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Announcing: Boston ZBA Cases Archive

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I just published an archive of ZBA appeals cases to the Boston Zoning archive at https://nattaylor.com/eastboston/boston-zoning/. I believe this is the first time that Boston ZBA’s minutes, which document appeals, are available as structured data, and I am excited to offer it to the public! I hope folks find it useful.

Left: Original PDF Right: JSON

The cases archive is offered as a collection of JSON documents that follow the Boston Zoning Appeal Archive Specification. JSON was chosen over a tabular format since the data is quite wide and the contents are unpredictable, so a delimiter format like CSV is not suitable.

The archive currently contains 2,959 from January 2017 to October 2019.

Below are a few examples of what can be done with the data.

The ZBA Minutes are enhanced in a few ways, most notably:

  1. Parcels For GIS use cases, the appeals are linked their GIS Parcel ID from the City’s assessing data, so that it is easy to map the cases.
  2. Zoning Code For users unfamiliar with the zoning code, lookup-articles.json is offered to add a description next to the code.
  3. Cleansing The data is cleansed and normalized to remove typos, etc.

Top 10 Applicants

65Patrick Mahoney
60George Morancy
43John Pulgini
34Derrick Small
30Timothy Johnson
26James Christopher
25Timothy Sheehan
25CAD Builders, LLC
23Timothy Burke
22Oxbow Urban, LLC

Top 10 Variances

639Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts
438Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts Floor area ratio excessive
418Off-Street Parking and Loading Requirements
373Use Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts
211Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts Side yard insufficient
198Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts Bldg height excessive (stories)
187Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts Rear yard insufficient
173Dimensional Regulations Applicable in Residential Subdistricts Usable open space insufficient
149Roof Structure Restrictions
134Extension of Nonconforming Uses and Reconstruction and Extension of Nonconforming Buildings

10 Most Recent Approved Appeals

BOA-449621135 Bremen Street
BZC-30746585-585B Ashmont Street
BOA-596775158 Lexington Street
BOA-57006510 Everett Street
BOA-995279150 West Canton
BOA-99670315 Arlington Street
BOA-998206643A Tremont Street
BOA-97351782 Chandler Street
BOA-97353682 Chandler Street
BOA-909666265-275 Dartmouth Street
BOA-991604751-753 East Fifth Street
BOA-983259105 M Street
BOA-984114273 Gold Street
BOA-981180199-201 Hampden Street
BOA-97734546 Wareham Street
BOA-992424754 Tremont Street
BOA-9794911530 Tremont Street
BOA-997914295-311 Blue Hill Avenue
BOA-924708213-217 Washington Street
BOA-96240049 Summer Street
BOA-90350549 Hobart Street
BOA-94427698 Prescott Street
BOA-93796312-14 Commonwealth Avenue
BOA-93996477 Worcester Street
BOA-99437177 Worcester Street

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