Wednesday, August 27, 2014

City of Boston Appeals Preliminary FEMA Flood Maps

City of Boston Appeals Preliminary FEMA Flood Maps

BOSTON-- The City of Boston yesterday filed an appeal with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the 2013 Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Boston. This appeal comes after a study, completed by an independent consultant hired by the City, indicated inconsistencies and potential errors in the mapping and flood study approach used by FEMA. The City’s technical and scientific appeal will request that FEMA publish new Preliminary FIRMs based on the study’s findings, and hold a new 90-day appeal and public comment period.

“These maps have significant implications for Bostonians,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We are doing our due diligence to make sure they are established with the best available data and appropriate modeling methodology.”

FEMA released Suffolk County’s new maps on November 15, 2013, for public review. The new maps added 1,585 acres of land to the 100-year floodplain, which includes 13,709 housing units and 4,202 businesses. All properties with federally-backed mortgages or loans in the 100-year floodplain are required to carry flood insurance and comply with flood protection standards in local zoning and state building codes.

“The City is ensuring that the new FEMA maps best reflect the current flood risk of Boston,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “However, these maps do not address the future impacts of climate change and sea level rise. We know that coastal flooding will get worse in the decades to come, and the City has a number of initiatives underway to better prepare for this challenge.”

Because of the significant impacts of these maps, the City of Boston hired Woods Hole Group (WHG) through a competitive bid process to evaluate FEMA's flood mapping methodology, data sources and modeling. WHG’s final report found inconsistencies in FEMA’s mapping and flood study approach, resulting in approximately 507 acres of land that should be removed from the 100-year floodplain, as well as 33 acres that should be included. These findings serve as the grounds for a technical appeal with FEMA. In addition, WHG is currently conducting more detailed and accurate hydrodynamic flood modeling of Boston Harbor, which will be completed and submitted as supplemental information as a basis for a scientific appeal.

After the appeal period closes, FEMA will respond to all comments and appeals.

FEMA has been updating FIRMs to more accurately delineate the areas subject to coastal flood hazards, known as the 100-year floodplain. Suffolk County’s maps were the last to be released in Massachusetts last November. The official Comment and Appeal Period began on May 29, 2014 and ended on August 27, 2014 and the City ensured that the public was informed of the appeal period via the hand-distribution of flyers to affected neighborhoods, as well as an email to relevant business umbrella groups such as A Better City, Greater Boston Real Estate Board, NAIOP and The Boston Harbor Association. The City solicited comments and appeals from the community to be submitted with its appeal. One comment was submitted.

Supplemental Document: Mayor Walsh's appeal letter to FEMA

Mayor Walsh Announces Multi-Faceted Off-Campus Student Move-In Strategy

Inspectors will target problem properties and improperly stored trash in known student neighborhoods

BOSTON – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a comprehensive strategy to assist students moving into off-campus housing in Boston’s neighborhoods for the 2014-2015 academic year. Representatives from several City departments will conduct targeted housing inspections, trash inspections, and information drops, in student-heavy neighborhoods, from Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 1, 2014. In addition, the City has launched a social media campaign, called #Boston101, to highlight city services available to students throughout the year, as well as a revamped students section of the City of Boston’s website, at

 “We’re preparing for an efficient and effective student move-in process this year,” said Mayor Walsh. “By coordinating across departments, we will assist students moving into and across the City to get settled into safe off-campus housing, and provide them with the tools they need to stay connected with the City all year.”
The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) will have up to 50 inspectors canvassing Allston, Brighton, Fenway, and Mission Hill. Inspectors will target addresses with a history of violations, as well as units identified through random selection. They will execute on-the-spot rental safety inspections upon renter request, and confirm that units are registered with the City of Boston in compliance with the City's Inspection and Re-Inspection of Rental Units Ordinance, which requires that all private rental units are registered annually. Inspectors will be circulating through other Boston neighborhoods, including Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, the North End, South Boston, and the South End to check for student move-in activity, and will deploy inspectors if necessary.

ISD and the Public Works Department (PWD) will be posting information about bed bugs, reminding students to avoid used furniture, and to notify their landlord immediately in the event of a suspected infestation. The Code Enforcement Division of PWD will be issuing citations for trash violations, including improperly placed trash, and trash placed on the curb on the incorrect trash day. Trash trucks will be circulating through key student move-in neighborhoods to collect discarded items that have been placed on the curb. New residents can visit to find their trash and recycling dates.

On Monday, September 1, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services will be staffing tents at Cleveland Circle in Brighton, at the Hess Gas Station at 100 Brighton Avenue in Allston, and in Calumet Square in Mission Hill. They will be distributing “#Boston101: Student Guides to City Services” booklets and a bookmark with move-in tips from ISD and Greenovate Boston. They will be on-hand to assist students with City information, and directing students with questions or concerns to call the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500, tweet @notifyboston, or use the City of Boston’s Citizen’s Connect App.

