Facing many critics from the public that showed up to speak against two-way Broadway, the City Council on Monday decided to defer any vote and, instead, hold a Committee on Conference to review the matter.
In August, the Traffic Commission voted 5-1 to approve the two-way plan, as well as a spate of many other non-controversial changes to Fay Square, Chelsea Square, Bellingham Square and City Hall Avenue.
Council President Damali Vidot called for the committee, and the Council approved the move. She said they had until Oct. 6 to hold the meeting and to have a vote of the full Council. The City Council must approve all actions of the Traffic Commission, but if they do not do so by Oct. 6, the Commission’s approval will become law.
Many on the Council have not made their opinions known yet, but some have, and ultimately the fate of two-way Broadway will fall on the votes of 11 members of the Council.
Council President Vidot has been critical of the idea, and has particularly disagreed with the planning process that has unfolded over the past two years. In the past, she has been against the change.
Councillor Leo Robinson, however, said this week he is in favor of two-way Broadway.
“I’m a two-way Broadway guy,” he said.
Councillor Joe Perlatonda has also spoke in favor of the plan, and said the one-way plan is dangerous because it calls for cars to park outside of the protected bike lane. He said that would leave those exiting their cars in a dangerous position with oncoming traffic and with oncoming bicyclists.
Meanwhile, Councillor Bob Bishop said he doesn’t buy the idea of two-way Broadway. To this point, he said he isn’t convinced it’s a good change.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes are some of the biggest advocates, and though they don’t have a vote, they have strongly called for the change for months.
Resident Sharleen McLain, however, was one of several residents who said the plan is flawed and has been forced upon the public.
“From the very first it was clear the City Manager and the planners have been pretty bent on getting two-way Broadway,” she said. “They’ve been pretty manipulative in moving forward on this two-way plan. None of these meetings have allowed for meaningful input. It wasn’t until the July Traffic Commission meeting that members of the public were able to speak directly to the plans.”
Said Barbara Richard, “I think two-way Broadway is spot-on dead wrong. Businesses will go under. I also think it hasn’t been a good enough outreach to the community.”
Ambrosino said he is in favor of the two-way plan, but he implored the Council to consider the plan is much more than just the two-way Broadway situation. He said there are many, many more non-controversial changes in the package that people do want universally.
“Much of what is before you is non-controversial,” he said. “Whether it’s Fay Square, Bellingham Square or City Hall Avenue, these provisions have no opposition to the changes.”
The Council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 24, and the Conference Committee will likely take place next week.
The City of Chelsea dedicated the Washington Avenue bridge at Heard Street in memory of Chelsea Police officer
The Bruttaniti family, standing beneath the John P. Bruttaniti Memorial Bridge sign that is displayed at the structure on Washington Avenue. From left, are Nicole Correa, Karen Bruttaniti, Gemeisha James, Karen Bruttaniti, Festus Odigie, and Gus Correa.
John Bruttaniti during an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson served as master of ceremonies for the program during which City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Council President Damali Vidot and other dignitaries paid tribute to Mr. Bruttaniti, who died in an accident on May 12, 2016 at the age of 41.
Vidot said she personally understood the importance of having a mentor like Mr. Bruttaniti during one’s years of personal development. Other speakers at the ceremony echoed the belief that a bridge dedication was the perfect way to honor a man who was “a bridge” from Chelsea’s dedicated public servants in the Police Department to the city’s youth.
Several of Mr. Bruttaniti’s colleagues in the Police Department and the Fire Department attended the ceremony. (Mr. Bruttaniti worked for three years in the CFD before joining the Police Department in 2008). The Fire and Police Color Guards added an impressive touch to the program. Mr. Bruttaniti’s fellow veterans in the U.S. Army, who served with him in Iraq, were also in attendance for the tribute.
Police Chief Brian Kyes praised Mr. Bruttaniti’s outstanding record as a police officer and read the police report that Mr. Bruttaniti wrote after saving a toddler from choking by dislodging a penny stuck in her throat and resuscitating her. For his heroic actions in that June, 2015 incident, Mr. Bruttaniti received the Chelsea Police Life Saving Award.
Mr. Bruttaniti’s instantaneous response to the situation and his training in the emergency medical field caused some to say that he was placed as “an angel” in that situation to save a baby’s life.
Mr. Bruttaniti’s sister, Karen, delivered touching remarks on behalf of the family.
“John lived with a real zest for life,” said Karen Bruttaniti. “He loved riding his motorcycle and truly enjoying his life. John was a man of deep character. He never judged, never held a grudge, and always believed in forgiving others, no matter what.”
