The blinking signals at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Broadway have not functioned for years, but after some recent repairs, they are close to being fixed now.
The question, though, has become whether or not the City really wants to get them working.
“The constraint on operating the lights has not just been the control box,” read a letter from City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Rather, there has been real concern that having the lights fully functioning on the typical green, yellow, and red sequence will adversely impact the flow of traffic. Because it has been so long since the lights have functioned in that fashion, I cannot opine of the legitimacy of that concern.”
Two years ago, the City Council approved money to fix the control box on the lights. That work was completed, and now a small $2,000 expenditure is all that stands in the way of another working traffic light.
That said, the flow of traffic at the intersection is fairly smooth, though there is quite a bit of confusion for those coming onto Broadway from Clinton Street.
Ambrosino said the Council should make the decision, but he recommends a pilot program for 30 to 60 days to see if a functioning lights helps matters or hurts them.
He also suggested upgrading the lights to a sophisticated system using smart systems, cameras and sensors that can automatically change the timing of the light based on traffic volumes. Those types of signals have been approved by the Council for the Williams Street corridor.
He said if there is more development on the Creek, these advanced lights might be in order.
“I do believe that, if any further development is to occur at either the Forbes site or the old Midas site, an upgrade to a smart intersection at this location will be an essential precondition to such development,” he said.
Monday night at the City Council meeting, the main item on the agenda was the new five-year Capital Improvement Program, detailing the maintenance and improvement of roadways, water, sewer and drainage systems, sidewalks, transportation, public buildings and facilities, parks and open space, public safety projects and general equipment. However, Councilor Robert Bishop did not sign the resolution that would have brought the order before the councilors since he had several questions about some of the proposed work outlined in the document. The matter was moved to unfinished business.
The Council still has until the end of the month to approve the recommendations and is expected to take the matter up at its next meeting.
With this main part of the agenda being put on hold, councilors started to address issues ranging from the new tax rate that could see a budget increase of 5 percent to providing more affordable housing in the city for residents.
While it may seem that both issues were not related, the councilors came to the same bottom line, which was having Chelsea families being able to afford to continue to reside in Chelsea.
Bishop questioned the proposed new fiscal 2019 tax rate that will go into effect on July 1. “I would like to see a zero tax rate increase,” he said pointing out that the new tax rate could increase as much as 5 percent. He pointed out that many Chelsea homeowners are struggling to pay their real estate bills.
In a similar vein, Councilor at-Large Leo Robinson introduced a motion to schedule a meeting with the Planning Board and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to look into the possibility of purchasing homes that are foreclosed and keeping the affordable rental units for residents.
Council President Damali Vidot gave up the chair to speak on her motion on amending the existing Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. “We need to look out for the community,” she said. “Developers have the discretion on whom to provide affordable housing units since we are put into the Boston average median income,” she added.
Vidot also noted the toll of decreasing affordable housing is taking on the most vulnerable in Chelsea, namely the young. She noted that many students in the local schools know of the strain that their parents are having of being able to afford to stay in Chelsea or are in fact homeless and as a result, these students are struggling in school. “We must be mindful of renters,” she reminded her colleagues.
In another measure, Vidot is seeking to have an attendance record started for all appointed members to city boards and commissions. “I have received complaints from residents about people not showing up to meetings. We appoint these people, we should know if they are there,” she said. Vidot also added that an attendance record for councilors would be in order.
Councilor Joe Perlatonda introduced an order to install temporary speed bumps on Clinton Street, one located at Washburn Ave. and the other at Lisa Lane off of Clinton Street . He noted that with the summer approaching and neighborhood children outdoors that these speed bumps would slow down drivers speeding.
A Tibetan social organization has purchased the former Irish Club on Clinton Street, and several City officials would like to know more about what the new club would like to do with the property.
The matter was first breeched by Councillor Leo Robinson last month at a Council meeting, when he said he had heard there was a new owner and they had an extensive membership.
Robinson was worried, in particular, about the nature of the Club’s activities and their parking plan – as the former Irish Club hadn’t seen a large membership in many years.
On Monday night, City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that the Tibetan Association of Boston had recently purchased the Irish Club property. He said the club has a permit for the use of the first floor only as a social club.
