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Forbes Park Plan Approved by ZBA

Forbes Park Plan Approved by ZBA

The Forbes Park development proposal, with more than 500 residential units proposed for the former industrial campus, has been approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) after four years and two major re-designs.

The final iteration of the project includes 590 units of housing, with 60 percent of those units being condos for sale and 59 units being affordable to a range of incomes. There are also 1.6 parking spaces per unit, or 963 spaces. The project also boasts a major public access area to the waterfront of the Chelsea Creek and Mill Creek. The current project also has a very small amount of retail and office uses, with both totaling below 20,000 sq. ft.

The project, though still very large, was scaled back from the developer’s (YIHE Forbes of China) original proposal in 2015. That proposal featured skyscrapers about 21 stories tall and more than 1,000 units of housing accompanied by large office spaces and large hotels. It was rejected informally and the company eventually withdrew during a ZBA meeting that went past midnight.

The news of Tuesday’s approval of the new plan was viewed with mixed results by most, including those who had come to support the project, including City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

“I’m happy with the project even though it’s far from perfect,” he said. “Given all the concessions made since they first showed up here, I think it’s a workable project. There is lots of homeownership, with 60 percent being condos. This is the largest condo project in Chelsea for more than a decade if not longer. They also have really exciting plans for accessing the waterfront along the Chelsea Creek.”

Ambrosino said they also agreed to several affordable housing concessions. Of the required 59 units of affordable housing, the mix will include many different income ranges, including 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), 50 percent of the AMI and 30 percent of the AMI.

“That’s really deeply affordable and it assures that actual families that live in Chelsea now will be able to afford to live in the complex. That was very important to the City,” he said.

The developer also agreed to contribute $300,000 to the four schools at the Mary C. Burke Complex, which is about two blocks from the Forbes entrance.

That said, not everyone was happy with the news – and in particular was Councillor Joe Perlatonda, who represents the Mill Hill and Forbes area. He said the problem with the Forbes project is the same as it has always been, and that problem is the fact that there is one access point.

In the first iteration, City officials – including Ambrosino – had called for a bridge over the Chelsea Creek to Revere as a second access point to alleviate traffic in the neighborhood. However, this time around that was not made a requirement, and Perlatonda said he was not happy there was a concession made on that point.

“It’s a shame that no one has thought about the concessions of the residents that live in our neighborhood,” he said. “Right now, with cars parked on both sides of the street that go into the Forbes site, and what we have to go through every day. Try getting out of your driveway every day; try driving down the street when you have to dodge cars, and then add 963 parking spaces which is 1.6 cars per unit. But someone seems to forget about the cars they will have for each unit like the mother, father and kids that all have cars, not to mention the visitors or guests that will come with cars. Has anyone thought where to put the overflow of these cars? Our streets are already congested, and getting in and out will be so bad. This is just part of the nightmare.”

GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni said they didn’t believe the project was perfect, but felt there had been reasonable concessions made about their concerns.

“We had a number of concerns relating to the impacts on the neighborhood, and we feel that we have achieved some reasonable concessions from the developers,” she said. “The number of affordable units, deeper levels of affordability and preference for Chelsea residents for those units – together with the mitigation for the adjacent neighborhood and the $300,000 for the four schools at the Mary C. Burke Complex are all concessions that we are proud to have fought hard for…GreenRoots is committed to ongoing dialogue – and protest if necessary – to ensure the benefits are for everyone in the community, not just the lucky few who will get to live at Forbes.”

Ambrosino said the site is very large, and that did allow the developer to be able to build large numbers of units by right if they chose to do so and could meet the parking requirements. That, he said, would have cut the City and the neighborhood out of the planning completely. He felt it wasn’t worth the risk to chance that.

“They could have gone in by right and built 450 units and 900 parking spots and got a building permit without any say from the City or the neighbors,” he said.

The project has already cleared Major Site Plan at the Planning Board, but has many hurdles to clear at City Hall in reviewing plans before they can break ground.

It is believed that the developer plans to keep three of the smaller buildings on site and rehabilitate them. The rest of the project will be new construction.

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CHS Junior Wins National Title

CHS Junior Wins National Title

Bobby Goss, Eddie Richard, Richard Bradley Steve DePaulo, Katrina Hill, Drenda Carroll, Nicole Hancock and the late Anthony “Chubby” Tiro” are among the best to ever compete in the Chelsea High track programs.

Stephanie Simon has joined that illustrious group – and she’s only a junior.

