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City agencies

Below we highlight a few city agencies that residents might have to contact or interact with. You may need to contact these agencies when making changes to your home or business. Or there may be a project in the neighborhood, and you can submit feedback on projects to these agencies.

The full resources of Boston can be found on boston.gov.

Boston Landmarks Commission

The entire South End is a Landmarks district - all buildings are considered historic in nature. By making a district a historic landmark, any changes have to have additional approval. This means historical elements are preserved, but it also means even basic repairs have to be approved by the city. The BLC is the agency set up to review and give approval for any changes to the exterior any building in the neighborhood.

If you are doing anything to the exterior of your building, you will most likely have to interact with Landmarks. BLC also accepts comments on projects (include those who come before Eight Streets).

Boston Landmarks Commission
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, Ma 02201


Web Site

Zoning Board of Appeal

Anything that requires a zoning variation goes through the Zoning Board of Appeal. They review all cases and decide whether or not to issue a variance. Unfortunately, the way current zoning is set up, pretty much anything you want to do will violate local zoning, so any project you do to your property will require assistance from the ZBA. The ZBA also accepts comments on projects (include those who come before Eight Streets).

The ZBA is part of the larger Inspectional Services department.
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
5Th Floor
Boston, Ma 02118


ZBA Web site - the site also lists hearing schedule and lists approved variances.

ISD Web Site - a good place to visit if you need to apply for a permit.

Licensing Board

The Licensing board deals with licensing for Food & Beverage, and alcohol licenses. Most residents will never have to interact with Licensing, but when bars and restaurants are applying to open in the neighborhood, Licensing will take feedback from residents who support or oppose an application. Their contact information is below.
Licensing Board
1 City Hall Square
Room 809
Boston, Ma 02201-2035


Web Site

Boston Planning and Development Agency

Formerly known as the Boston Redevelopment Agency (BRA), the BPDA is a semi independent agency that does planning for the city, and is usually the agency that oversees larger projects in the city.

At the current time, they are managing a lot of projects in the South End, including the Nw York Streets area and all the development going on there. (The current Ink Block, Grey bar and about to happen Quinzani's projects are examples of larger projects close to our neighborhood).

The BPDA web site is a good resource for project information and hearing dates and community meeting information.

To give feedback / community input on specific projects, you need to navigate to that project's page and give feedback there. Project pages also have full being plans (and proposals) as downloadable PDFs, as well as a 'sign up', where you can automatically get updates for that specific project.
BPDA Web Site

Current local projects

Quinzani's site redevelopment (Harrison and East Berkeley)

Graybar site construction (kitty-corner from Whole Foods)

German Church conversion to condos on Shawmut ave

80 East Berkeley office building - current site of auto shop/parking lot. Plan is approved, but construction is TBD and could be years away (or tomorrow)