“That use will be allowed as a matter of right by the new owner,” he said. “I understand the new owner is currently working with ISD to secure the required occupancy permit for that permitted use.”
He said ISD recently conducted an inspection of the property and identified some violations that need to be corrected.
That said, the new owner has expressed to the City a desire to permit the basement for a social club as well. That could only be done by a Special Permit, requiring the new club to make a date with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for expanding a non-conforming use.
It might also require some parking relief too, Ambrosino said.
“Thus far, the owner has started the Special Permit application process, but it has not yet supplied ISD with all the necessary documentation for a full review,” he said.
Ambrosino told the Record that his understanding is the new club has a membership of around 200.
Councillor Matt Frank has announced he will not seek re-election in District 3, leaving former Councillor Joe Perlatonda without an opponent.
As the City Election ballot is getting confirmed this week, with Nomination Papers having come due on Tuesday, District 3 Councillor Matt Frank announced that he would not run for re-election.
Nomination Papers were due to the City Clerk by 5 p.m. on Tuesday and the office was still working on certifying everyone’s signatures, but as of Wednesday afternoon it appeared there would be contested races in District 1, District 2, District 5, District 6, District 7, and District 8.
Surprisingly though, there will be no contested race in District 3 as expected, with Councillor Matt Frank bowing out and leaving former Councillor Joe Perlatonda alone in the race.
Frank said it was a recent decision based upon his work, which is in Dorchester. Having to get back to meetings on Mondays, and to attend community events was becoming difficult to balance with his work, he said.
“After dealing with the Council job and my regular job simultaneously for awhile now, I haven’t really been able to balance the two,” he said. “I had to make a decision and I had to go with the one that pays the bills…The biggest thing is getting back and forth to Chelsea from my work.”
With his exit, it leaves former District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda without an opponent. Many had been eyeing the race between the two, as they were not allies when serving on the Council together a few years ago. Since leaving the Council two years ago, Perlatonda moved to Clinton Street, where he now lives.
The races in District 1 and District 8 seem to be the ones now that are pegged for heavy competition.
Those turning in nomination papers in District 1 include former City Clerk Bob Bishop, Collaborative organizer Sylvia Ramirez, Planning Board member Todd Taylor and School Committeeman Shawn O’Regan.
Only Bishop and Ramirez had been certified as of press time though, but the others were expected to make the cut.
District 1 is an open seat as Councillor Paul Murphy announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
In District 8, political newcomer Zaida Ismatul Oliva, former At-Large Councillor Calvin Brown and Jermaine Williams have all qualified for the ballot and will be in the running for that open seat as well. Councillor Dan Cortell announced he would not seek re-election earlier this summer.
In District 2, Soldiers’ Home resident and attorney Olivia Anne Walsh will face incumbent Councillor Luis Tejada – both of who are certified and on the ballot.
In District 5, Councillor Judith Garcia will enter into a rematch with challenger Henry Wilson. Both are certified for the ballot and ran against one another last City Election.
In District 6, Councillor Giovanni Recupero will face newcomer Kristofer Haight – who appears to be concerned with issues like public transportation but is not well-known in the community as of now. Haight is not yet certified for the ballot, though Recupero is.
In District 7, Councillor Yamir Rodriguez will face License Board member Mark Rossi.
In District 4, Councillor Enio Lopez will run unopposed.
All three at-large candidates, Roy Avellaneda, Leo Robinson and Damali Vidot, will also not have any challengers in the election. All three have been certified for the ballot.
Bobby Pereira will not seek re-election
In yet another shocking move, up and coming School Committeeman Bobby Pereira announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election.
One of the few dedicated members on a School Committee that has trouble showing up and simply achieving a quorum, Pereira was expected to cruise to re-election.
Pereira, who represents District 5 on the Committee, said his decision revolved around the fact that he and his wife, Shirley, are expecting their first child.
“I must withdraw myself from the race because I will be given the greatest gift of all in about six months,” he said. “I found out very recently that my wife is nearly three months pregnant with our first child. I will be moving from district 5, and do not want to be elected to serve a district I am not going to live in for much longer… As for now, I need to focus on my child and their needs. I was gearing up for election season but last week when we were given the news I was faced with a choice. All my life I wanted to be a Dad and now I have my chance.”
