Chelsea residents can expect to see a flurry
of activity from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) over the coming
Earlier this year, the City Council approved
Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for a round of pilot projects
recommended by the CPC.
The projects recommended by the CPC included
money for the rehabilitation of the city’s Civil War monument, improvements to
the Garden Cemetery, a Marlborough Street Community Garden proposed by The
Neighborhood Developers (TND), renovation of the Governor Bellingham-Cary
House, renovations to the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum (Walnut Street
Synagogue) and for the city to hire an Affordable Housing Trust Fund housing
specialist on a one-year contract basis.
Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the
CPA in November 2016. It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars
each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing,
historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently
has a balance of just over $2.2 million before any money was spent on the
recent round of pilot projects.
The projects that could be funded during the
initial pilot round were capped at $50,000 each. The total of the seven
proposals that came before the CPC is just under $270,000, according to CPC
Chair Jose Iraheta.
Although Iraheta said he can’t speak for the
other members of the CPC, he said he was excited by the Council’s approval of
the pilot program.
“The committee has been entrusted by our
fellow Chelsea residents to help preserve our open spaces, historic sites, and
housing affordability,” Iraheta said. “The projects that were funded through
this pilot honor our fellow community members’ wishes. I cannot wait for our
next funding round and see what kind of solutions our community comes up with.”
One of the immediate goals for the CPC is to
make sure everyone in Chelsea knows what the CPA is, what the community values
are, and how the CPC funds have been used, according to the CPC Chairman.
“The CPC will focus on standardizing the
community engagement efforts, capture our community’s voice in the community
preservation plan and create a straightforward application process so people
can know what to expect,” Iraheta said. “We want to create a system that is
responsible for our community’s goals and priorities. If organizations and
individuals know what to expect, we hope to see more robust and strong
community projects that reflect our community’s values.”
To accomplish this, he said the CPC
will be engaged in deep reflective conversation around the pilot process,
including inviting CPC members from other communities to learn from their
experiences, building on proven practices.
“My expectations are for the next grant
applications to receive more solutions that meet the values, goals, and
priorities laid out in the Community Preservation Plan,” Iraheta said.
A CPC meeting was scheduled to be held
on Thursday night.
During the summer, the CPC will work to
finalize engagement and application timelines for CPA projects. The next round
of funding will not be limited to the $50,000 cap of the pilot round, Iraheta
said, but a final decision has yet to be made on if there will be a larger cap
on the requested amount.
Organizations or individuals can get more
information on how to apply and on the Community Preservation Plan through the
City of Chelsea’s Community Preservation Committee dedicated portal at
Iraheta said he would like to continue to
see proposed projects that meet the core values of the Community Preservation
“The CPA funds
are a tool that strengthens our communities through funding for open space
protection, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation
preserve,” he said. “The CPC does not implement projects; community
organizations and individuals do. If your proposal adheres to the values in the
Community Preservation Plan, we will consider your application for funding.”
The development team looking to re-build the
Innes Housing Development into a mixed-income community has made some major
changes this summer – inserting a central parking garage and implementing a
single phase of construction that will cut two years off the build-out.
The Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) and Corcoran Development released the new plans this week ahead of a meeting with residents of the Innes on Tuesday night. The redevelopment plan includes 330 units of housing, with the existing 96 units of public housing re-developed alongside the market-rate housing and 40 workforce development units as well.
A rendering of the mixed-income development on Central Avenue
The major change in the project is
completing it within a single phase, staring in the fall of 2020 and cutting
off two years of construction due to eliminating phase 2.
CHA Director Al Ewing said as a result of
community input, they decided it would be better for residents and neighbors to
attack the project in just one phase. Previously, the project contained two
phases and lasted two years longer.
