First ‘Night Market’ Draws Manageable, Excited Crowd

The first Chelsea Night Market is being deemed a success, bringing a good crowd to Luther Place for the music, vendors and excitement in the downtown.

“It was great,” said Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney. “We had a decent, manageable crowd. The attendees and vendors were all really pleased. We had lots of neighbors attend, which was great. There were no major technical snags and the fire performance was a hit.”

The Night Market blocked off the City parking lot behind the main business district, using the refurbished Chelsea Walk as an entry point. On the lot were vendors with all kinds of wares, food servers and a stage. Musical acts were popular, but the hit of the night was the Boston Circus Guild’s fire-breathing and juggling performance.

The next Night Market will be on July 13, and coordinators said to look for some new and different things to be on the docket.

The next event for the downtown, however, is the Fiesta Verano – a great Latin music themed event that was cancelled last year three times due to rain. This year they hope to find some better luck.

They will have the Fiesta on Second Street and in collaboration with the Chelsea Cooperative.

Look for a cowboy them, Graney said.

“We’re embracing a rodeo theme this year with pony rides and a bounce house for little ones,” said Graney. “A ‘bike rodeo,’ presented by the Chelsea Bike and Ped Committee and MassBike, is an obstacle course and games for all ages so bring your bike or trike. Over on the big lawn a mechanical bull will be bucking and kicking all riders for your merriment.”

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Police Briefs 06-13-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian


Missing Child Reunited with Parents

On June 4, Chelsea Police reunited a missing 10-year-old Chelsea girl with her parents on after the Kelly school student told officers she fell asleep on the MBTA bus she takes home from school. The juvenile told officers she ended up at the Maverick Square MBTA station where she became confused and proceeded onto another MBTA bus that she was unfamiliar with. At some point, she left the bus in the area of North Shore Road in Revere where she began to walk on the busy road. During this time, the parents responded to the police station to report their daughter missing. Officers used the young girl’s cell phone to “ping” her location in Revere. While Chelsea, Transit and Revere Police were searching the area the young girl was located by an MBTA bus driver who transported her to the Wonderland “T” Station in Revere. She was then reunited back with her parents at Chelsea Police Headquarters. Chelsea officers are working with the parents and the school in addressing future transportation options for the young girl who was unharmed in the incident.

Struggle Without a Shirt

On May 27, at 1:20 a.m., officers responded to the area 176 Clark Ave. for a report of a disturbance. The report to officers was that witnesses were reporting they saw a male who appeared drunk, with no t-shirt on, fighting with a female who was preventing him from getting into the home. Officers struggled with the male in attempting to calm him down. After a struggle to restrain him, he was placed into custody. The male was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation prior to being booked at CPD.

Eber Orantes, 33, of 176 Clark Ave., was charged with disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest.

Threated With Strange Weapon

On May 30, at 9:20 p.m., officers responded in the area of Normandy Road at Garfield Avenue for a report of a road rage incident involving a firearm. Officers were given the description of the vehicle in question. It was said to be a black Honda Accord operating on Normandy Road. CPD officers located the vehicle and found the subject to have a modified instrument that resembled a firearm. The victim in the other vehicle provided other information that led to the male being arrested.

Tanvir Zahir, 21, of Stoneham, was charged with violating the motor vehicle ordinance, violating the dangerous weapons ordinance, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swallowed Bag of Crack

On May 31, at 9:30 a.m., Officers observed a male party known to them from previous drug offenses walking with an unknown male on Chestnut Street near Fourth Street. The officers believed they then witnessed a drug transaction between the two. The subject admitted he swallowed a bag of “crack “ when he was approached by the officers. A search of his person uncovered more drugs and he was placed under arrest. The second male was identified and placed under arrest on the scene. The subject who ingested the narcotics was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation.

Argenis Felipe, 33, of East Boston, was charged with possession to distribute a Class B drug (crack), conspiracy, and distribution of a Class B drug.

Box Cutter

On May 31, at 11 a.m., officers were dispatched to the parking lot of 260 Clark Ave. for a fight in progress. Officers observed two tenants of the building in an argument. One tenant accused the second of threatening him with a box cutter. That item was retrieved and that male was taken into custody.

