Climate Action Business Association Canvassing Chelsea

Climate Action Business Association Canvassing Chelsea

Our Main Streets, mom and pops and storefronts are in many cases the first line of defense and first resource for when a storm hits.

This summer, advocates from the Climate Action Business Association (CABA) are coming to Chelsea to equip small businesses with the tools necessary to be resilient and protected in the face of extreme weather.

The Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS) campaign, is an ongoing project that aims to inform community leaders and small businesses about the urgency of climate change and the need to incorporate climate resilient practices.

The BARS 2016 campaign reached over 500 businesses in Massachusetts, causing the campaign to gain national recognition and our Executive Director Michael Green to receive the White House Champions of Change Award for Climate Equity. This year, we have taken a more tailored approach by creating specific resilience guides for each one of our targeted communities, including city-specific information and resources.

We have worked closely with the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and the community-based organization, GreenRoots, based in Chelsea to create useful, informative, and low-cost steps that small businesses can take to improve their preparedness in the face of climate change. During the week of July 16, be sure to keep an eye out for CABA as we conduct our outreach campaign among the small business community in Chelsea or contact us before then to schedule an interview with us and become part of the BARS campaign.

If you would like more information, contact Kristin Kelleher at kristin.kelleher@cabaus.org or call (617) 863 7665.

Read More

City’s Façade and Signage Program to Kick Off on July 12

City’s Façade and Signage Program to Kick Off on July 12

The City of Chelsea will begin a downtown façade and signage improvement program in a kick-off meeting on July 12.

Business and property owners in the downtown, as well as other interested parties, are invited to this meeting to learn about the rollout of the program and to meet Nathalia Hermida.

Hermida will be available throughout the summer to provide free design services for signage and façade improvements of downtown properties. During this meeting, Hermida will detail the design process, what assistance she’ll be able to provide and how to engage her services.

Along with responding to inquiries solicited through this meeting, Hermida will also be approaching specific identified properties. Those interested in the program who cannot attend this meeting should contact Mimi Graney, Downtown Coordinator at mgraney@chelseama.gov.

Design consultation with Hermida will be available both in English and in Spanish.

The City of Chelsea Façade and Signage Program meeting will take place on Thursday, July 12, at 8:30 a.m. at Chelsea City Hall, third-floor Committee Room.

Read More

On Hold:‘Real Discussion’ Unfolds Regarding Small Liquor Bottles, Special Meeting Aug 28

On Hold:‘Real Discussion’ Unfolds Regarding Small Liquor Bottles, Special Meeting Aug 28

The Chelsea Licensing Commission has put on hold the ban of small liquor bottles (100 ml) after a hearing Tuesday night where numerous package store owners from the City came forward to protest the change.

The hearing came on the heels of the ban of “nip” bottles last month, with Chelsea being the first municipality to ban the sale of the one-shot bottles of liquor. That was to be followed up with the potential ban of small liquor bottles too. However, Chair Mark Rossi said the strong turnout from the liquor licensees in the City caused the Board to pause.

“They told us this would essentially put them out of business,” said Rossi. “The sales of small liquor bottles have been up since the ban on nips and the liquor stores were supplementing the lost income from nips with the 100 ml bottles. The positive on this is there was actually a dialog. This is the first time that has happened. Chelsea is the first municipality that has pub in a ban on nips. Based on that, it showed the community is serious about this issues. All parties considered this a problem.”

He said about half of the 16 package store license holders were at the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

The result is the ban has been put on hold, but a special meeting has been called for Aug. 28 and a voluntary ban has been called for.

“We are calling a special meeting to address this and pick up where we left off,” Rossi said. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this.”

He said the liquor license holders were asked as a show of good faith to meet with the Police Department and voluntarily ban 100 ml bottles (particularly McCormack’s and Ruble) within 30 days. While the License Commission rarely meets in the summer, Rossi said they would call the special meeting for an update, with the hope being the ban can work informally.

Police Chief Brian Kyes said he is still for the ban, but was encouraged by the willingness of the liquor license holders during the meeting.

“Although the Chelsea Police strongly encourages the commission to proceed with the ban as proposed, I am encouraged that these licensed businesses are engaged in dialogue with the commission, the community and understanding their role in this serious issue,” he said. “Moving forward, we will continue to focus enforcement on any business that violates City licensing rules and state law, especially those that have such an adverse effect on the community.”

But not all was lost in the matter, which is an issue pushed by residents and several city councilors, including Councilor Roy Avellaneda.