“As we were meeting with people on this
project, one issue coming up over and over was the cost of housing, but what
the possibility might be for Phase 2,” he said. “So, we thought it might be
best to do this in one phase. It would be better for residents and for the
Said Joe Corcoran, president and CEO of
Joseph J. Corcoran Company, “We’re proud to be part of a team that continues
moving forward to ensure affordable housing for residents. We believe the
redeveloped Innes Apartments will be a tremendous asset to the community and
look forward to continued work with the Chelsea Housing Authority, Innes
residents and our City, State partners through the summer.”
The single-phase approach would move the
construction timeline to approximately 18-24 months, rather than four-plus
years that was expected.
One of the keys to that is being able to put
existing residents into temporary housing while construction takes place. With
two phases, residents were going to be shifted in smaller numbers – with some
staying at Innes in existing units and those impacted by construction moving to
other developments in the city temporarily. Now, however, all of the existing
residents will have to move at once.
Ewing said they are confident they can
relocate residents, and they will be particularly conscientious of those
residents with children in the school system.
“We are committed to keeping people in
Chelsea to the degree we can,” he said. “We will continue to give priority to
families that have children in the school system. We are working with the
schools and we want to have minimal impact on our residents…Based on the number
of vacancies we have and the people living in the development…we should be able
to accommodate most, if not all of the residents.”
All residents will maintain their rights as
public housing residents during relocation, with many being relocated to
existing public housing units and some to private units – regardless of where
they are placed, relocated Innes Residents will continue to enjoy all of their
rights as public housing residents before, during and after relocation.
Corcoran has employed Housing Opportunities Unlimited – an organization that
specializes in providing direct assistance to residents impacted by renovation
and unit rehabilitation projects in affordable and mixed income housing
communities – to support the redevelopment team and Innes residents throughout
“We continue to work diligently to ensure
residents of Innes are fully informed of all updates on this exciting
redevelopment project,” said Melissa Booth, co-president of the Innes
Residents’ Association. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the improved
construction timeline that allows for faster rehousing for all our families.”
Another new component of the project is a
central parking garage facility that will be located on the eastern side of the
development near the MassPort Garage.
“We felt that would work better, and the
added bonus of that is we hope we can increase the numbers of on-site parking
spots,” said Ewing. “We’ve been trying to be responsive to the concerns of the
neighbors, the City Council and the City as a whole.”
Another new piece of the plan is that the
development team has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City to
confirm commitments made to restrict on-street resident parking privileges for
the new, market-rate tenants of the development.
The Innes Redevelopment team is committed to
continued on-site office hours throughout the summer so that residents may
informally drop by and ask further questions. The project team will continue
its tradition of an annual backpack giveaway for residents in late August and
also hold two resident engagement events, including a youth engagement party
and an employment fair. A comprehensive Resident Relocation Plan will
also be developed and introduced as part of the continued outreach to Innes
“This newest plan
is really the result of all the concerns we’ve heard from City officials, our
residents and people in the neighborhood,” said Ewing. “We continue to address
concerns and it makes it a better project.”
For as long as jets have rumbled over
Chelsea as they land at and depart from Logan Airport, City officials have
struggled with getting state and federal officials to help mitigate the noise from
that air traffic.
Monday night, District 6 City Councillor
Giovanni Recupero introduced an order asking City Manager Tom Ambrosino to look
at renegotiating a deal with Massport to bring back the window and
soundproofing program to the city.
“People deserve a little more consideration
than they have been given,” said Recupero.
The Councillor said he would like to see
Massport provide soundproof windows for residents suffering excessive noise
from plane traffic, as it has done in the past.
“I’d like to get them back to the table and
figure out a way to help with the problem,” Recupero said.
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said he
appreciated Recupero’s efforts to get Massport back to the table to discuss
sound mitigation, but that he didn’t have high hopes that it would be
“Whenever the City Manager has approached
Massport, the answer has been that it is a nonstarter; they have done their
program,” said Avellaneda.
Avellaneda said he has been working with
City Manager Tom Ambrosino to find a company to undertake an independent sound
study of noise from the airport. But, he said it has been very difficult to
find a company qualified to do that study.