Jody Robinson, 59, of 260 Clark Ave., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swerved at Pedestrian

On June 1, at 9:10 a.m., an off-duty CPD officer was traveling on Hawthorne Street towards Chester Avenue when he saw a male party crossing the street. The officer noticed a Toyota Corolla laying on his horn and then began to intentionally drive towards the male party that was crossing the road. The victim had to jump four to six feet to his rear to avoid being struck by the vehicle.

The officer believed the operator swerved in his direction deliberately trying to strike the victim, which could have resulted in serious injuries. CPD officers responded to assist and the male operator was placed in custody for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Eduardo Garcia, 35, of East Boston, was charged with failing to slow, reckless operation, and assault with a dangerous weapon (car).

MS-13 Member Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

An MS-13 member was sentenced last week for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Nery Rodriguez Diaz, 19, a Salvadoran national who resided in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Diaz will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.

On May 22, 2018, Diaz and another MS-13 member, Elmer Alfaro Hercules, were arrested in possession of loaded firearms in Bremen Street Park in East Boston, a location where numerous MS-13 gang members have been observed and where gang-on-gang violence frequently occurs.

The investigation revealed that Diaz and Hercules each separately and unlawfully entered the United States in 2014 as unaccompanied minors. Both Diaz and Hercules were charged federally for being aliens in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Hercules previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Hercules will also be subject to deportation proceedings after the completion of his sentence.

Chelsea Gang Leader Sentenced to Over 15 years in Prison

A leader of the East Side Money Gang (ESMG) was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston on racketeering, drug trafficking and firearms trafficking charges.

Angel “Stackz” Mejia Zelaya, 24, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 188 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In January 2019, Mejia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, and one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.

Mejia was a leader in the ESMG, a violent, Chelsea-based street gang, which was responsible for various violent crimes, including multiple shootings, and drug distribution in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia, as well as other members and associates of the gang, were also actively involved in illegally selling firearms, including handguns and shotguns, in and around Chelsea.

Mejia participated in multiple, gang-related shootings.

On July 5, 2015, Mejia was involved in a shooting targeting a rival gang member on a public street in Chelsea, which did not result in the rival gang member being injured. On March 29, 2016, Mejia and his lieutenant, Josue “Superbad” Rodriguez, agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ESMG member, Brandon “Big Baby” Baez, so that Baez could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ESMG. On April 3, 2016, in Revere, Baez used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang as they sat in a vehicle. Both men were wounded, but not killed. Baez called Mejia immediately after the shooting to inform Mejia that Baez had just shot two men. Mejia further admitted to supplying other ESMG gang members with firearms, including a juvenile who then accidently shot another person.

While Mejia was the leader of the ESMG, the gang dealt substantial quantities of drugs, including cocaine and cocaine base (crack), in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia was responsible for the distribution of at least a kilogram of cocaine base. Mejia and his gang subordinates stored drugs at and distributed drugs from a residence on Tudor Street in Chelsea and another residence in the Chelsea area. The gang kept handguns at both locations to protect their drug operations, as well as for other gang activities.

The prosecution of Mejia arose out of an investigation of various street gangs, including the 18th Street Gang, ESMG and the Boylston Street Gang, which were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.

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Celebrate Our Rivers in June

By: Julia Blatt, Executive Director, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance

At long last, a recent weekend presented one of those pristine days that remind us here in Massachusetts why we endure those winters. With warm spring weather finally here, many of us hit the water for the first time this year, visiting local rivers. With more than 10,000 miles of rivers traversing the state, we had many choices. Sail boats blossomed on the Charles. Rowers huffed and puffed on the Mystic. Fishing rods sprouted along the Swift. Bikers and kayakers explored the Sudbury. For many people, the beautiful day meant a chance to spend on, in and around the rivers of Massachusetts.

Fittingly, June is National Rivers Month, a 30-day gala celebrating our waterways. Whether you kayak past important Revolutionary War sites on the Concord River, hike over the Bridge of Flowers on the Deerfield, draw water for local crops from the Connecticut, or depend on drinking water from the Merrimack, National Rivers Month is a time to celebrate the gains we have made in protecting these important public recreational, economic and historic assets.

