn what precautions to
take to keep your mail safe
Representatives of Elected Officials updates & answers to questions
● Angela Yarde (617-635-3131, [email protected]), Councilor Worrell’s office
○ Council still working on the City Budget, and Councilor Worrell wants to know what
members want funded in their community via the budget
■ Member suggested putting in legal aid for residents fighting developers
○ Mayor Wu is trying to bring other small departments together to make up for the
functions of what the Boston Planning & Development Agency used to do
○ Councilor Worrell has been advocating for affordable homeownership and secured
$50M from ARPA to fund it; secured 70 parcels (of 150 parcels available) in Mattapan
& Dorchester for homeownership
○ Member question: What is the Councilor’s take on 150 Centre St?
■ Angela could not answer specifically since she didn’t get any notes on that
■ Members said he has not taken a position (and one called him yesterday) →
Angela said she will go back to him and ask
■ BPDA public hearing for 150 Centre St was on Thursday, March 2, at 6pm
Community Process for New Neighborhood Developments
● Businesses
○ In what instances would a business be required to follow a community process for
■ When a new business replaces an old business that went out of business
■ When they’re applying for a liquor license
■ A brand new business is coming into the neighborhood
■ Removing any outstanding existing permit on a property
○ What is the process?
■ Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) will set up a date for an abutters
meeting (“abutters” are within a 300 ft radius)
■ Mayor’s liaison makes a flyer to share out to the neighborhood
■ The applicant (business, in this case) is responsible for notifying neighbors; if
they don’t, a new abutters meeting has to be rescheduled
■ Discussion happens during abutters meeting with business → business goes to
the local civic association(s) → business goes to the zoning board of appeals
(ZBA) for a vote in favor of or in opposition to the proposal
● Home Modification & New Developments under 15 units
○ In what instances would a developer be required to follow a community process for
■ When they’re doing something “wrong”/not allowed in the zoning code
● Proposed developments that meet zoning requirements don’t have to go
through a community process
○ What is the process?
■ Notice goes out
■ Abutters meeting occurs
■ Presentation to and discussion with civic association(s)
■ Vote from the ZBA
■ *Do not need to go to the BPDA
● Question from member: What are some of the most common refusal letter examples?
○ Too many units; not enough parking; side yard violation (means the building is too
close to the property line)
● Home Modification & New Developments over 15 units
○ The developer is required to go to the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
for approval first, and then to the ZBA if they have any violations
● ZBA has the final decision
○ They can vote based on their personal opinion; they (theoretically should) take into
account what’s presented to them but aren’t held to any requirements
○ There are time limits during ZBA meetings, and attendees will be cut off
■ Mike recommended people attending the meetings together come prepared to
do a longer presentation as a group in sections so nothing gets missed by one
person being cut off
● If a developer changes the project in the middle of the community process, they have to restart
the community process
SMACA Board Nomination & Voting Process
● Nominations for the SMACA board will occur during our March meeting
● The April meeting is where votes happen
● One must be a paid-up member for at least 30 days to be on the board
● Jim Rodenmacher described his role as Treasurer and past donations we’ve made (e.g. Project
DEEP, DorchFest, Walk for Peace); write a check when need be, pay bills, collect membership
● Other current officers described their position descriptions, which can be read here
● Current board members Jim (Treasurer), Doug (Vice President), and Kendra (Secretary)
shared that they may or may not remain in the SMACA area later this year as they are moving;
please consider running/nominating for their positions, and they are willing to support
transitioning the new board members into the role!
Report Back on Survey Actions
● In response to feedback SMACA received from the 2022 survey…
○ In an ef ort to spend more time getting to know each other: A SMACA Social Events
Committee has come together: 9 members who are interested in coordinating social
events, such as: neighborhood potlucks, yard sales, toy/clothing swap, restaurant
nights, halloween parade, game nights, etc.; reach out to [email protected] if you’d
like to join, host, or have ideas
○ In an ef ort to attract more parents:
■ Board member Laurie is planning a summer solstice SMACA family BBQ at
Wainwright Park on 6/21/23 from 5:30-8:30pm; mark your calendars, and info
to come once the reservation of the park is confirmed
■ New SMACA member Lara Shkordoff will post about SMACA meetings and
events on the Dorchester Parents Facebook group
○ In an ef ort to spread the word about the civic association and attract a membership
more representative of our neighborhood: The board is making 500-1000 copies of
door hangers with info about SMACA to put up on the doors of everyone in the
■ Please let us know if you’re interested in helping us hang them up (likely option:
people will be able to pick some up at future meetings and distribute them on
chosen street(s))
■ The board hopes to have the hangers by next month or the month after
Community Announcements
● Please share our new SMACA flyers by forwarding it to a friend virtually or posting them in
your neighborhood by printing them out
● Jim suggested bringing Project DEEP to be a guest speaker at one of our future meetings
● Our membership year runs from April 1-March 31; please renew your membership by bringing
a check/cash to the next meeting and filling out the form, or pay via PayPal
● The Doherty-Gibson playground is finished is officially opened; a member shared they she
enjoys taking her family there!
● Abutters from 150 Centre St proposal:
○ Have been discussing what do they actually want to happen here (as opposed to what
they don’t like about the current development proposal):
■ A path to homeownership, units that are family sized, more greenspace
○ Started a group called Build Together Shawmut: www.buildtogethershawmut.com
■ See a petition in opposition for the project there
○ The only public hearing for this development is March 2 at 6pm
○ View more info on the BPDA website for the development
● A member raised a concern about how tightly controlled the virtual ZBA meetings are:
○ ZBA cutting people off
○ Attendee questions/comments only visible to the moderator who can choose whether
or not to raise those questions/comment to the public
○ How can we make the process more democratic?
Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in Meeting Minutes 2023-03-21 22:05:30 -0400
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