If a company is found that can perform an
independent sound study, Avellaneda said he hopes it has the support of his
On the positive side, Avellaneda said he
attended a recent Massport meeting with airport communities in which officials
stated that a new Massport sound study is underway. He said this study will
take into account items that a study released in 2017 did not take into
account, such as the impact of hills on sound and the resonating sound of
The 2017 study was conducted by the Center
for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life
Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health.
That report showed that flights over Chelsea
have nearly doubled between 2011 and 2015, and that certain health effects
associated with airplane noise are very high in Chelsea.
But getting Massport to kick in for
additional noise mitigation efforts has been an uphill battle.
“Confronted with the increase in air
traffic, their response has been, ‘But our planes are quieter,’” said
The Councillor has been pushing for the
independent noise study since at least the time the 2017 airport noise study
“We (can) do a real noise study with proper
equipment and prepare to say we have proof that our community is impacted and
possibly prepare to embark on a lawsuit against MassPort and the FAA,” he said
at the time.
•In other business, the Council unanimously
approved sending a home rule petition to the state legislature that will allow
for the construction of the new Innes Housing Development.
•Recupero introduced an order asking the
City Manager look into hiring another animal control officer for the purpose of
issuing fines to people that don’t clean up after their dogs.
•Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson introduced
orders asking the City Manager for updates on the City’s master plan and the
status of the Salvation Army building on Broadway. The Council approved taking
the building by eminent domain in 2017.
Councillor Robert Bishop was absent from Monday night’s meeting, but with good
reason. He was celebrating his 35th anniversary with his wife. Happy
anniversary to the Bishops.
Much of the public discussion over the Smart
Growth overlay district for Central Avenue over the past several months has
focused on the technical aspects of the zoning ordinance.
But Monday night, as the City Council
unanimously approved the Smart Growth zoning – which will pave the way for the
Innes Development project to move closer to becoming a reality – much of the
talk focused on the human and community benefits of that decision.
As the final vote was made official, cheers
and applause were heard from Innes residents, project development team members,
and even City Planning and Development Director John DePriest.
“This will allow for new homes that all the
residents of Chelsea can be proud to call their own,” said Ronnie Slamin, the
project director for Corcoran, the developer behind the Innes Street/ Central
Avenue housing redevelopment plan.
The special zoning designation, allows the
mixed-income project to have its own, special regulations for parking and
density and other requirements. It also unlocks $5 million in state and local
funding for the project.
Corcoran Development will assist in
developing the 330-unit community on the site of the current housing
development. Those units will include the existing 96 public housing units, as
well as 40 workforce housing units. The remaining 194 units will be market
rate, and with the state and federal grants, will subsidize the replacement of
the public housing units.
Overall, the development would have a 41
percent affordable ratio, which is three times as much as what would normally
be required by the City and double the state requirements.
For many of the current Innes residents, and
for members of the Chelsea Housing Authority, it is a major step forward to
replace the current units, which are rundown and decades old.
“It is our dream to live in new apartments
that are safe and decent for our children, elderly, and the disabled,” said
Melissa Booth, co-president of the Innes Residents Association.
The Smart Growth overlay district will cover
the current footprint of the Innes Development, and puts a premium on
affordable housing and access to public transportation.
Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) board member
Bertram Taverna said the Innes redevelopment is the kind of opportunity that
the City has not seen for decades.
“We are talking about an opportunity for
these 96 families, as well as 40 more affordable housing units,” said Taverna.
“Everybody is invested in this project and wholeheartedly all in.”
CHA Executive Director Al Ewing said the
redevelopment will give the city the ability to deliver on its promise of
providing a home where residents can be proud to live and raise their families.
“This is a win for the City of Chelsea,”
said District 8 Councillor Calvin T. Brown. “Folks are going to see that
Chelsea can do this and other cities are going to do this.”
Council President Damali Vidot said it’s
been a long road for the Innes project to move forward. The Council voted down
a project three years ago because prevailing wages for workers wasn’t on the
With prevailing wages now part of the
development proposal, the only major issue that gained any traction over the
past several months was, unsurprisingly, parking.