National Rivers Month, however, is also a time to reflect on what remains to be accomplished. The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, the voice for Massachusetts rivers, is a statewide environmental advocacy non-profit that helps those whose lives are touched by these Massachusetts waterways (and we would argue, that’s all of us). Consider, for example, pending legislation regarding sewage overflows around the state. Very old stormwater and wastewater systems serving municipalities in the state have what are called “combined sewage overflow” (CSO) systems. Through these CSOs, stormwater and wastewater systems are physically interconnected. At times of high precipitation, stormwater run-off goes into the wastewater system and overwhelms the water treatment plants. To prevent these backups, wastewater – the sewage from your homes and businesses – is dumped directly into Massachusetts rivers. Approximately 200 of these CSO connections exist throughout the state. In Massachusetts, an estimated three billion gallons of raw sewage gets dumped into the state’s rivers each year. Swimmers, canoeists, and pets exposed to CSO contaminants are vulnerable to gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, eye or ear infections, skin rashes, hepatitis and other diseases. Children, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems are especially vulnerable. Wildlife are also adversely affected by CSO pollutants which lead to higher water temperatures, increased turbidity, toxins and reduced oxygen levels in the water.

Everyone recognizes the problem. But it takes money to fix it, more money than is now available. Over the past two decades, Massachusetts communities have spent more than $1 billion to eliminate CSOs. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, however, that an additional $4.2 billion is needed to finish the job.

In addition to supporting efforts to increase state and federal funding to eliminate CSOs, Mass Rivers is championing a simple sewage notification bill now pending before the Massachusetts legislature. Disturbingly, there is currently no state requirement to notify the public about the presence of sewage in the water when these discharges occur.

The legislation supported by Mass Rivers would require the operator of a CSO to notify local boards of health, in addition to the state Department of Public Health, within two hours after a sewage spill begins. In addition, the public could sign up to receive these notifications, by text, e-mail, phone call or tweet. The state Department of Environmental Protection would be required to centralize all sewage spill data and make it available on the internet. Signage would be required at all public access points (for boating, fishing, beaches) near CSO outfalls as well.

National Rivers Month is a time to shake off those indoor blues and enjoy Massachusetts’

bounty of rivers. Whether you go to look for great blue herons, to fish for trout, to take your family and the dog on an afternoon paddling adventure, or simply to seek calm and quiet, our state’s rivers are there for you. To preserve these friends, and to ensure the safety of those who use our rivers, National Rivers Month should also be a time for towns and cities to insist that our legislators enact a requirement that when the waters are despoiled with sewage spills, we know about it.

Julia Blatt is Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, the voice of Massachusetts rivers. The Alliance is a statewide organization of 77 environmental organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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Chelsea Night Market Inaugural Event Planned for June 8

How much awesomeness can be contained within Luther Place?

The people of Chelsea will soon find out as the first of a series of five monthly events takes place downtown on Saturday, June 8, with the launch of the Chelsea Night Market.

Presented by the City of Chelsea through its downtown initiative called Chelsea Prospers and local events production company Jukebox, the Chelsea Night Market is an ambitious undertaking for a hidden corner of the downtown that’s beginning to awaken.

Last year, GreenRoots took the lead in the block’s transformation by creating a colorful mural with Chelsea artist and one of the state’s top muralists Silvia López Chavez on the Chelsea Walk.

That pedestrian walkway provides the entrance to the next phase of the effort with activation of the space through the Chelsea Night Market.

Edwardo Chacon of Jukebox said, “Vendors are still being accepted for future markets and there’s always room for more artists and performers to join in. Our priority is to engage as much local talent as possible. We’re excited by all the energy growing around the market and the new connections we’re making. This is going to be epic.”

Here, in the large parking lot on Cherry Street behind the businesses on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets, event visitors every month will find the area transformed with activity and something new to discover on each visit.

More than a dozen booths will feature local businesses, artists, merchants and community groups. Merchandise includes both new, vintage, thrift and handcrafted items.

Jack’s Men’s Shop will highlight emerging brands for men’s fashion, while Allen’s Cut Rate features a selection of high-quality fragrances. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry by Beaded Inspiration and Sacred Soul Fire. Over at the booths for Dandelion District and High Energy Vintage there’s a variety of vintage items including old school video games, nicnacks and clothing.