Simon completed her indoor track campaign with an unprecedented accomplishment: winning the long jump championship in the Emerging Elite Division at the 2019 New Balance Nationals that was held in New York City.

Simon soared to victory with a career-best jump of 18 feet, 10.75 inches, remarkably eclipsing her previous best by seven inches.

CHS track coach Cesar Hernandez was not surprised by Simon’s victory or the dramatic way in which she achieved it.

“Stephanie had jumped 17-9 as her best in her first three attempts,” said Hernandez. “In the final, she took off to 18-10. I knew she had it in her.”

Hernandez and CHS Director of Athletics Amanda Alpert watched the drama unfold at the Nationals.

“It was exciting to watch the long jump competition,” said Hernandez. “It feels good to coach a national champion.”

Alpert, who has won national championships as a women’s professional football player and coach, said the whole scene at Nationals was “amazing.”

“To hear and see the number that Stephanie posted was amazing,” said Alpert. “It was just about her hitting the board right and she did.”

Alpert said Simon’s competitiveness and work ethic set the foundation to victory.

“Stephanie is a rarely seen combination of hard work, dedication and pure talent,” said Alpert. “She has put in so much time in to making herself better both physically and mentally. Her dedication to the sport and her craft is amazing, but a lot of that comes from the Chelsea track coaching staff. They work to instill the importance of hard work and dedication because that is what is more important and will help you succeed after high school.”

Alpert expounded on the Chelsea coaches’ contributions to the Stephanie Simon success story.

“We have an incredible coaching staff that has played a part in the team and Stephanie’s success,” said Alpert. “We are fortunate to have Cesar Hernandez, who is a Red Devil himself and competed on the collegiate level as jumper and has helped bring Stephanie to the next level.

“While Mark Martineau and Adam Aronson (both collegiate-level track athletes) are no longer coaching, Mark laid the mental frameworks for what it means to be a student athlete, and Adam had taken a lot of time to teach the athletes how to be lifters and work their way around a weight room.”

Simon and her teammates will begin their outdoor track schedule in April. There is no doubt that Stephanie Simon is on the radar of college colleges nationwide.

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Licensing Commission Close to Vote on Marijuana Regulations

Licensing Commission Close  to Vote on Marijuana Regulations

With plans to host four recreational marijuana shops already at some phase of readiness in Chelsea, the Licensing Commission is nearing a final vote on regulations for special additional rules for those establishments.

On March 7, the Commission continued a public hearing on the regulations, focusing on the topics of application fees, locations of the pot shops, and security.

Commission Chair Mark Rossi said the Commission should be ready to take a final vote on the regulations at its meeting in early April.

The City is limited to four retail marijuana establishments.

Those shops will already be vetted heavily before they reach the Licensing Commission for final approval. Other approvals include a host agreement in place from the City and approved by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, as well as any necessary approvals from the City’s Zoning and Planning Boards.

Rossi said the Licensing Commission will grant the retail pot shop licenses in much the same manner as it does for liquor licenses.

One of the questions raised by an early draft of the Licensing Commission regulations was whether the Commission should limit the shops to one or two per voting district.

The City ordinance already limits the establishments to three zoning districts — Industrial, Shopping Center, and Business Highway zones.

By the end of last week’s hearing, there was general agreement among the commissioners that there would not be a restriction on how close the pot shops can be to one other.

City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda agreed that was the right move on the issue.

“I would oppose any sort of restriction on the number of feet from one place to another,” he said. “We already have zoning in place in the city and we don’t need to add another layer to that; we don’t do it for other businesses.”

The Commission also agreed on a $500 application fee and $5,000 yearly renewal fee for the marijuana businesses.

While there were some questions about the Commission’s role in looking at security at the establishments, City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher noted that there are already strong security requirements from the state, and requirements are also written into the host agreements with the prospective businesses.

Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said she would still like to look at the host agreements to see how they address security before taking the final vote next month.

“I don’t think security is going to be an issue,” said Commissioner James Guido, adding it is more likely traffic that could cause some issues.

According to the proposed regulation, the Licensing Commission would not issue a license to anyone who has violated Licensing Commission rules and regulations in the past five years. All licenses are subject to zoning approval and state Cannabis Control Commission approval.

The operating hours for retail shops will be limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and all signage will have to be approved by the City, according to Fisher.