While the smart growth zoning is one major
step towards getting shovels in the ground for the project, developers will be
back before the Council for approval of a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) tax
break for the project. That is expected to come before the Council later in the
Vidot said that parking will be addressed in
proposing 226 on-site parking spots, with an option to lease another 50 parking
The Innes Street/Central Avenue housing
redevelopment plan has cleared its latest hurdle with the Planning Board, but
will face a critical vote Monday night at Council on whether or not to allow
them to have a ‘40R’ zoning designation.
The Council will consider the special zoning
designation, which allows the mixed-income project to have its own, special
regulations for parking and density and other requirements. At the same time,
it also unlocks $5 million in state and local funding.
“It’s a critical vote,” said Chelsea Housing
Authority (CHA) Director Al Ewing. “That is a very important ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If
we don’t get it, this project dies. It is our use it or lose it moment.”
The mixed-income development is in
partnership with Corcoran Development, which will assist in developing the
330-unit community on the site of the current housing development. Those units
will include the existing 96 public housing units, as well as 40 workforce
housing units. The remaining 194 units will be market rate, and with the state
and federal grants, will subsidize the replacement of the public housing units.
Overall, the development would have a 41 percent affordable ratio, which is
three times as much as what would normally be required by the City and double
the state requirements.
It seems like a huge moment for residents
like Jean Fulco, who is part of the Innes Residents Alliance (IRA).
“This will be a much better situation for
the people who are there now,” she said. “The re-development would be so much
better because the apartment conditions now are not very good.”
Resident Melissa Booth, also of the IRA,
said she has a special needs child who cannot walk up the stairs, but they live
on the second floor now.
“I usually have to carry my child up the
stairs because there isn’t an elevator,” she said.
The new development is slated to have an
But one of the strangleholds in this second
go-around of the mixed-income redevelopment – which had to be backed off two
years ago – is parking. There are 226 spaces available on site, and another 50
spaces will be located off-site nearby.
Council President Damali Vidot said she does
support the project, but she also lives in the area and understands that
parking is already a mess. She said they have worked out a potential plan where
the market rate units will not be able to apply for a residential parking
“Everyone says that these people who will
live here will take the Silver Line and not have a car,” she said. “Let’s see
them prove that. I’m ok with giving them the 40R so they can move forward, but
when their Tax Incremental Financing comes up, I will let them know that I will
not support the project unless they will enter into an agreement with the
market rate tenants to not participate in the residential parking program.”
She said the decision is a tough one for the
Council. While many have reservations, they also want to help the public
housing residents improve their lives.
“I’m not in love with the project, but I
know everyone is trying to do their best,” she said. “These 96 families deserve
to live in dignity. I have family that lives there and no one should live in
those conditions…If this is what I have to do to preserve the units for these
96 families, then we don’t have a choice really.”
Over the last several weeks, the IRA and the
CHA and Corcoran have been pounding the pavement. They have had coffee hours,
done personal outreach and have launched a website.
“We are in a competitive process and if this
doesn’t get approved for whatever reason, Chelsea will not realize this
opportunity,” said Sean McReynolds of Corcoran.
In a move to show that they are committed to
keeping residents in their homes, the Corcoran company and Chelsea Housing
Authority (CHA) have been signing Letters of Assurance with residents to
legally ensure they can return to their unit after it is redeveloped into a new
“We started signing those with residents
about two weeks ago,” said CHA Director Al Ewing. “We wanted everyone to see
that there is a commitment from us.”
Added Sean McReynolds of Corcoran, “It was
important for us the residents see we’re committed to having them return. That
is something that is usually done much further down the line. We wanted to do
it now anyway so people felt confident that commitment is there.”
Melissa Booth of the Innes Residents
Association (IRA) said many residents are relieved by the Letter, and the
Association has been passing it around in English and Spanish to get as many
residents signed as possible.