At Jukebox’s booth, show off your local pride with swag that shouts your love of all things 02150. Among the offerings are T-shirts and totes emblazoned with Chelsea. All proceeds are dedicated to supporting the next projects to improve Luther Place.

A variety of other tents will feature community groups and artists.

Test your aim with Archery Games Boston, show off what you’re proud of with the Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, and play around with the team from the Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea.

Several local restaurants are on board with menus of street food as well.

Get a sandwich hot off the grill from the chefs of Broadway House of Pizza, nibble savory Chinese food from Chung Wah, or sink your teeth into an empanada from Pan y Café.

On the main stage a variety of performers will entertain the crowd.

MC for the night is comedian and actor Chase Abel. Host of the podcast “Ready Set Blow” with Randy V, he’s a regular at Boston’s top clubs.

Among them is a band headed by Bengisu and Tuzcu.

It’s impossible to describe their mix of Turkish-funk-rock, but it will definitely get a groove going.

DJ Tempo Sauve’s upbeat house electronica is gathering a strong following, and he’ll keep the energy going throughout the night. There’s a rumor some comedians from the recent show at Tu Casa may stop by too.

The performance highlight, however, undoubtedly will be the crew from the Boston Circus Guild. They’ll be roaming among the crowd to show off their amazing skills and costumes and then at 9:30 p.m., will take the stage for a 20-minute fire performance that will top off the night.

Serving as a backdrop to the main stage and to provide a tangible reminder of the market through the summer, the wall of 456 Broadway will serve as space for temporary mini murals with new designs appearing each month by local artists.

The Chelsea Night Market team is grateful for the support of the Chelsea Record as a media sponsor helping them to spread the word about the upcoming event and to highlight the new happenings of downtown Chelsea.

For additional information check out the Chelsea Night Market’s website at www.chelseanightmarket.com, the facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/529915294079626/ or contact at Mimi Graney, at mgraney@chelseama.gov

Future dates include:

•July 13 (raindate 7/20)

•August 10 (raindate 8/17)

•September 21 (raindate 9/28)

•October 5 (raindate 10/12)

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 301 · Chelsea, MA 02150

Phone: 617.555.1708 · Fax: 617.658.6725 · Email: deptemail@chelseama.gov

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

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Thousands Report to Work at Encore Boston Harbor

Monday marked the biggest day to date for Encore Boston Harbor and its crew of 4,800 employees as they reported to work at the resort site for the first time, and existing employees and the executive team moved into offices at the Encore tower.

After many job fairs, interviews, discussions and trainings, approximately 4,800 active employees were brought on board at the new Encore Boston Harbor resort casino site on Monday, June 3 – the first day that work began in earnest at the $2.2 billion resort, which opens June 23.

It also marked the first day for existing workers and the executive to move out of their long-time offices at Station Landing and into offices at the resort tower.

From shuttle drivers to blackjack dealers to employee cafeteria chefs to Encore President Bob DeSalvio, most everyone with a job to do at Encore was on site Monday.

“On Monday, we were able to move into the resort,” said President Bob DeSalvio. “We now have 4,800 incredibly excited and enthusiastic employees preparing to receive our guests. This is truly a magical time in the building, as employees embark on new careers that positively impact not only their lives but also their families. I’m seeing a lot of smiling faces this week.”

Employees have been busy getting acclimated to their jobs for the past few weeks, training in massive conferences off-site in local venues and in Boston function halls. Monday marked the first day they could begin training onsite, getting their uniforms from the state-of-the-art clothing check system.

To date, Encore representatives said they have brought on 4,800 employees, but they are not yet finished.

They still have offers out to another 700 employees, and are looking to employee another 300 employees. That number includes dealers and others throughout the organization.

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Monday Will Feature Memorial Day Parade, Official Exercises

For the eighth year, the Girl Scouts of Chelsea will kick off the Memorial Day Commemoration with a Parade up Broadway to City Hall, where an official ceremony will take place at 9 a.m.

The Girl Scouts will kick off their parade at 8:15 a.m. on May 27 from Welsh Funeral Home parking lot, 718 Broadway.

The Ceremony will take place on the front lawn of City Hall, with the laying of the wreaths, several numbers by the award-winning Chelsea High Concert Band, and essays from students in the schools.