Rossi said it was impressed on the liquor license holders that they need to be more connected to the community. He said it was interesting to note that none of them were as involved as they thought they were – particularly in things like the Chamber of Commerce or the local non-profits.

“The idea is we’re not looking to push anyone out of business, but to address a systemic, decades-old problem everyone agrees exists in Chelsea,” he said. “This is a positive step forward to address that issue…It’s important liquor store owners realize they are members of the community and aware of their actions on others. No one wants to go to the hair salon next to a liquor store where they have to step over the urine-soaked body of a perons passed out in the doorway.”

Read More

On the Books:Council Votes to Limit Recreational Marijuana with Zoning Ordinance

On the Books:Council Votes to Limit Recreational Marijuana with Zoning Ordinance

The City Council voted in favor of a proposal put forward by City Manager Tom Ambrosino to limit the siting of recreational marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities.

The vote came on an 8-2 majority after an amendment by Councillor Roy Avellaneda failed to get the eight votes needed for passage. Avellaneda and Councillor Calvin Brown voted against the City Manager’s proposal. Councillor Luis Tejada was absent from the meeting.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have limited zoning areas for retail establishments to the Industrial Zone and the Highway Business zone. Marijuana cultivation and lab facilities would be limited to the Industrial Zone only.

The state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has issued regulations regarding the numbers of facilities allowed in each municipality and Chelsea could have up to four retail licensees. The CCC will begin accepting application on April 2 and will potentially begin issuing them on July 1 – though the July 1 date is still very much in the air at the state level right now.

Ambrosino said it was imperative for the City to get something on the books now to limit the locations for these establishments.

“I have proposed an ordinance to try to accommodate this new industry in a way I think is reasonable,” he said. “You do need to pass some ordinance to regulate this new industry to ensure the entire city isn’t open to establishments in this new industry.”

There was a great deal of discussion, though, before the vote was logged to pass Ambrosino’s proposal.

Avellaneda had an amendment that would have eliminated the Industrial Zones as an area for retail, and would have included the Shopping Center district instead – which is in places like the Mystic Mall/DeMoula’s and the Parkway Plaza.

He said siting cultivation facilities in the Industrial Zone is a no-brainer, but he said retail of any kind, even marijuana, doesn’t belong in an industrial area.

“This will be a storefront,” he said. “You don’t picture this in the middle of some warehouse where there are no stairs and a loading dock and lifts for pallets in front. When you think about the retail, we think of this, we should think of it like a jewelry store…You have no public transportation in the Industrial Zone. You’re not taking the bus down Marginal Street or Eastern Avenue…This proposal is drawn up by individuals thinking about this like it was 20 years ago and not today.”

Avellaneda had some measured support for his amendment, but it did eventually fail, getting only six of the eight votes needed.

Those voting for his amendment included Councillors Enio Lopez, Yamir Rodriguez, Bob Bishop, Giovanni Recupero, and Judith Garcia. Those voting against it were Councillors Damali Vidot, Calvin Brown, Leo Robinson, and Joe Perlatonda.

Read More

Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Full-service real estate and property management firm Peabody Properties (http://www.peabodyproperties.com) is proud to announce that Dusanka Caus of Chelsea, Massachusetts, has been recognized for excellence by the New England Affordable Housing Management Association (NEAHMA).

Caus, Peabody Properties’ Service Manager, was awarded Maintenance Professional of the Year at the recent NEAHMA Annual Industry Awards reception, held in conjunction with the organization’s Annual Conference & Trade Show.  The honor is given annually to a NEAHMA member affordable housing professional in recognition of their contribution to the affordable housing industry.  In addition, the award recognizes the difference the recipient has made in residents’ lives, the demonstrated skills needed to operate a well-run property, and the ability to work well with industry partners and residents living in the community.

“Dusanka is an extraordinary member of our team and well-deserving of this prestigious award from NEAHMA,” said Scott Ployer, Vice President of Peabody Properties, Inc.  “The entire Peabody Properties community extends congratulations to Dusanka.”

About Peabody Properties, Inc.