Karen recalled the warm and inspiring correspondences she received while her brother was serving in Iraq. “The letters always ended, saying, ‘Sister, I love my family.”
“I still read his letters and my eyes still fill with tears,” she said.
Karen added thoughtfully, “But let me be clear. John was dedicated to his entire family, and he counted all of you, the people of Chelsea, as family. Serving for and with the people of Chelsea, John loved being a firefighter, police officer, investigator, mentor, volunteering anywhere and in an any way to help his Chelsea family. That was our brother.”
Karen said her brother would have been humbled by having a bridge named in his honor.
“I know he would hope that his memory would serve as an example of community and service to one another in love,” she said.
The souvenir program included photos of Mr. Bruttaniti with Chief Brian Kyes, Capt. David Batchelor, and Sgt. David Flibotte in their CPD uniforms at an awards ceremony in Boston, and of Mr. Bruttaniti with youths he had mentored in the Chelsea REACH Program, and it aptly concluded with the following memorial tribute to the beloved police officer: “John will forever be remembered for his kindness, bravery, and service to our country and to the City of Chelsea.”
The Chelsea Traffic Commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to recommend that the Broadway business corridor be changed from a one-way, to a two-way street – the culmination of more than a year of planning.
Carolyn Vega was the lone vote on the Commission against the two-way plan. She wasn’t opposed to the overall plan, but desired to recommend a six-month trial period.
The remaining Commissioners preferred to simply recommend the two-way plan.
The plan will now go to the City Council for a final vote at the Sept. 10 meeting, though it could be put off until the Sept. 24 meeting.
Many people were for it and many were against the plan, but in the end City Manager Tom Ambrosino said that if it didn’t work out, it would easily be able to be changed back to a one-way.
Business owner Rick Gordon said he would prefer a one-way configuration because it would be more inviting for businesses.
Fire Chief Leonard Albanese said he believed in the two-way configuration and thought it would lead to a much safer pedestrian and driving experience. He also said he believed it would enhance the Fire Department’s operations.
Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he didn’t see the need for a two-way and didn’t believe it would be safer. He asked for data to show whether or not people are being hit by cars.
Resident Bruck Black said it would be a shame to study the issue for two years with an award-winning consultant team, and then not make the changes they recommend.
Consultant Kevin Dandrade, of TEC, said they believed Chelsea could successfully make the change.
The Traffic Commission also recommended sweeping circulation changes to Fay Square, Chelsea Square, Bellingham Square and the City Hall front area – where Broadway will also become a two-way street.
The changes also include new smart traffic lights which will be at all Broadway intersections and will work via Wi-Fi to help control and time the traffic lights in real time.
The Chelsea Police Department will increase impaired driving patrols on local roads with grant funds from the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Chelsea Police will join local departments across the state as well as the Massachusetts State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Overenforcement mobilization and public information campaign.
This year’s campaign will urge drivers drinking alcohol or using marijuana and other drugs to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, use a ride-share service or take public transportation.
“Impaired drivers create a dangerous situation for everyone around them, threatening the destruction of lives and entire families,” said Chief Brian A. Kyes. “This grant will help increase our efforts during the busy summer travel season to keep our roads free of impaired drivers and avoid the tragedy they wreak.”
“Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, using marijuana or both is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division. “A little planning can save your life or someone else’s. Regret or remorse won’t bring someone back.”
Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2011 to 2016.
From 2015 to 2016, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased 9 percent (109 to 119).
From 2011-2015, 82 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.
From 2011-2015, 45 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.
National Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. On average, more than 10,000 people have died each year (2012- 2016) in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors.
In 2016, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
Drugs were present in 43 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result in 2015, more frequently than alcohol was present.
NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects—slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.
To view the Highway Safety Division’s (HSD) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” TV spots, or for more information about the HSD’s public information campaign, go to www.mass.gov/DriveSober
As a drill instructor punished young Chelsea men with squats, knee bends, jump tucks and a variety of sit up exercises – the young people didn’t give up, but rather seemed to beg for more.
It’s been a pattern that’s repeated itself daily for the last seven weeks as the first-ever Chelsea Youth Police Academy unfolded this summer with 18 young people sticking out what is an off-shoot of the summer youth employment initiative. More than 20 applied for the academy through the Chelsea Collaborative, and officers selected 20 recruits. Two left the program, but 18 have stuck it out.
For the past seven weeks, Officers Keith Sweeney, Dave Batchelor Jr., Joe Cordes and Sammy Mojica have ushered the 18 Chelsea young people through hard physical training, and a classroom regimen of police training – as well as a few field trips.