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Accountability and Closure in Fatal Shooting of Pablo Villeda

Accountability and Closure in Fatal Shooting of Pablo Villeda

A Lynn teen, who was originally from Chelsea, pleaded guilty March 7 as his trial was set to begin on charges that he opened fire during a party three years ago, killing 19-year-old Pablo Villeda and injuring six others.

Emanuel Marrero, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Pablo Villeda’s March 6, 2016, shooting death, as well as six counts of armed assault with intent to murder and related charges for injuries suffered by six other young people.

Pablo Villeda was killed in an early morning teen party on March 6, 2016 held at a vacant apartment on Washington Avenue. On Thursday, March 7, Emanuel Marrero pleaded guilty in court to his murder.

Judge Linda Giles imposed the mandatory sentence of life in prison, ordering that he be eligible for parole after 15 years and that his sentences on the non-fatal shootings be served concurrently. Had he chosen to go to trial, the defendant – who was 16 at the time of the homicide – would have faced a first-degree murder charge.

“We accepted this plea because it delivers a significant measure of accountability for the defendant’s actions, which took Pablo’s life just as it was ready to begin,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. “It also considers all the potential outcomes at trial and on appeal, as well as the defendant’s age at the time of the homicide. Nothing we do can bring Pablo Villeda back to his loving family, but I hope this final result can at least provide them with closure to this tragic event.”

Chief Brian Kyes said he hopes the prison sentence will bring closure to the family on what was a tragic night in Chelsea three years ago.

“This was certainly a tragic night for everyone involved and one that none of us will soon forget,” said Kyes. “We truly hope that the imposition of this prison sentence by the Suffolk County Superior Court will bring some sense of solace to the family of Pablo Villeda that they absolutely deserve. Senseless acts of violence like this have no place in our neighborhoods and we will continue to work with our community partners to prevent tragedies like this from ever occurring again.”

Chelsea Police responded to 120 Washington Ave. in the early morning hours of March 6, 2016, for multiple calls reporting a disturbance at a party held inside a vacant apartment. They arrived to find seven people, ranging in age from 15 to 22, suffering gunshot wounds. Pablo was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries; the surviving victims were treated at Whidden Memorial Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Assistant District Attorney Julie Higgins of the DA’s Homicide Unit was prepared to introduce evidence and testimony showing that the defendant brought a .40 caliber handgun to the party, flaunting it to several other attendees. At some point, the evidence would have shown, the defendant confronted the victim and opened fire. Pablo was mortally wounded and six other people were struck, and fortunately survived their injuries. The defendant fled the scene but was identified in the course of an exhaustive investigation by Chelsea Police detectives and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit. The defendant was represented by attorney Richard Chambers

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Chelsea’s Real Estate Resurgence Continues Bowen, Castillo Set to Unveil Parker Place Condos

Chelsea’s Real Estate  Resurgence Continues Bowen, Castillo Set to Unveil Parker Place Condos

Chelsea real estate agent Jeffrey Bowen said all the hard work by city officials over the past 20 years is paying off.

“Chelsea is booming,” says Bowen. “City Managers Jay Ash and Tom Ambroino, the city councilors, and the community have brought it back to where we are now. Chelsea is the No. 1 gateway city in America with the lowest price-per-foot next to a major metropolitan city (Boston).”

Bowen knows much the city’s resurgence and the booming real estate scene. He is currently marketing his third major project, Parker Place, 12 new luxury condominiums at the corner of Parker Street and Spencer Avenue. The developer for the three projects has been Jason Roback of Roback Real Estate.

“Jason prides himself in bringing value and quality to the future residents of Chelsea,” credited Bowen.

Bowen and his partner, Sandra Castillo, of ERA Russell Realty Group, will host an open house each Saturday and Sunday (12-2 p.m.) at Parker Place, which is already drawing significant interest among prospective buyers.

Bowen’s previous successes span the city, notably the Beacon Condominiums (81 Broadway) and the Thomas Martin Lofts (204 Spencer Ave.)

Parker Place, located at 87 Parker St, is a seven-story building featuring 12 units: 11 two-bed, two-bath, one two-bed, one-bath. Five of the units have garage parking, seven have outdoor spots. Out of the 11 two-bed, two-bath units, one is an affordable unit for medium-income residents (price to be determined by the City of Chelsea).

According to Bowen and Castillo, the prices at Parker Place range from $449,000 to $539,000.

“Each condo has air-conditioning, maple hardwood flooring, custom kitchens, and stainless-steel appliances,” said Bowen. “This in an elevator building. Four of the units have roof decks. Eight of the units have balconies.”