“They’re very relieved because the suspicion
is the developers would go in and move the families and not let them back in,”
she said. “We’ve been working really hard and trying to reassure everyone. No
one wants to leave the place that they’ve been living so long.”
The document, signed by all parties, is
about three pages long and clearly spells out what the residents will be
entitled to when they return.
“JJC Co. and CHA assure that all Innes
residents who are required to move for the redevelopment project will have the
right to return to a newly constructed unit in the redeveloped Innes
Apartments,” read the letter.
The two exceptions are if a household has
been evicted before returning for serious offense, or if they have a large unit
and state rules require them to go into a smaller unit than is available.
Also, it spells out that they will have the
same units as the market rate residents.
“These newly constructed affordable housing
units will be intermixed with market-rate units,” it read. “All units will be
interchangeable with the same quality in all apartments including finishes and
appliances such as washers and dryers.”
Both said they
hope to have everyone signed as soon as possible as an act of good faith to
residents and the community.
State administration officials announced on Tuesday that former Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash has left his cabinet post as Secretary of Housing and Economic Development – a post he has held for the past four years since leaving Chelsea.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the departure of Ash late Tuesday afternoon, and introduced current HED Assistant Secretary for Business Growth, Mike Kennealy, as incoming Secretary. A press conference was to be held in the State House on Wednesday afternoon and incoming Secretary Kennealy will be sworn in on Friday, Dec. 28.
There was no word what Ash might do next, but some have postulated he might be entering the private sector as a business-based lobbyist. Rumors persisted earlier this fall that Ash might be headed to MassPort as the new executive director. However, at the time, he said that he isn’t considering that post.
“From day one, Jay has worked tirelessly with members of the Legislature, local officials and private companies to enhance economic development, housing and the life sciences industry in Massachusetts,” said Gov. Baker. “Our administration will always be particularly thankful for his work to help reduce the number of homeless families living in hotels and motels, from over 1,500 to less than 40, and his focus on achieving economic growth across the entire Commonwealth. We thank Jay for his public service, wish him well in the future and look forward to welcoming Mike to the cabinet.”
Ash said he was proud to have served in the administration.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished together to grow and strengthen Massachusetts’ economy over the past four years as we worked to empower communities to achieve their economic potential, ensuring prosperity could be shared across the Commonwealth,” said Ash. “Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito led by example, engaging local and state officials and our vibrant business and nonprofit sectors in an active dialogue, and we followed by identifying opportunities for investment and areas where we could create more support. It was an honor to visit over 200 cities and towns over the last four years. I have been energized and inspired by the ingenuity and tenacity of our municipal, community and business leaders, and I am grateful to Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito for asking me to serve in this capacity. Incoming Secretary Mike Kennealy is uniquely qualified and played an instrumental role in our first term achievements. Finally, I would like to thank the talented and committed professionals in EOHED and across the administration, who have been generous with their time and talent, and totally committed to the Commonwealth.”
Under Secretary Ash’s leadership, the Baker-Polito administration conceived and pursued an economic development strategy entitled “Opportunities for All,” to bring vitality to communities, prosperity to people and growth for businesses in all regions of the Commonwealth. Key accomplishments include:
Transitioned over 1,400 homeless families out of hotels and motels, from 1,500 in 2015 to under 40 today.
Partnered with the Legislature to pass two billion-dollar economic development packages in 2016 and 2018, the $1.8 billion housing bonding bill and a $623 million life sciences bill to ensure our continued leadership in this sector on a national and global basis.
Delivered $12.5 million in state funding to the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, a state-of-the-art facility that will have the potential to serve as life sciences hub for the region.
Supported Worcester’s revitalization, including the redevelopment of the Canal District with a recently-announced $35 million infrastructure and HDIP affordable housing investment, made in conjunction with Pawtucket Red Sox relocation, announced in August.
Partnered with Springfield on six projects designed to revitalize its downtown revitalization, including the October announcement of the $2.5 million refurbishment of the Paramount Theater, a lynchpin project for the city.