Candidates are lining up for what looks to be a very competitive City Election season this fall, especially in Districts 1 and 8 where long-time councillors announced this summer that they wouldn’t seek re-election.
The hotbed of the activity right now is in Prattville, where several well known candidates are seeking the seat vacating by Councillor Paul Murphy.
District 1 is the most active voting area in most municipal elections and so every vote will make a difference in what looks to be a very close race with very qualified candidates.
Four candidates have pulled papers as of this week, including former City Clerk Bob Bishop, School Committeeman Shawn O’Regan, Planning Board member Todd Taylor and Collaborative activist Sylvia Ramirez.
All are well known in the City and carry heavy constituencies at the outset.
However, as of Wednesday, none of the four candidates had been certified for the ballot.
The last day to turn in signed and completed nomination papers is Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. – so candidates have a little under two weeks to qualify.
The other hot district with an open seat is District 8, long dominated by Admiral’s Hill. Councillor Dan Cortell will not run for re-election this time, so many candidates are also in contention.
Already, newcomer Zaida Ismatul Oliva of Winnisimmet Street has qualified for the ballot and will be in contention for the seat.
Ismatul Oliva works for Bunker Hill Community College and is a life-long resident of the city.
Others pulling papers qualifying are long-time former Councillor Calvin Brown, who previously was an at-large councillor before losing out in the last election cycle. Interestingly, though, Brown has also pulled papers for at-large Council, but having qualified for District 8, it’s not likely he will also seek an at-large seat.
Long-time resident Lad Dell of Breakwater Drive has pulled papers, as has Jermaine Williams of Admiral’s Way.
In the last go-around in the City Election, there was plenty of action for the three at-large seats, but that isn’t the case so far this time.
All three incumbents, Councillors Roy Avellaneda, Leo Robinson and Damali Vidot have pulled papers and qualified for the ballot. At the moment, they have no competition.
In District 7, a spirited race looks to be coming between Councillor Yamir Rodriguez and License Commissioner Mark Rossi.
In District 5, challenger Henry Wilson has qualified for the ballot, and will likely face incumbent Councillor Judith Garcia – who has pulled papers but has not yet qualified for the ballot.
Garcia and Wilson faced one another in the last election as well, so a spirited re-match is expected.
In District 3, known as Mill Hill, former District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda – who has moved to Clinton Street – has qualified for the ballot and will likely challenge Councillor Matt Frank, who has not yet qualified but has pulled papers.
Frank and Perlatonda, when serving on the Council, had many sharp disagreements and are probably as far apart on the issues as any two people in the City. That said, it should be a spirited contest full of dichotomies.
In District 2, Olivia Ann Walsh of the Soldiers’ Home has qualified for the ballot and will likely face Councillor Luis Tejada, who has pulled papers.
In District 4 and District 6, incumbent Councillor Giovanni Recupero and Enio Lopez are the only ones to pull papers and both have qualified for the ballot as well.
The last date to submit completed papers, once again, is Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.
A lot of valedictorians leave their high school experience every spring with grand plans, college scholarships, and not much thought of their home towns.
In fact, more often than not, those big plans are in far away places.
That’s not the case for Chelsea High Valedictorian Katherine Barnes – who won the honor on June 1 in a very close race with Salutatorian William Estrada – who bucks all such trends and has focused her future plans squarely in Chelsea.
“I want to come back to Chelsea,” the Clinton Street resident said. “My mom’s side came here off the boat. We’ve been here forever. It’s home. You can’t just abandon it and leave it behind. If you’re going to complain about something and want to change something, then you should do something. Trying to find a better place to live isn’t going to help anyone. You should want to make it a better place for everyone. For me, I want to make Chelsea a better place for my siblings, other people’s children and my children if I have them. My house is the first house my grandparents owned when they came from Italy. There’s a very strong family connection here for me. I could never leave it all behind.”
And her love of Chelsea comes from having grown up for many years outside of Chelsea.
Having been born here, Barnes’ family moved to Florida for several years. She attended elementary and 7th grade in Florida and then the family moved back just in time for her to attend 8th grade at the Clark Avenue School.