Bowen said the area has become one of the hottest in the greater Boston real estate market.

“You have the DaVinci Lofts (960 Broadway), the Industrie Lofts (950 Broadway), the Spencer Lofts (60 Dudley St.), the Keen Lofts (220 Spencer Ave.), and the Thomas Martin Lofts (204 Spencer Ave.),’ said Bowen.

And the boon is continuing, with the Chelsea Zoning Board’s approval Tuesday night of the Forbes Development that will consist of 590 units.

A good time to buy

There is no time like the present to invest in Chelsea, according to Bowen.

“Condominium prices are 25-50 percent higher a mile or two away in East Boston and Charlestown,” said Bowen. “Downtown Boston and the Seaport District (South Boston) is double and triple. Chelsea is still very affordable. It’s a good time to buy. You get more bang for your buck. There is room to grow here.”

Other advantages for buyers are access to Route 1, the Silver Line, five bus routes, and a commuter rail. Five new hotels in Chelsea also underline the fact that the city is flourishing. The new Encore Casino opens in Everett in June.

Bowen takes personal pride in Chelsea’s resurgence. A resident of the city, he was featured in a recent segment on Channel 5’s “Chronicle,” showcasing all the good things that are happening here.

“Sandra and I are our team and we work well together helping people find the residence of their dreams,” said Bowen, who has been No. 1 in the luxury condominium segment of real estate in Chelsea. “I have a relationship with a lender that has a program with rates as low as 3.69 percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage that also includes $7,000-lender-paid closing costs (for qualified buyers).”

Said Castillo, “Whenever we go in to a building, we actually get the highest price for the seller. We also get calls from previous buyers and we’ve been able to double their investment. Our condos don’t last very long on the market because they are such a great value and they have everything people are looking for.”

(For more information about Parker Place Condominums, please email info@chelsearealestate.com).

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Licensing Commission Disciplines Several Establishments

Licensing Commission Disciplines Several  Establishments

If one is looking to hit the local bars this Cinco de Mayo, the options are going to be a little more limited than usual.

At its March 7 meeting, the Licensing Commission disciplined two local restaurants for a variety of infractions that will result in them losing their liquor licenses for the Cinco de Mayo weekend on May 4 and 5. (The restaurant Cinco de Mayo in Chelsea was not disciplined or called to the Commission).

In addition to losing its liquor license for that weekend, the Commission voted to roll back Acapulco’s hours of operation indefinitely, forcing the Fifth Street establishment to close at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m.

The Acapulco punishment stems from an incident last November when a security worker at the restaurant struck a customer over the head with a police baton.

The Commission also enforced an hours rollback from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. – along with the weekend suspension – for Bar La Cueva at 802 Broadway. That punishment was enforced for an incident where several patrons were overserved, as well as for past concerns about noise and unruly patrons at the bar.

In addition, Commission member James Guido requested a hearing next month to consider revoking Bar La Cueva’s entertainment licenses.

The attorney for Acapulco said the issue at his client’s establishment is systemic of a larger issue in the city, where security at bars is handled by companies that act almost as paramilitary or law enforcement agencies.

Several commissioners agreed that there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed in the city with bar and liquor establishment security, but noted that Acapulco deserved a more forceful discipline than simply firing its current security contractor.

“You say security is a problem, but you’ve had the same company for a decade,” Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said.

The issues at Bar La Cueva seemed to extend beyond the recent incident where two people were overserved, as several commissioners noted that there have been noise and unruly patron complaints at the bar for years.

In a letter, one neighbor stated that the “karaoke singing by drunks is terribly loud and they overserve their patrons.”

John Dodge, the attorney representing the bar, said for the incident in question, his clients acted responsibly and asked the patrons who appeared to be intoxicated to leave.

But Bongiovanni noted that the bar has been a problem in the past, including racking up a 14-day liquor license suspension about two years ago.

“They have been a complete nuisance and annoyance to the neighborhood; you can roll your eyes all you want, counselor,” she said to Dodge.

Both the bars got off relatively easy compared to Fine Mart, a liquor and convenience store at 260 Broadway. The Commission suspended the store’s liquor license for a total of six weeks for three offenses, including an incident where an employee struck a woman who was intoxicated in the store, for selling nips after the enactment of the City’s nip ban, and for the sale of alcohol to a minor.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino, an ardent supporter of the City’s ban on 50 ml bottles of alcohol, said there needs to be consequences for businesses that violate the ordinance.