Played an important role in Lynn’s economic revitalization as a member of the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team – launching a number of commercial and housing projects, including Gateway North residences, which opened in 2018.
Served on Gov. Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet (comprised of EOLWD, EOHED, EOE secretaries) and drove the creation of 7 regional workforce plans, over $50 million in Skills Capital Grants and the launch of the first registered tech apprenticeship program in the state.
Helped facilitate expansions from leading companies like GE, Kronos, MassMutual, MilliporeSigma and Siemens.
A few weeks ago, the Zoning Board of Appeals narrowly rejected our proposal to convert a vacant lot at 1005 Broadway into 42 new homes, a coffee shop (or similar business), greenspace, an open walking path along Mill Creek, and 42 parking spaces. We were motivated to propose this project because Chelsea residents are being priced out of their own city and there is an overwhelming need for all kinds of affordable housing options. We have chosen to appeal the Zoning Board of Appeals decision because we still believe that this site offers a unique opportunity to meet critical community needs.
In putting our proposal together we relied on Chelsea’s 2017 Comprehensive Housing Analysis and Strategic Plan and the City’s Waterfront Community Vision Plan. We asked for input from the surrounding community and changed our proposal to incorporate it. We are grateful to those who came out to the community meetings and made the proposal better and more responsive to neighborhood needs. Our project was also designed with state waterfront regulations (Chapter 91) and the City’s ordinances and zoning regulations in mind.
Our proposal had the support from many community members, the City Manager, and a majority, i.e., three out of five of the members, of the Zoning Board of Appeals. To be approved, our proposal, however, needed four out of five votes. Thank you to those of you who took the time to speak in support and share stories about the impact of rising housing costs in Chelsea.
It is clear from the comments of those who spoke for and against the project that members of our community would like to see more opportunities for residents of Chelsea to own their own homes. We agree. Opponents of the project argued that rejecting our proposal would encourage the development of homeownership opportunities and discourage more development of apartments for rent. However, the rejection of our proposal will not create any homeownership opportunities, let alone affordable ones. The limitations and costs of complying with Chapter 91 make for-sale condominiums not feasible at this site.
To achieve increased homeownership in Chelsea, it is helpful to understand the facts. Over 30% of Chelsea residents are home owners, according to the City’s 2017 Comprehensive Housing Analysis and Strategic Plan. Opponents to our project claim that all of the new construction over the past ten years has been of rental apartments, further skewing the homeownership rate. However, the reality is that Chelsea has also seen a significant growth of condominiums over the past fifteen years, with total condominium units increasing by over 700 units, including the conversion of existing rental apartments to homeownership condos, as is reflected in the 2017 Comprehensive Housing Analysis and Strategic Plan.
And while these condominium conversions (from rental to ownership) created new homeownership opportunities for some, they have decreased the number of apartments available to rent, contributing to higher rental prices for current Chelsea residents. The Housing Analysis and Strategic plan notes that monthly rents increased 38 percent between 2011 and 2016. According to Apartments.com the average one-bedroom rent in Chelsea is $2,114 per month and a family sized 3 bedroom is over $2,800 per month; a 6.6% increase over this time last year.
To help address homeowner displacement in Chelsea and regionally, since 2008, The Neighborhood Developers has created 36 affordable ownership opportunities in Chelsea on Marlborough, Cottage, Maverick, Suffolk, and Broadway, as well as the Box District. Traggorth Companies successfully completed 43 affordable homeownership opportunities in Mission Hill using City of Boston funding. We
would like to build more homeownership in Chelsea, but unlike for affordable rental apartments, there have always been fewer state or federal resources dedicated to affordable homeownership, and that which does get built requires heavy reliance on scarce municipal sources of funding.