Every Thursday morning, the Carter Park Crossfit Gym – owned by Firefighters Wayne Ulwick and Blady Sanchez – have donated their space for a morning workout with their instructor Jorge Monzor.
“We start every day off with physical training and Carter Park did donate one day a week to us, which has been great,” said Officer Keith Sweeney. “This is the first year and the overall goal is to build relationships with the youth in Chelsea. All three of us are assigned to community services and are stationed in the Chelsea Schools, so we know a lot of the kids already. We have a lot of good programs, but this is by far the best one.”
Said Batchelor, “We’ve had other kids come up to us after hearing about what we’re doing, and they want to know if the program is open and if they can join.”
Officer Cordes said it’s a program that promotes structure, and he said often young people in Chelsea crave that structure. That’s why, he believes, they have flocked to a program that challenges them physically and teaches military drills and police tactics.
“I think a lot of young people lack structure and when I went to the military, I didn’t think I wanted structure, but I miss it now,” he said. “High school kids want structure and love the camaraderie and brotherhood that has come with this academy.”
All said that Chief Brian Kyes and City Manager Tom Ambrosino are fully behind the program, and are promoting it wherever they go.
Sweeney said he is happy to see that a partnership with Carter Park grew out of the Academy and he hopes that will continue in the school year.
“When these guys opened, they called us and wanted to get high school kids in here,” he said. “When we started the Academy, we thought it was a perfect opportunity. I’m happy for these kids. I grew up in Chelsea and there was nothing like this for us when we were growing up.”
Co-owner Wayne Ulwick said the mission of the gym is to give back to the community as much as it is to operate as a business.
“Before we even opened up, that was the goal was to get these kids here,” he said. “We do this because it’s close to our hearts and not for the money.”
In addition, Sweeney said the recruits have had to learn to be on time, bring their lunch, have two uniforms ready and do their homework for the class portion.
“They never missed a beat,” he said with a smile.
FRONT 6577 –
Instructor Jorge Monzor gives orders to the Chelsea Youth Police Academy recruits last Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Carter Park Crossfit. The first-ever youth academy has found great success over seven weeks this summer, with 18 recruits sticking it out for a tough summer of physical training and police-based instruction. By all accounts, the young people have thoroughly enjoyed it – as have the officers.
Academy recruit Oliver Romero sweats it out on Thursday.
Push-ups have become second nature to Academy recruits like Robert Rossetti, shown here last Thursday during a rigorous training session at Carter Park Crossfit. The Crossfit donated the gym one morning per week for seven weeks to the Academy.
Frankie Suarez shows the strain as he does endless amounts of squat thrusts.
What better way to introduce the new ordinance allowing food trucks in the city than with a Chelsea Food Truck
City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher (left) and City Hall summer intern Katherine Cabral invite Chelsea residents to attend the first-ever Chelsea Food Truck Festival Aug. 14-16 at the Williams School parking lot.
That’s the path that City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher and City Hall summer intern Katherine Cabral are taking with the city’s first food truck festival that will be held on Aug. 14-16 (Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) at the Williams Middle School parking lot at the corner of Arlington and Fifth Streets.
Watson Fisher, head of the Law Department for the city and a graduate of one of the nation’s finest law schools (Boston College), is the chief organizer, while Cabral, a CHS graduate and student at Bates College, is in charge of marketing for the organizing team.
Watson Fisher, who also supervises licenses in Chelsea, drafted the food-truck ordinance, which took one year to develop and gain approval.
“We’re trying with this festival to show that there is a customer base and market for food trucks in Chelsea,” said Watson Fisher. “We also want to get the food trucks here as an event for employees of City Hall. The Williams School is a good location for City Hall employees and other people who also work in the city during the day.”
Several employees from city departments, including licensing, law, DPW, inspectional services, schools, city manager’s office, will be in attendance and interact with the community at the festival.
Representatives from the National Institute of Justice will be conducting a survey at the festival. The Hubcats, which promotes the well-being of cats, will have an information table. The Archery, Limebikes, and Carter Park Crossfit are among the local businesses participating in the festival. There will be music and a possible appearance of the Chelsea Police “Copsicle” truck.
Attendees will have a wide of variety foods available for purchase, according to Watson Fisher.
“We’ll have a Chilean food truck, a Vietnamese food truck, a gluten-free, vegan truck, an American barbecue truck, as well as tacos, sausages, hot dogs, and hamburgers, and desserts,” said Watson Fisher.
Cabral said the festival will help determine which type of food trucks might be popular if the trucks were stationed here on a daily basis.
“We’re bringing in a big variety of food trucks to see what the people want going forward and whether the food truck operators are interested in collaborating with Chelsea,” said Cabral.