“The ban has been important in the city’s efforts to try to make Broadway a more attractive place to shop and dine,” Ambrosino said. “We’ve spent a lot of money to make it a better place. Having the nip ban in place is an important part of that. “(Fine Mart) has a prominent place in the corridor and has to comply with its license.”

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Smart Growth Zoning Wins Unanimous Council Approval

Smart Growth Zoning Wins Unanimous Council  Approval

Much of the public discussion over the Smart Growth overlay district for Central Avenue over the past several months has focused on the technical aspects of the zoning ordinance.

But Monday night, as the City Council unanimously approved the Smart Growth zoning – which will pave the way for the Innes Development project to move closer to becoming a reality – much of the talk focused on the human and community benefits of that decision.

As the final vote was made official, cheers and applause were heard from Innes residents, project development team members, and even City Planning and Development Director John DePriest.

“This will allow for new homes that all the residents of Chelsea can be proud to call their own,” said Ronnie Slamin, the project director for Corcoran, the developer behind the Innes Street/ Central Avenue housing redevelopment plan.

The special zoning designation, allows the mixed-income project to have its own, special regulations for parking and density and other requirements. It also unlocks $5 million in state and local funding for the project.

Corcoran Development will assist in developing the 330-unit community on the site of the current housing development. Those units will include the existing 96 public housing units, as well as 40 workforce housing units. The remaining 194 units will be market rate, and with the state and federal grants, will subsidize the replacement of the public housing units.

Overall, the development would have a 41 percent affordable ratio, which is three times as much as what would normally be required by the City and double the state requirements.

For many of the current Innes residents, and for members of the Chelsea Housing Authority, it is a major step forward to replace the current units, which are rundown and decades old.

“It is our dream to live in new apartments that are safe and decent for our children, elderly, and the disabled,” said Melissa Booth, co-president of the Innes Residents Association.

The Smart Growth overlay district will cover the current footprint of the Innes Development, and puts a premium on affordable housing and access to public transportation.

Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) board member Bertram Taverna said the Innes redevelopment is the kind of opportunity that the City has not seen for decades.

“We are talking about an opportunity for these 96 families, as well as 40 more affordable housing units,” said Taverna. “Everybody is invested in this project and wholeheartedly all in.”

CHA Executive Director Al Ewing said the redevelopment will give the city the ability to deliver on its promise of providing a home where residents can be proud to live and raise their families.

“This is a win for the City of Chelsea,” said District 8 Councillor Calvin T. Brown. “Folks are going to see that Chelsea can do this and other cities are going to do this.”

Council President Damali Vidot said it’s been a long road for the Innes project to move forward. The Council voted down a project three years ago because prevailing wages for workers wasn’t on the table.

With prevailing wages now part of the development proposal, the only major issue that gained any traction over the past several months was, unsurprisingly, parking.

While the smart growth zoning is one major step towards getting shovels in the ground for the project, developers will be back before the Council for approval of a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) tax break for the project. That is expected to come before the Council later in the spring.

Vidot said that parking will be addressed in the TIF.

Corcoran is proposing 226 on-site parking spots, with an option to lease another 50 parking spots nearby.

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Lime Bike Rental Program Hopes to Unveil Electric Situation in Chelsea

Lime Bike Rental Program Hopes to Unveil Electric Situation in Chelsea

When the Lime Bike rental program returns to the streets of Chelsea this spring, riders might notice a little extra oomph in their ride.

Chelsea took part in a program with Lime Bike, along with 16 neighboring communities, last year. Council President Damali Vidot said the bike rentals will be up and running again this year.

However, there will be a difference this year, as Lime is unveiling electric-assisted bicycles throughout the region.

Because electric bicycles are currently not allowed in Chelsea, Vidot has introduced an ordinance to the City Council that would allow for the vehicles as long as they do not travel faster than 15 miles per hour.

“Since the late Summer of 2017, the City of Chelsea has been experimenting with dockless bikes, initially as a pilot with the company Ofo and then, last year, as part of a regional Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) contract with Lime Bike,” City Manager Tom Ambrosino stated in a letter to the Council. “Notwithstanding some minor complaints, I believe the experiment has been successful.”

Last year, more than 4,000 people used the dockless bikes in Chelsea, taking almost 20,000 separate trips, according to the city manager.

“The City would like to continue this dockless bike program in 2019,” stated Ambrosino. “However, there has been a change in the marketplace for dockless bikes. All the companies in this arena are moving away from pedal powered bikes to electric assisted bikes, including Lime Bike.”

