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This blog is a place for dialogue on issues and actions relating to Boston's unique built environment and the preservation and continuing evolution of historic resources within it. My goal, as the Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, is to post timely, relevant and thought-provoking intelligence, ideas, and insights that will engage conversations, inform our actions, and broaden perspectives on preservation.

We want to hear from you — so start a conversation, share a thought or comment, and let us know what you think.

Greg Galer, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance

Executive Director

AllianceViews Blog


December 16th, 2013  |  Posted by: Greg Galer

The creation of a Boston City Landmark follows a rigorous process.  A petition for a landmark must be filed with at least 10 Boston resident signatures.  Once accepted the Landmark’s Commission completes, or hires a professional historian to complete, a study report which fully analyzes the history of the building and makes a recommendation to staff regarding the significance of the property and if it meets the criteria of the Landmarking regulations. Staff reviews and ultimately makes a recommendation to the 14 member Commission. There are public hearings and opportunities for comment from the public, property owner, and anyone  else who wishes to be heard by oral testimony or written comment.  If approved by the Landmarks Commission, the listing goes onto the Mayor for signature.

City Council then has 30 days to veto a nomination. Such a veto has never occurred, but such a vote is expected to take place at this week’s city Council meeting.  A property owner, opposed to the landmarking, who wants to tear down a property which was unanimously voted worthy of landmarking, has lobbied City Council and is lining up votes to veto, and undermine the expert opinion of the Landmarks Commission.

The Landmarking process is transparent and provides an important tool for protection of Boston’s historic resources. However, it is important to point out that a landmark listing does not prevent a property from alteration or change. Each listing includes detailed guidelines that set out what is acceptable and what is not, what is under Landmarks Commission review after listing and what is not. Many, many properties which are landmarks have undergone significant and successful redevelopment.  In fact, landmarking often increases the value of a property, recognizing its importance and significance.

It is unfortunate that a current, pending landmark at 24 Grampian Way in Dorchester’s Savin Hill Neighborhood is being opposed through pressure to Council when the owner was unsuccessful in swaying the Landmarks Commission.


Here are details and how YOU can help!

Tell City Council not to override the approved Landmarking of 24 Grampian Way in Dorchester before their meeting this Wednesday, December 18 at noon!

The Alliance is gravely concerned about the implications of a City Council veto of a unanimous decision made by the Landmarks Commission.

After a year and a half of research and deliberations, the designation of 24 Grampian Way on Savin Hill has come nearly to the end of the Landmarks designation process. Following the unanimous vote of the Boston Landmarks Commissioners in favor of the designation, the recommendation has gone to Mayor Menino, who approved it. The Boston City Council now has the opportunity to consider the proposal. If they do not act, the property will become a Boston Landmark. If the Council does consider the issue, they can vote to approve the recommendation or vote to override the Commission’s recommendation.

A committee of the Council heard testimony last Thursday at City Hall  and will be reporting to the full Council and ask for a vote on Wednesday, December 18.


Please call the city councilor who represents your area as well as all at-large councilors and ask to speak with the liaison person for 24 Grampian Way in regard to Landmarks designation.  Then tell them that you are in favor of the designation.  You could make the point that the preservation of the architectural heritage and character of our city is important.  You might also emphasize the thorough investigation conducted by the Landmarks Commission in regard to the historical significance of the property.  The property is valuable for its architecture and for its association with George Wright, a famous sports personality. In testimony before the City Council’s Economic Development & Planning Committee Alliance last week I noted, “George Wright was a significant figure who played a major role in the common sports we take for granted to be activities of play and public participation today. The fact that he chose to live in this house, in this neighborhood, in this location is an important part of the story of Boston and its development and should be preserved as recommended by the Landmarks Commission.” The two independent consultants for the property both concluded that the property fully meets all the criteria for Landmarks designation and that the significance is national in scope.

The full details of the studies are available on the City of Boston’s website.

The study itself can be viewed at:

The further study (the response to comments on the first study) can be viewed at:

The time-line of the process can be viewed at:


Stephen J. Murphy President     617 635-4376

Felix G. Arroyo                         617 635-4205

John R. Connolly                      617 635-3115

Ayanna Pressley                       617 635-4217


D1 Salvatore LaMattina           617 635-3200

D2 Bill Linehan                        617 635-3203

D3 Frank Baker                        617 635-3040

D4 Charles C. Yancey              617 635-3131

D5  Robert Consalvo                617 635-3040

            D6 Matt O’Malley                     617 635-3040

D7 Tito Jackson                        617 635-3040

D8 Michael P. Ross                  617 635-4225

D9 Mark Ciommo                     617 635-3113

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