“I really was so happy to be returning here,” she said. “All my family lived here and I did not have the best experience at the schools in Florida. I wasn’t challenged and wasn’t the most popular kid. I went to the Clark and everyone was so nice and friendly. I had never had the experience where people appreciated me for what I knew instead of picking on me for what I knew.”
That year at the Clark, she said, was a complete turnaround for her – as she was chosen Student of the Year for the Clark Ave Middle School.
From there, she said she gained confidence and pivoted into a new direction.
In high school, she became an advocate – much like her mother, Christine Barnes, who is a frequent attendee at civic meetings in Chelsea and is outspoken on many issues.
Barnes said she created what is now known as the Handbook Committee when she championed opposition to the school dress code.
“We wanted to get more student say in the handbook policies,” she said. “It started with the dress code and soon we realized there were a lot of things that need to be changed or updated…That committee will continue into next year and I’m excited about that because there will be more student say and more parent say in the school handbook.”
She was also active as president of the Book Club, a member of InterACT and National Honor Society.
Barnes has a full scholarship to attend Hamilton College in New York as part of the Posse Foundation Program – which provides scholarships and a support/mentoring network for inner city students who want to attend private schools outside of their region.
Barnes said she almost didn’t participate in the exclusive Posse Scholar program because she didn’t want to leave home. However, once visiting the campus, she knew she had to go there.
Still, she said it’s only a prelude to coming back to Chelsea for her larger goals.
“My mom says I will be president and my grandmother says I’ll be the city manager,” she laughed. “I want to come back to help change things in Chelsea. I think there are a lot of different things, but the biggest thing is the education.”
And while away from Chelsea, what will she miss the most besides her family?
The 111 bus.
“The biggest thing I’ll miss when I’m gone is boarding the 111 bus and going into Boston,” she said. “I always say I hate that bus and it can be frustrating at times, but getting on in Bellingham Square and meeting people and seeing friends – there’s just an excitement that builds as you anticipate something big that is coming as you go over the Bridge. You want to hate the 111, but you know it brings you to such good things.”
Barnes celebrated her top honors last Sunday, June 5, at graduation exercises, and said she’s not one for speeches, but was grateful to have been chosen and recognized.
“The goal wasn’t to be valedictorian, but it is nice to be recognized,” she said. “A lot of hard work went into it.”
Barnes is the daughter of John and Christine Barnes. Her siblings are Sarah, Chelsea and Jillian.
Katherine Barnes is the valedictorian of Chelsea High School (CHS) this year, but her big plans don’t include leaving Chelsea behind. After college, she said she intends to come back and help make it a better place.
Anna Andrades, 54, 768 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class A drug, conspiracy to violate drug law.
Olga Torres, 55, 113 Spencer Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, possessing Class A drug.
Francisco Correa, 40, 28 Malden St., Everett, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, distribution of Class A drug.
Brian Kobs, 31, 14 Reynolds Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for interfering with police officer, threat to commit crime, 6 warrants.
Carla Borum, 48, 165 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for being incapacitated person.
Oscar Oliva, 24, 1926 Franklin Rd., Nassua, NY, was arrested on a warrant.
Julio Mota, 34, 442 Sumner St., East Boston, was arrested for robbery, armed firearm & masked, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, robbery, firearm-armed & masked, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, 3 counts of intimidation.
Michel Nogueira, 24, 122 Bennington St., East Boston, was arrested for robbery, firearm-armed & masked (2 counts), aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (2 counts), intimidation (3 counts), trespassing.
William Rios, 44, 220 Webster Ave., robbery, firearm-armed & masked ( 2 counts), aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (2 counts), intimidation (3 counts) receiving stolen property +250 (2 counts), trespassing.
Jeffrey Jean-Charles, 27, 104 Bow St., Everett, was arrested for trespassing.
Nain Montiel, 46, 87 Garland St., Everett, was arrested for trespassing.
Claudia Dias, 42, 189 Campbell Ave., Revere, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Dionicio Ayala-Roche, 30, 155 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Claudia Dias, 42, 189 Campbell Ave., Revere, was arrested for affray, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.
