Council supports saving farmhouse

December 1, 2006
By

LOU MANCINELLI

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) unanimously agreed to draft a letter of support in opposition to partial demolition of an 1813-era farmhouse at 33 Bynner St. on Tuesday.

Abutters will soon put forth a petition expressing such desire and requesting that demolition be delayed to allow time for a community process to decree the site a historical landmark.

A neighbor at the meeting agreed to organize the petition with the hope of securing landmark status for the depreciating farmhouse and to delay the right of demolition beyond a current 90-day delay period imposed by the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC).

Council members said they fear owner Gary Martell plans to change the farmhouse and may erase the house’s historical value.

“We want to save at least the historical character,” said Caprice Taylor Mendez, chair of the JPNC Parks and Open Space Committee.

Martell plans to renovate and partly demolish an L-shaped section on the left side of the house.

“I live a stone’s throw away and I can see he needs to rebuild it,” said a neighbor. “But he should keep the frame and the shape.”

Several old trees, including apple and box elder trees estimated by neighbors to be 80 to 100 years old, were cut down by Martell earlier this year igniting a controversy.

The BLC imposed a “demolition delay” on the farmhouse at an Oct. 24 hearing. If Martell convinces the BLC that alternatives for saving the house have been exhausted, the farmhouse could be demolished earlier.

“[The JPNC will] send a letter of support [to the BLC] to make sure this piece does not get erased,” said chair Nelson Arroyo.

Zoning
The council voted unanimously to recommend the city licensing board approve Sweet Christopher’s common victualler license to close at 11 p.m.

On Nov. 8 the Public Service Committee (PSC) of the JPNC heard a request from Alchemist Lounge to extend its restricted entertainment license. The current license limits the Alchemist to entertainment three days a week with a 12 a.m. close. Lounge owners requested to extend the license to seven days with a 1 a.m. close.

At that meeting neighbors said they love the owners of the Alchemist, but concerns about late noise seven days a week stirred caution among them.

Owners, neighbors and the PSC reached a compromise and Tuesday night the JPNC unanimously agreed to recommend the Alchemist be granted an entertainment license for four days a week: Thursday to Saturday, until 12:30 a.m., and Sunday until midnight.

7-Eleven’s request to make permanent a 24-hour operating permit was also unanimously approved.

New council member
The council voted 10-0 to appoint JP resident and carpenter Carlos Icaza to fill a vacancy in Area A. Icaza is already active in the JP community and serves on the Sumner Hill Association board as well as the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Two JPNC vacancies remain.