Virtual abutters

“Virtual Abutters Meeting” was the headline on the notice. My first reaction was to ask myself “What’s a virtual abutter?”

And then I realized that I had misparsed the headline. “Virtual,” it turned out, really modified “meeting,” not “abutters.” Also, there was no apostrophe.

It was an invitation to a Zoom meeting, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, to discuss this proposal:

Tear down existing gas station; erect four-story mixed-used [sic] building with restaurant space on bottom and 14 units above with 6 at-grade parking spaces in rear.

All neighbors, being abutters (if loosely defined), were invited, including Barbara and me. Although I’ve attended a bunch of traditional New England town meetings and local civic meetings in the past, this was my first experience with an abutters’ meeting. The issues were as expected: parking, density, hazardous waste, need for another restaurant, renting vs. owning,….

Did I mention parking?

Since this was Zoom, they really could have turned off everyone’s microphones until a Q&A period at the end, but no such luck. As you might expect, one person interrupted with repetitive questions and was allowed to dominate the meeting. Still, it was a good experience in participatory democracy.

Did I mention that parking is an issue?

Categories: Dorchester/Boston