To continue with the regional effort with Lime and allow the bikes in Chelsea, the City will have to change the current ordinance that prohibits the vehicles.

“Over the past month, we have explored the options of replacing Lime Bike with another company that might offer dockless pedal only bikes, but no operator is interested in the restriction,” Ambrosino said.

While the change in the ordinance would allow for the electric-assisted bicycles, Ambrosino said there are no plans in the works to allow for electric scooters to operate on public streets.

“I am just alerting the Council that the use of such scooters may soon become ubiquitous in surrounding communities,” he stated.

Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said he’s looking forward to the transportation upgrade.

“I’m looking forward to them,” he said. “I took a practice ride, and it was quite fun.”

•In other transportation-related news, Ambrosino told the City Council it should keep the future appearance of autonomous vehicles in the back of its mind.

“Right now, testing of such vehicles is underway in Boston and other communities,” he said.

As with the electric-assisted bicycles, the Council would have to adjust its ordinances to allow for autonomous, self-driving vehicles. A MassDOT and MAPC agreement could allow for a pilot route for the vehicles in the Industrial District.

“It is likely to be some time before autonomous vehicles actually appear on this pilot route,” Ambrosino said. “Again, such testing cannot occur until the City has given express permission. However, I just wanted to give the Council notice that this transportation innovation is moving forward and may someday make its way to Chelsea.”

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Late Winter Storm

Late Winter Storm

Bob Doherty used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks in front of his Chelsea home on Monday morning. A late winter storm dumped between 10 and 11 inches of snow on Chelsea Sunday night – leaving a winter wonderland for residents to wake up to on Monday.

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Cocoran, Chelsea Housing Face Critical Vote At Council Monday

Cocoran, Chelsea Housing Face  Critical Vote At Council Monday

The Innes Street/Central Avenue housing redevelopment plan has cleared its latest hurdle with the Planning Board, but will face a critical vote Monday night at Council on whether or not to allow them to have a ‘40R’ zoning designation.

The Council will consider the special zoning designation, which allows the mixed-income project to have its own, special regulations for parking and density and other requirements. At the same time, it also unlocks $5 million in state and local funding.

“It’s a critical vote,” said Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) Director Al Ewing. “That is a very important ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If we don’t get it, this project dies. It is our use it or lose it moment.”

The mixed-income development is in partnership with Corcoran Development, which will assist in developing the 330-unit community on the site of the current housing development. Those units will include the existing 96 public housing units, as well as 40 workforce housing units. The remaining 194 units will be market rate, and with the state and federal grants, will subsidize the replacement of the public housing units. Overall, the development would have a 41 percent affordable ratio, which is three times as much as what would normally be required by the City and double the state requirements.

It seems like a huge moment for residents like Jean Fulco, who is part of the Innes Residents Alliance (IRA).

“This will be a much better situation for the people who are there now,” she said. “The re-development would be so much better because the apartment conditions now are not very good.”

Resident Melissa Booth, also of the IRA, said she has a special needs child who cannot walk up the stairs, but they live on the second floor now.

“I usually have to carry my child up the stairs because there isn’t an elevator,” she said.

The new development is slated to have an elevator.

But one of the strangleholds in this second go-around of the mixed-income redevelopment – which had to be backed off two years ago – is parking. There are 226 spaces available on site, and another 50 spaces will be located off-site nearby.

Council President Damali Vidot said she does support the project, but she also lives in the area and understands that parking is already a mess. She said they have worked out a potential plan where the market rate units will not be able to apply for a residential parking sticker.

“Everyone says that these people who will live here will take the Silver Line and not have a car,” she said. “Let’s see them prove that. I’m ok with giving them the 40R so they can move forward, but when their Tax Incremental Financing comes up, I will let them know that I will not support the project unless they will enter into an agreement with the market rate tenants to not participate in the residential parking program.”

She said the decision is a tough one for the Council. While many have reservations, they also want to help the public housing residents improve their lives.

“I’m not in love with the project, but I know everyone is trying to do their best,” she said. “These 96 families deserve to live in dignity. I have family that lives there and no one should live in those conditions…If this is what I have to do to preserve the units for these 96 families, then we don’t have a choice really.”

Over the last several weeks, the IRA and the CHA and Corcoran have been pounding the pavement. They have had coffee hours, done personal outreach and have launched a website.

“We are in a competitive process and if this doesn’t get approved for whatever reason, Chelsea will not realize this opportunity,” said Sean McReynolds of Corcoran.

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