The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved Eversource's plans to replace a parking lot next to its Warrenton Street substation with two new transformers - with room for a third - but only after board Chairwoman Christine Araujo told the company it needs to do something about the sad state of its properties elsewhere in Boston, in particular in Roxbury and West Roxbury.
At a hearing this morning, a company lawyer said the new substations would be "a vast improvement in curb appeal, esthetic appeal," because it would replace the barbed-wire-topped chain-link fence now there with more aesthetically soothing panels.
That's nice, Araujo said, but maybe the company could also do something about the sorry state of a substation on Harrison Avenue in Roxbury, where panels aimed at shielding the facility from the public eye have come loose and now simply flap in the wind, exposing the chain-link fence they were meant to ameliorate. She also pointed to an Eversource installation at the Roche Bros. parking lot in West Roxbury, which at least has some shrubs, so a bit more of a "respectful presentation to the community," but not really enough.
John Zicko, director of capital projects and engineering, who has worked for the company since its Boston Edison days, thanked Araujo for raising the issue. He said the company tries to keep up its properties, but it just has so many of them across the city that it's hard to watch over them all and so he's grateful for observations such as Araujo's. He pledged to take a look at what the company could do, especially on Harrison Avenue.