Though Watson Fisher is ready to review applications for food truck licenses and to potentially grant them, there are no food trucks currently operating in the city.
“We have allowed food trucks at certain events,” said Watson Fisher. “But at this point there are no food trucks operating in the city.”
Cabral believes the festival will ignite an interest in food trucks wanting to set up shop in the city.
“We really do want this event to be a springboard for food trucks to come to Chelsea and to expose our dayworkers to see this an opportunity to try new things, so we’re super excited to hold such a multi-faceted event in our city,” said Cabral.
Facing a do-or-die situation for the completion of major off-site roadwork this summer, and a slower-than-expected work schedule on an Eversource project, Encore Boston Harbor and the City of Everett have announced on Tuesday the areas of Beacham, Dexter and Robin Streets will basically be closed off from Aug. 8 through October.
The change will likely have much more dire consequences for Chelsea than for Everett, as the roadway in and out of the New England Produce Center will be shut down for all intents and purposes. Beyond that, cab traffic from the airport will also be diverted away from the normal route through Beacham Street.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they’ll have to take a wait and see approach in the coming weeks to figure out the proper response.
“It’s just hard to say what the impact will be,” he said. “Given the Second Street alternative (for the Produce Center), I’m hoping the impact is not too substantial. But, we will have to wait and see.”
Chief Brian Kyes said the Police Department would employ its message boards around the city to inform people of the sudden change.
Many had hoped that the work could get done side-by-side, and by making the Eversource transmission line project and the Encore traffic project a dual project Ð it could bring down the pain associated with so much construction work in one small location.
However, that ended up not happening, said Everett Planner Jay Monti, who indicated that Eversource moved too slow on their project. That, in turn, has put things in jeopardy for the casino to get its work done before the end of the outdoor construction season Ð which closes in early November when the asphalt plants shut down.
“Due to delays in permitting and obstructions on the road, Eversource has gotten behind schedule to the point it’s going to threaten Encore in getting its [off-site] roadwork done and without that work they can’t open the casino next year. We’re up against a wall and the only way to get it to work is to go 24 hours a day and essentially shut down the roadsÉThings got critical last week and Eversource was just not making progress. Encore came to us and said they can’t wait any longer. They can’t risk not opening up the casino on time because of the Eversource project running behind.”
The shut-down began Aug. 8, and will run for about 10 weeks into October so that Eversource can work around the clock, three shifts, to get their work in the area done and move on to Chelsea and East Boston. Following that, the shutdown will allow Encore to work around the clock to get the work done that has been held up due to Eversource running behind.
Monti said the corridor will be open to pedestrians and bicycles during the 10-week shutdown. To be clear, though, the roads will be open for drivers, but it will be more than difficult to get through at all hours of the day. So, they are suggesting people use other ways to get places like the airport, the Produce Center and other areas. “For all intents and purposes, it’s closed because anyone who goes down there will sit in traffic for three hours,” he said. “We want to send a message to people who use that corridor. If you’re a cabbie going to or coming from the airport, you have to take the Tobin and pay the toll. If you’re a delivery driver for Amazon, we don’t want you in that area because this work needs to get done. If you’re a driver for the Produce Center, we encourage you to take Rt. 16 and Second Street into Chelsea.”
The good news for Chelsea residents is that the $5 million redesign of the Broadway business district is moving forward, and a final decision will be made by the City Council about its exact components next month.
And if the vision and innovativeness that City Manager Tom Ambrosino fostered in all parts of Revere can be matched here, then Chelsea residents can expect a Broadway and Bellingham Square bustling with activity and commerce.
But a big question about “The New Broadway” remains: Should the six city blocks from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue be a one-way street (as it exists now and has for many decades) or a two-way street?
The Chelsea Traffic Commission hosted a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall to hear residents’ opinions about the potential change of Broadway to a two-way street. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter at its next meeting before the Council casts the final vote about the entire redesign project, including the traffic plan.
Alexander Train, Chelsea’s assistant director of the department of planning and development, gave a thorough presentation of the re-imagined Broadway project that will totally transform the business district’s intersections, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tree pits, and physical appearance.
“We’ve completed the planning and development portion of the process and we’re now approaching the Traffic Commission to vote and adopt and enact the plan,” said Train. “Their vote will be relayed to City Council, who has the authority to approve or reject their decision.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes spoke in favor of a two-way Broadway, saying it would improve the flow of traffic.
“If a person double parks his vehicle, we have a reason to tow the vehicle ASAP,” said Kyes. “We want to keep the traffic flowing.”
Kyes said he was happy to hear that the intersection of Broadway and Third Street will have traffic lights in the redesign project. “Broadway and Third is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire state,” said Kyes.