Peabody Properties is a full-service real-estate firm which manages more than 12,000 units of housing, primarily in New England. The award-winning, privately held corporation and Accredited Management Organization (AMO) was incorporated in 1976 and is under the direction of Karen Fish-Will and Melissa Fish-Crane.  In 1995, Peabody Properties recognized its long-term commitment to Resident Services as a unique area of expertise within the field of property management and established a new, specialty sector.  Peabody Resident Services, Inc. is dedicated solely to the development of support services and programs for residents of affordable housing.  Peabody Properties is designated as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), is certified by the Massachusetts State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) and was recently ranked in the top 60 on the 2017 National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) Affordable 100 List, as well as a 2017 Top Place to Work by the Boston Globe.  Peabody Properties maintains headquarters at 536 Granite Street, Braintree, MA 02184. The firm also has offices in New Jersey and Florida. For additional information please visit http://www.peabodyproperties.com.

Read More

Chelsea Chamber to Participate in Small Business Saturday Nov 25

Chelsea Chamber to Participate in Small Business Saturday Nov 25

This is the season to Shop Small®! On main streets across America, small businesses are getting ready to welcome customers on Small Business Saturday, celebrated this year on November 25 across the country and on Broadway Chelsea.

Results from the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released this month by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, show six in 10 (61%) U.S. consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday going into the day, and of those, 82% plan to shop at a small, independently-owned retailer or dine at a small, independently-owned restaurant on the day.

Created by American Express in 2010 as a way to help small businesses get more customers, Small Business Saturday is held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Now entering its eighth year, the day is embraced by independent merchants of all kinds—from traditional brick and mortar retailers to service providers to e-commerce businesses. And as consumer shopping habits continue to evolve, they are prioritizing small businesses – even those online: the report found that 59% of consumers said they are likely to seek out a small, independently-owned retailer when shopping online on Small Business Saturday.

“Small Business Saturday provides people an opportunity to discover and celebrate the variety of small businesses that make their communities thrive,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising & Brand Management at American Express. “Beyond visiting their favorite go-to spots, shoppers say Small Business Saturday inspires them to visit places they have not been to before and would not have otherwise tried.”

Consumers Will Make Small Businesses a Big Part of Holiday Shopping Plans

Among those who are aware and who plan to shop on Small Business Saturday this year, 65% say the main reason they will support local, independently-owned retailers and restaurants is because they value the contributions small businesses make to their community.

The 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey found:

As much as 80% of all consumers surveyed say at least some of their holiday shopping will be done at small, independently-owned retailers or restaurants;

Three-quarters (75%) of all consumers surveyed are planning on going to one or more small businesses as part of their holiday shopping;

90% of all consumers surveyed agree it is important for them to support small, independently-owned restaurants and bars;

Of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday, 89% agree that the day encourages them to Shop Small all year long, not just during the holiday season;

For those who are aware and who plan to shop on Small Business Saturday, 44% plan to spend more this year compared to last year.

“Supporting small businesses is critical to the health and livelihood of our national economy and local communities,” said NFIB CEO and President Juanita Duggan. “We are proud to partner with American Express to bring attention to the importance of small business and look forward to another successful Small Business Saturday.”

Grassroots Support Boosted by Neighborhood Champions and the Small Business Saturday Coalition

Local support for Small Business Saturday is largely driven by Neighborhood Champions: small businesses, business associations, local Chambers of Commerce and other community organizers who help energize their neighborhoods on the day. To date, more than 7,200 Neighborhood Champions have signed up to plan activities and events to draw shoppers to small businesses across the U.S., leading up to and on Small Business Saturday. Click  here to find Neighborhood Champions near you. Small business owners can also find event inspiration and create customizable Small Business Saturday marketing materials to rally their communities at   ShopSmall.com.

Another important group that drives participation on the day is the Small Business Saturday Coalition. Led by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the Small Business Saturday Coalition was created in 2011 to help amplify the Shop Small message. The Coalition is comprised of national, state and local associations that help coordinate Small Business Saturday activities with merchants, consumers, small business owners and public officials in every state across the country.

Show Love for Your Favorite Places on Social Media

Consumers have made it a tradition each year to share their love for Small Business Saturday on social media, and all are encouraged to show off their favorite independently-owned businesses by using #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This year, American Express is also encouraging consumers to RSVP on Facebook   here for reminders about the nationwide celebration to Shop Small this November 25th.

To discover and share the impact shopping small has in your state, visit:  www.shopsmall.com/mystate.

Corporate Supporters Rally Communities to Support Small Business

To help drive excitement for Small Business Saturday, American Express has enlisted the support of many companies that are serving as Corporate Supporters. Together these companies reach millions of small businesses and consumers and are key players in the e-commerce, retail, telecom, media, hospitality, transportation, and professional services industries.   FedEx is among the medium and large-sized companies that will be participating. The company is shipping Shop Small merchandise kits to Neighborhood Champions and small businesses across the country free of charge, and printing select materials in the kit at no cost through FedEx Office.  Grubhub is helping restaurants stand out, deliver memorable experiences and optimize online offerings on Small Business Saturday. Additionally,  Ace Hardware,  FTD,  Square and  Liberty Mutual Insurance are lending their support to the day.