The Boston Transportation Department will be implementing on-street parking restrictions on several streets in Allston and Brighton from Friday, August 28, through Tuesday, September 2, and in Mission Hill and Fenway on Monday, September 1. In addition, on-street parking restrictions will be in effect around Northeastern University this week through to Monday, September 1. Signs will be posted in affected neighborhoods. For more information on street restrictions, visit

The newly-redesigned website,, has been updated to improve user experience, providing relevant information on safe rental housing, move-in tips, public transportation, and things to do in the City. #Boston101 is a social media campaign featuring animated videos, blog posts, and graphic content that will run from the @NotifyBoston and @Onein3 Twitter handles during the month of September.

In 2013, there were nearly 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students estimated to be living off-campus in the City of Boston at more than 13,300 unique addresses. In July 2014, upon request of Mayor Walsh, Boston’s colleges and universities provided the City with the addresses of students living off-campus. Department of Neighborhood Development analysts reviewed the data and identified 437 addresses where more than four unrelated undergraduates might live, in violation of Boston’s Student Zoning Amendment. Of that list, 149 addresses, with 2,000 student residents, were flagged for potential concern, such as students exceeding the number of bedrooms. ISD has visited 137 of these units to look for violations since July, and will revisit them during the student move-in period.

麻大孔子學院辦講座 助中文教師準備新學年

6名講課老師分別為來自哈維克Monomoy 區域學區的高健、牛頓Bigelow 中學的高傑、波士頓拉丁學校的楊明、波士頓復興(Renaissance)特許學校的陳麗嘉,Williston Northampton 學校的張華,以及麻州大學波士頓孔子學院的王淑紅。他們根據各地中文教學的實際狀況,以新學年為教學設計主題,從不同角度闡述。
當天上課的學員,還分成小學、初中、高中三組,進行分組討論, 由高健、張華和孟援朝主持,就不同層次的中文教學的計劃,更深入的探討,旁邊有12來自北京的對外漢語碩士項目學員,在現場觀摩。





由台灣教育部技術及職業教育司司長李彥儀率領,共22人的“臺灣科技大學創新創業訪問團”, 已於25日抵達波士頓,正陸續參訪哈佛,MITBabson等院校,以及劍橋創新中心,為推動台灣的產學結合,進一步取經。
            25日他們參觀了從19942001年,連續八年獲“美國新聞和世界報導”雜誌評選為企業管理(MBA)教育第一名的巴布森(Babson)學院,昨(26)參觀麻省理工學院的產業聯絡項目(ILP),聽取該項目資深副主任Todd Glickman做簡報。今(27)日將繼續參觀哈佛大學創新實驗室iLab,劍橋市創新中心(Cambridge Innovation Center),預定28日赴康州紐黑文(New Haven)市的耶魯大學,參訪馬佐平教授的半導體實驗室,預定31日返台。
該團抵達波士頓前,在華府參訪,拜會了美國教育部副部長John Uvin,成人及職業教育司官員共五人,了解到美國總統奧巴馬近年撥發很多資源給社區大學,和台灣的做法類似。



美東國術會慶中秋 八武館獻藝秀功夫

            美東國術總會紐英崙總分會前任會長胡衛正透露,目前該會包括三個武館,胡清白鶴派,黃強白眉派,以及東方文化學院。今年的會長為東方文化學院創辦人譚輝,副會長為黃強白眉派師傅蘇細春。其他到會示範武術的都是嘉賓武館。往年參與示範,黃雅亭師傅率領的南派武館,以及Michael William創辦的武藝研究院,都因在外地參加比賽,未能出席。









麻州未加入聯邦真正ID法 居民進出聯邦大樓、登機將受限

麻州未簽署實施聯邦政府的“真正身分證(REAL ID)“法,開始面對聯邦政府不承認麻州駕照,麻州居民因此無法進聯邦大樓,甚至無法登機的困境。
            波士頓環球報指出,麻州州長派區克(Deval Patrick)辦公室把這問題轉給了麻州交通廳。該廳發言人Cyndi Roy Gonzalez表示,麻州已申請延期實施,以期有足夠時間因應該法的規定。
           該法的作用,也有各種情況。遊客仍可不需要身分證就進入史密松(Smithsonian )博物館,被告也仍可出庭。
            麻州參議會少數黨領袖Bruce Tarr表示,他為此和派區克政府接觸,幾乎沒得到回應。只能猜測那是因為因應“真正身分證”法,將會阻礙派區克政府想要給非法居留者駕照的企圖。