He said that when he drove from the police station to City Hall for the meeting, “the backup when I got to Hawthorne Street was incredible, because everybody is making the loop (around Broadway). I think the final [redesign] project makes a lot of sense. I drive down Broadway, Revere all the time and I very, very rarely see double parking there.” Councillor-at-Large Damlili
Vidot said she would like to see the city pay more attention to cleaning up Broadway (such as removing the weed in the metal grates). She also disputed the claim that two-way traffic would curtail double parking and that it would make it safer for pedestrians. She also asked about potential back-ups on the Tobin Bridge and how it would affect traffic on a two-way Broadway.
Vidot said she was not happy with the swiftness of the entire redesign process.
“I urge everyone to just take several steps back and let’s figure out a way to engage more people,” said Vidot. “The way that this process has gone, having a meeting in the middle of summer when the City Council isn’t even meeting – in a hot room where everyone is aggravated and we had to wait 10 minutes to even start the meeting, all of it is just not right.”
Ambrosino, who favors a two-way Broadway, said the traffic configuration should not predominate the discussion of the redesign project.
“That’s only a small part of the reimaging Broadway,” said Ambrosino. “Many of the improvements [to Bellingham Square, Fay Square, City Hall Avenue, traffic signals at dangerous intersections] are happening regardless of which of these two configurations between Williams and Fifth Streets is chosen. Even the one-way configuration is a major improvement over the two-lane speedway that currently exists on Broadway. The two-way configuration is still safer, calmer, and slower for bicylists and pedestrians.”
Ambrosino said the two-way configuration will be “transformative.”
“It will make a difference to the feel and the look of that downtown. It makes it vibrant. It makes it aesthetically pleasing. This will be better for pedestrians, for traffic, and for businesses.”
Rick Gordon, owner of Allen Cut Rite on Broadway, said the No. 1 issue in the downtown district is parking. “I personally prefer a one-way plan for the flow of traffic. The street is much narrower than other communities and I don’t think two-way makes a business more visible.”
Gordon credited the Chelsea Police for their efforts in slowing down motorists and enforcing double-parking restrictions on Broadway. Some residents at the meeting had noted that double-parking is a recurring issue on Broadway.
Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda, whose family owns Tito’s Bakery, asked whether the City Council will have to vote on the redesign project in its entirety as opposed to voting on individual components such as the traffic configuration, and the placement of new bus stops and traffic lights on Broadway.
Following more than two hours of discussion, the one-way/two-way Broadway issue remains a hotly debated one and all eyes will be on the Traffic Commission when it convenes for a vote at its next meeting.WE should be Ambrosino said he favors a two-way Broadway
The decision for whether or not to make the Broadway business corridor into a two-way street will come down to a vote of the Traffic Commission on Tuesday, July 24.
Several City officials have already weighed in on the issue, and it could be the most significant change to the surging downtown area in decades.
Two-way Broadway came about during the Re-Imaging Broadway workshops and study that were done all last year. Consultants suggested many options to improve the circulation and vibrancy of Broadway, and one of them was the possibility of making the street two-way instead of one-way.
The biggest backer of the plan is City Manager Tom Ambrosino, who has pledged that, if approved, he would stake his tenure on making the plan work. This week, he said he is still very much in favor of the idea.
“I’m a full supporter of Two-Way Broadway,” he said. “I believe the change will be transformative for the Downtown, both in terms of pedestrian and vehicular safety and in aesthetics. I will be advocating strongly for a favorable vote.”
Meanwhile, Council President Damali Vidot is not feeling the change. She said she appreciates the enthusiasm, but feels it’s a bad idea.
“I think it’s a horrible idea and one we’re not quite ready for,” she said. “Before the City goes changing long-time driving patterns on Broadway, we should deal with our existing parking and traffic issues and how to activate the businesses in that area. I appreciate the ambition and creativity of the pushers of this idea, but there are far bigger things to focus on in this district than changing the flow of traffic. You can put lipstick on a pig, but still Tedeschi and other businesses on Broadway need revival.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes is another long-time supporter of the two-way plan. Kyes sits on the Traffic Commission, and said he will support the plan.
“I concur wholeheartedly with the sentiments of City Manager Ambrosino on this important issue for the reasons that he cited,” said the Chief. “Both he and I have spoken at length on this issue and truly feel that this type of environmental design and resulting traffic configuration will not only enhance public safety, but also will be more aesthetically appealing and inviting to both the residents, visitors and business community.”
The Traffic Commission will take up the matter on Tuesday, July 24, at 6 p.m. in the Planning and Development Conference Room.
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.”