However, even if we are able to find sufficient funding, it is important to know that affordable homeownership opportunities are typically for families who earn at least $86,000 per year, or less than 20% of the current Chelsea population. The apartments we proposed are intended to serve families who earn about $60,000 per year or less. Sixty percent of Chelsea’s households have an annual income in this range, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In other words, this project was designed to serve current Chelsea residents who are clearly in critical need of affordable housing. It is for this reason that while we work with City officials to envision how more homeownership can be built and advocate for more resources to do so, we will continue to advocate for this project.
Rafael Mares is the Executive Director of The Neighborhood Developers, Inc. and Dave Traggorth, Principal of Traggorth Companies.
If District 1 City Councillor Robert Bishop gets his way, he’ll be taking $6,000 per year out of his own pockets, and those of his fellow city councillors.
Monday night, Bishop introduced an ordinance asking that the Council salary be cut from $14,000 to $8,000 per year beginning in 2020. The councillor said he was unhappy when the salary increased from $8,000 to $14,000 several years ago, and wants to see it cut back.
The ordinance was moved to a second reading at a future council meeting before there was any discussion on the proposal, but Council President DamaliVidot said there will be an opportunity for debate and discussion during the second reading.
The council voted for the pay raise to $14,000 in 2013 and it went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
In other business, the council heard a legal opinion from City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher that stated that the Council’s subcommittee on finance violated the open meeting law when it discussed a $20,000 appropriation for legal services that was not properly placed on the subcommittee’s agenda. Bishop, who heads the finance subcommittee, countered that the matter was properly posted and fell under the heading of financial requests.
“I felt it would be appropriate to discuss,” Bishop said. “I see nothing in Rule 26 that says we could not speak about it. … To me, this is kind of petty and picayune.”
But Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson said he didn’t understand how the matter had gotten to the finance subcommittee without coming before the full Council first.
Vidot said there will be a subcommittee discussion about how to best move forward with financial matters on the Council.
Bishop also asked for a meeting to discuss traffic flow issues at Revere Beach Parkway and Washington Avenue, Revere Beach Parkway and Webster Avenue, and Spruce Street and Everett Avenue. The councillor noted that motorists are faced with an especially dangerous intersection at Revere Beach Parkway and Washington.
“It’s a wonder that there are not more accidents than there already are,” Bishop said.
The District 1 Councillor is also requesting a subcommittee meeting to discuss issues with the city and the Chelsea Housing Authority’s rodent baiting programs. Bishop said he has concerns that the programs are ineffective and dangerous for the workers implementing them.
District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero introduced an order asking the public works director provide the Council with an accurate account of how the City sets water and sewer rates and how those rates could be stabilized.
In contrast to the past several meetings, when discussion over water and sewer rates brought a steady stream of residents to the microphone, it was a more subdued public speaking session at Monday’s meeting.
Chelsea High School senior Manuel Teshe advocated for fundraising efforts that would allow the senior class to graduate outside at the school’s football field. Teshe estimated the total cost of covering the field to keep it safe for a graduation ceremony would be about $30,000.
“We are passionate about this and want to graduate from the school in the best way possible,” said Teshe.
Teshe’s classmate, senior class president Jocelyn Poste, was also on hand at the meeting to promote the Red Devil Turkey Trot race on Saturday, Nov. 17 to benefit the school’s track and cross country programs.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the race can visit HYPERLINK “http://chelseahightrack.com” t “_blank” chelseahightrack.com. The event begins at 10 a.m. at Admiral’s Hill.
Airplanes apparently aren’t in the future for state Housing Secretary Jay Ash.
Ash – the former City Manager of Chelsea – told the Record this week that he has no intention right now of pursuing the soon-to-be open job of director at MassPort.
“Secretary Ash is not focused on anything other than the work of the Baker-Polito Administration right now,” read a statement from his office.
MassPort CEO Tom Glynn announced two weeks ago that he would step down from his position next year after a run of several years at the helm of the airport.
That has brought on much speculation about who the next director would be, and more than a few insiders were pitching Ash’s name around the diamond. Many believe Ash would make a good candidate for MassPort, having served in Chelsea and knowing the surrounding community’s well.