Read More

Councillor Lopez: Too Many Commercial Vehicles Parking on Streets

Councillor Lopez: Too Many Commercial Vehicles Parking on Streets

By Seth Daniel

Parking is at a crisis point according to many in Chelsea, and Councillor Enio Lopez said at Monday’s meeting that matters are only made worse by some who park multiple commercial/business vehicles on City streets where parking is scant.

The matter passed the Council and was reported to the City Manager and Parking Clerk for review and suggestions.

“A lot of times you will see three  or four commercial vehicles from one house parked on the street,” he said. “I think you can only have one van or one truck, but I have seen some people that are parking four cars or vans on the streets for their businesses. They should pay for a parking lot to park their business vehicles. These spots are for people who live in the City and may be coming home from part-times at night and can’t find a spot.”

Councillor Matt Frank said Lopez had identified a large and growing problem in the City that makes parking much more difficult.

“This is a serious problem when you have a small  side streets and you have four or five vans operating there and parking there and there is nowhere for residents to park,” he said. “A lot of people are running small businesses out of their homes. That’s great, but if you start bringing in 10 or 12 employees and then you park your vans on the street, that’s a problem.”

Councillor Giovanni Recupero agreed, saying he sees it a lot in his district.

“There’s a loophole based on the numbers of axles, the difference is between a commercial vehicle and a commercial plate,” he said. “The way it is now, they can park all day long. Maybe we can go back and change this so it doesn’t have that loophole. We have to revise the regulations to accommodate residents.”

Councillor Dan Cortell agreed, saying that making the distinction between commercial vehicles and commercial plates might be a problem. Perhaps, he said, both should be included in the regulations.

Read More

Henry Wilson Announces Candidacy for District 5 Seat on City Council

Henry Wilson Announces Candidacy for District 5 Seat on City Council

Since I announced my candidacy for District 5 City Councillor, I have had the opportunity to speak and meet with many of you about your vision for the district. Each conversation has reminded me once again that our city’s greatest asset is our people.

Whether you live on Beacon, Ash, Cottage, Chester Avenue, or Lynn Streets, we all share a common commitment to doing everything we can to make our community and district stronger.

For over 20 years, I have lived here in our great city and district as a homeowner, and as a community activist, one that cares deeply in the direction that our city is heading.

As an activist along with other concerned residents, we were able to lower the speed limit in our city to 25 miles per hour. Also we were able to make our streets safer by working with City Hall and others to raise the streets to their highest levels to help combat the safety concerns of our residents. In addition I have been a strong advocate of a healthier and cleaner Chelsea. Having been a member of the Chelsea Enhancement Team, Chelsea Shines, and the Beautification Committee, and a supporter Green Roots,  the city is looking much better. The air quality is getting better, and both the homeowners and business owners are maintaining their properties better, all because of the commitment and hard work of concerned residents and myself.

Yes, there is still much more work to be done in our district. Being a current member for eight years on Planning Board, one of several of my concerns is to make sure that our residents are being forced out of their city that they have called home for many years. I also want to make sure that all new developments have fair and adequate affordable housing both at rental price and percentage of housing units.

With the recent Inclusionary Zoning Ordiance of 30, 50, 80, this will will help to insure housing for our residents. Being involved with the Re-Imaging process of the Downtown Business District, we are in desperate need of housing in this area. I will work hard to make sure that our city does not become an unaffordable city for those who choose to live here.

I will continue to make sure that City Hall and all departments are fiscally sound. I am committed to working with all departments, item by item, prior to and during the budget hearings. I will look to see where we able to save our residents money.

I am running because I want to be your voice at City Hall. As a district, we deserve a leader that is ready to work on Day 1. I am a person that is committed to the district and willing and able to vote with the residents that you are to serve.

District 5 deserves a councillor that wants to help lead our city and district. I believe that our city is on the verge of receiving amazing and wonderful opportunities. We as residents have an opportunity to grab this moment and move forward stronger together. This is why as District 5 city councillor, I will be committed to helping to continue rebuilding our city, preparing and giving our youngest residents the tools they need to succeed in their future goals. I will never stop working for you as a resident and as your city councillor.