Eddie Bailey, 47, 122 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Eddie Bailey, 47, 122 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Joyce Ratcliffe, 55, 32 Annese Rd., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Farah Ibrahim, 21, 4 Clinton Ct., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Diego Merino, 27, 119 High St., Haverhill, was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Wilver Merino, 36, 206 Lexington St., East Boston, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and affray.
Juvenile Offender, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime for felony, larceny over $250.
Jefferson Dyett, 27, 215 Spencer Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for lewd, wanton & lascivious conduct, possessing Class B drug and trespassing.
Stacy Gordon, 36, 24 Wamesit Ave,. Saugus, was arrested for lewd, wanton & lascivious conduct, trespassing, possessing Class B drug.
Edward Craffey, 67, 8 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested for conspiracy to violate drug law, possessing Class B drug.
Deqyann Whyte, 24, 14 Torrey St., Dorchester, was arrested for distribution of Class B drug, possessing to distribute Class B drug, possessing to distribute Class A drug, Conspiracy to violate drug law, intimdation, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Adrianna White, 25, 55 Milk St.,Methuen, was arrested on a warrant.
Juvenile offender, was arrested on probation warrant.
Christopher Gallagher, 48, 1 Breed Ave., Woburn, was arrested for unarmed robbery, assault and battery on pregnant person.
Chelsea voters supported Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary Tuesday.
Clinton, the former Secretary of State and First Lady, received 2,268 votes in the city, 58 percent of all votes cast in the Democratic primary. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders received 1,531 votes, 40 percent of the vote.
Trump, the well-known business leader and developer, topped the Republican field in Chelsea with 466 votes, 60 percent of all votes cast. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was second with 116 votes. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was third with 85 votes while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was fourth with 63 votes.
Clinton and Trump each finished first in the Mass. primary, emerging on Super Tuesday as the frontrunners for their parties’ respective nominations.
Calvin Brown received 2,522 votes and won re-election in the district to a four-year term as Democratic State Committeeman. Brian J. Corr was second with 537 votes.
Brown, a former councillor-at-large, thanked the people of Chelsea for their strong show of support in the election.
There was nothing rough around the edges about the presentation by Yihe Forbes LLC at Tuesday’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting on Tuesday night.
In fact, the polished attorneys, architects, engineers and consultants were pretty much the best team that money could buy in Boston.
Even so, neighbors and elected officials said over and over again there was such an outlandishness to the 534-unit, 253-room hotel with 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space – all coming in over one small bridge and through the Mill Hill neighborhood – that many simply laughed the proposal away or began to think about possible conspiracy theories.
“I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and the MTV camera crews to tell us all we’d been ‘Punked,’” said Councillor Dan Cortell, referring to the popular practical joke television show. “The proposal sounds like Station Landing and Assembly Row stuffed into one spot, but with only one entrance and exit. They were taking notes during all the comments the whole way through, but at some point you just have to highlight the whole book. The City Manager asked for a second or alternate egress as a conversation starter and they had nothing to offer. How surprised could they have been by what was said?”
Said neighbor Betty Richards of Hooper Street, a normally very vocal voice at ZBA meetings, “I can’t even speak words about how bad this is. This is so asinine and stupid and I don’t know know what planet this is coming from.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino lent the strongest voice against the plan, calling for it to be dispatched at the earliest point possible. He said he has worked with the architects, attorneys and consultants on the Waterfront Square project in Revere Beach from when he was the Revere mayor, and was surprised at their conduct on this project.
“These are great folks on the team,” he said. “I’ve worked with them before and we had meetings with the developer and the City for four years before we even got to a hearing at the ZBA. There’s none of that with this proposal. I’ve been in this business a long time. That’s how it’s done. When a project is proposed without any of that, I question the seriousness of it. I urge you to shoot this down at the earliest point possible and they can go back to the drawing board because they are capable. Then, they can engage us.”
Very importantly, Fire Deputy Chief Paul Giancola said the CFD is absolutely against the plan because they can’t handle it and have issues with the access.
“We oppose this project totally,” he said. “It’s unacceptable. We can’t handle it…You can’t have one bridge to get in and out. The second bridge you have on the plans for emergency access says it’s a pedestrian bridge…We just don’t have the manpower to handle this, and the 27-story building is just too high.”
The plan by the Chinese company – which looks to spend in the ballpark of $500 million to make the project on the old Forbes Industrial site a reality – is very ambitious and has drawn attention since last summer when it was submitted due to the large number of units and the 27-story skyscraper that is the centerpiece of the project.
While the density is an overriding concern, a more critical concern has been access to the site. Right now, the only access is via Crescent Avenue off of Eastern Avenue – taking a small bridge over to the island-like spit of the vacant, 18-acre former home to the world-famous Forbes printing company.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino has told the developers that a good starting place would be to develop an alternative access point that doesn’t travel through Mill Hill. He has been a proponent of tying into Rt. 1A via a small bridge that would span the Creek and lead to Railroad Avenue in Revere.
However, project Attorney Paul Feldman said they had explored the idea of putting a bridge across the Creek with the MBTA and it was shot down.
“We have done some exploration of alternative access,” he said. “I can say to you that alternative access doesn’t work. We have to be straight up and transparent. We can’t tell you there is an alternative access that is available, but what we can do is make the site work. We have enough confidence to invest a half million dollars that this will work without an alternative access.”
It wasn’t good enough for Ambrosino.
“There was just an appalling lack of attention to the desperate need for an alternative access,” he said. “I really don’t think there was sufficient energy spent to explore alternative accesses to the site.”
He said though it presented problems and expense, it’s what major developers do to move along big developments like the Forbes.
The developers also proposed that there would be no traffic in the neighborhoods off of Crescent Avenue, zeroing out any traffic impacts on streets like Clinton Street and others.
“When Eastern Avenue gets backed up like it always does, everyone is going to go on the side streets,” said Clinton Street resident Christine Barnes.
“That’s unrealistic,” added City Planner John DePriest.
And as a bone thrown to the neighbors (which turned out to be a rotten tomato), Feldman proposed completely rehabilitating Crescent Avenue – replacing the water mains, building sidewalks where there are none and reconstructing the street. Within that plan, they proposed taking away parking from the western side of the street to widen the road. Instead, the developer would create two neighborhood parking lots on property he owns by the Burke Complex and the entry way to Forbes. There would be 32 street spaces lost, but 40 spaces in the parking lots gained. Unfortunately, that plan would call for long-time neighbors to not be able to park in front of their homes any longer.
“These are people’s homes and many of them have lived there a long time and they want to say we can’t park in front of our homes anymore,” she Richards. “They want us to walk all the way down the street now and park in a lot they’re going to provide for us so they can have their development.”
Prior to the big whiff by Yihe Forbes, Feldman and the team – who have put together projects such as the Cambridgeside Galleria and Patriot Place – presented a spectacular presentation regarding the plans for the site. It included the massive amounts of residential apartments and condos built in five phases with seven acres of waterfront open space for everyone to enjoy. There was far more parking than required in a garage deck that would sit under a large, raised plaza – with the hotel and retail portions being right at the entrance to the site. The plan was drawn up using the City’s 2004 Planning Document with its recommendations for 500 units on the Forbes site, Feldman said. He also added that the project when fully built would result in $6 million per year in property taxes – a hefty sum for a small City like Chelsea.
There were plans for 20,000 sq. ft. of landscaped roofing, car sharing services on site, fine restaurants, a shuttle service and, perhaps even, an ice cream shop for neighbors to frequent as they perched on the waterfront for a picnic lunch.
Sounded great, but it was just a little too far-fetched for most neighbors to take seriously – and the seriousness of the project was probably the greatest critique during the meeting, which stretched on until almost midnight.
Councillor Matt Frank urged the ZBA to dispatch the plan immediately.
“You can put $500 million on the table and if it blows the community apart, then it’s really not worth it,” he said. “If the MBTA can say ‘no,’ and the MassDOT can say ‘no,’ then the City of Chelsea can also say ‘no.’”
Added Council President Leo Robinson, “We don’t need to jump at the first thing thrown at us. We should be able to control what goes there. Something significant is obviously going to go there, but we can sit down and get a better deal than this.”