If you believe in this vision for our city’s future – one of working together, growth, affordable housing, cleaner and safer neighborhoods, and preparing our future leaders – then I hope you will consider becoming part of our campaign.

Please vote for Henry David Wilson on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Read More

City Takes Two-Way Broadway Idea to Businesses Today, Aug 31

City Takes Two-Way Broadway Idea to Businesses Today, Aug 31

By Seth Daniel

City officials and consultants for the Re-Imagining Broadway effort will take one of their most controversial suggestions to the business community on Broadway today, Aug. 31, prompting a discussion about making Broadway a two-way street.

The six-month planning effort has come up with numerous suggestions about how to improve the corridor, but at the top of those suggestions is the idea about taking Broadway from a one-way to a two-way.

The street has been in its current configuration for more than a generation, and few remember the last time it was moving differently.

However, count City Manager Tom Ambrosino as a convert to the idea.

“I think it will be transformative and make a large difference for the downtown’s flavor,” he said. “I think we can do it. Put me down as a huge proponent. It could dramatically improve the safety of the corridor by slowing down traffic considerably. I think it would look a lot prettier. The drawings have a very interesting iteration of a two-way Broadway.”

Ambrosino said this month that after the meeting with the downtown stakeholders, including the businesses, they would come up with a decision on the matter.

All downtown business owners and employees are invited to attend the meeting, which takes place at 9 a.m. at the Greenhouse Apartments Community Room, 154 Pearl St.

A Spanish language interpreter will be available.

Read More

Cortell,Avellaneda ask for Airplane Noise Study

Cortell,Avellaneda ask for Airplane Noise Study

By Seth Daniel

There have been fewer frustrating situations lately than the increase in the number, proximity and volume of airplanes coming and going from Logan Airport during the past few months as a project to re-pave runways has played out, and now two City Councillors have decided now is the perfect time to ask for an independent noise study of plane traffic over Chelsea.

Councillors Dan Cortell and Roy Avellaneda, two staunch critics of Logan, put in an order on Monday night’s meeting calling for the City Manager Tom Ambrosino to authorize funds for a third party to perform a comprehensive sound study as it relates to the noise from airplanes passing over Chelsea from Logan. The order calls for monitors to be placed under and around flight paths over an appropriate period of time to get a reading of decibel levels and frequency of planes.

When that data is received, it would be compared to the existing Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) noise abatement requirements.

The matter was praised by other councilors and passed the Council.

The initiative was the latest volley in what has been an historic rough relationship with MassPort regarding the frequency of planes and the level of sound coming over Chelsea. Chelsea also hosts an Airport Business Overlay District for rental cars and freight forwarding and jet fuel storage. For that, it receives an annual payment to the City, but many feel that the expansion of the airport in recent years demands more mitigation for the residents of Chelsea, who arguably are as close as anyone to the airport except for East Boston.

Both Cortell and Avellaneda said the final straw was when elected officials began fielding numerous calls for increased jet noise. They had few answers, but later learned that a runway re-paving project was diverting more flights over Chelsea from April to June as the project played out.

MassPort said the project would end on June 23, but they told City Manager Tom Ambrosino that they would not come and address the Council about the project.

“We are now looking to get a sound study from an independent third party,” said Cortell. “There is a very difficult thing to do. It’s federal; it’s the FAA. They have rules and guidelines. We believe some studies are too old or not done by and independent third party. We want to see what our numbers reveal.”

Cortell has been a frequent critic because his district on Admiral’s Hill doesn’t get mitigation despite routinely getting very low flights and sometimes, he said, being able to see the faces of the pilots as they approach the Hill.

Avellaneda said Chelsea has been disrespected for too long by MassPort. He said, most recently, the City was snubbed when the airport wanted to expand Terminal E. Now, he said, they have refused to meet with the City in regards to the paving project that has so impacted residents for months.

“When they put together our mitigation package…they really underestimated the numbers of flights Chelsea would get,” he said. “MassPort has not been a very good neighbor. I’ve had discussions with the City Manager about getting us a meeting. Despite his requests, no one from MassPort would come to talk to us. We can now only take it up in our own fight…If we all agree it’s a good idea, we will do a sound study.”

The matter was praised by Councillors Damali Vidot and Luis Tejada as well.

Additionally, the matter has gathered steam in the environmental justice community, and GreenRoots announced Wednesday that it would be holding a meeting on airport noise this coming Monday, June 26, at the Williams School, 6 p.m.

Read More