The Parade is to recognize all who served and sacrificed for the country, but it is also open to community organizations that wish to march. If anyone has any questions or would like to participate in the Parade, the can call (617) 466-4250.

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Police Briefs 05-23-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian

No Identity

On May 11, at 6:50 p.m., a CPD officer observed a vehicle speeding on Eastern Avenue. The vehicle was pulled over and the operator refused to provide his identification to the officer. He was placed into custody after his repeated refusal to identify himself. He was later Identified and learned to not be properly licensed.

Bryan Nunez, 30, of 63 Shawmut St., was charged with refusing to identify himself, negligent operation, and unlicensed operation.

Breaking and Entering

On May 18, at 1 p.m., officers responded to an apartment at 77 Library St. for a report of a past breaking and entering to the residence. Upon arrival, Officers spoke with the reporting party who stated that an unknown male party had broken into their apartment and fled after her younger brother confronted the male and chased him out of the residence.

The victim was able to utilize her find my iPhone app that led the victim, and police, to a Shurtleff Street address. The victim identified the suspect, and he was placed under arrest.

Ariel Melendez, 42, of 61 Shurtleff St., was charged with breaking and entering in the day, and larceny from a building.

Driving under the Influence

On May 18, at 8:44 p.m., a CPD officer was dispatched to 92 Clinton St. for a report of a motor vehicle accident with no reported injuries. The officer observed two motor vehicles involved in a minor crash. As both were exchanging information, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol from one of the drivers. The officer formed the opinion that the operator was driving under the influence of alcohol and the driver was arrested on the scene.

Marvin Mancia, 39, of 109 Clinton St., was charged with OUI Liquor.

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Memorial Day Is a Day to Reflect upon Those Who Gave the Last Full Measure

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, a three-day weekend that for most Americans marks the start of the summer season. Many will celebrate appropriately with barbecues and outdoor activities with family and friends.

However, amidst our festivities, we should not forget that Memorial Day is America’s most solemn national holiday, marking our nation’s tribute to those who made the Supreme Sacrifice for our country.

Memorial Day initially was observed on May 30 and was known as Decoration Day, in an era before the turn of the 20th century, when the Northern states paid tribute to the Union soldiers — who gave their lives to preserve America as we know it — by decorating their graves that were a part of the landscape of every Northern community whose sons died to preserve the Union and free the slaves.

That tradition continues to this day, with the graves of those who gave their lives for their country being decorated with American flags and flowers around the country, whether by veterans organizations or family members.

The new century soon brought with it wars, seemingly every generation, that would give new meaning to the words Supreme Sacrifice. Starting with the Spanish-American War in 1898, American blood was shed on foreign soil in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and then Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention in other far-off places around the world that are known only to our government.

Although history has been less than kind in judging the wisdom of our policy-makers who involved us in many of these conflicts, what is beyond dispute is that in every war to which we have sent our young men and women, they have performed with courage and patriotism in the belief that they were serving the best interests of our nation.

For those of us who have been spared the horrors of war, it is difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf by those who served — and died — while wearing the uniform.

It is these brave Americans, who gave “the last full measure,” whom we honor on Memorial Day. Without their heroic efforts, we would not be writing this editorial — nor would you be reading it.

So as we enjoy the long holiday weekend with friends and family, let each of us resolve to take a moment — if not longer — to thank those who gave their lives in order that we might be able to enjoy the freedoms that make America the greatest nation on earth.

Abraham Lincoln’s words in his Gettysburg address ring as true today as they in 1864:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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Night Market Plans are on Fire…Quite Literally

The Chelsea Night Market plans is smoking, and that’s because the first installment on June 8 will have fire jugglers, amongst musicians, comedians and a full slate of food and craft vendors.

Unveiled earlier this year, the Night Market is part of the City’s Chelsea Prospers campaign and looks to add activity to the downtown area on summer evenings with a creative and exciting market in the Luther Place municipal parking lot once a month.

As the plans come together for the first Market, Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney said she couldn’t be happier with the way things have come together.

“It’s going amazingly,” she said. “We’ve got this really cool Turkish band that’s playing on the first day. We will also have the Boston Circus Guild coming and they will have two performances. There will be folks on stilts, jugglers, people juggling fire and close interactive magicians. They will have a 20-minute fire performance during the evening. Think juggling things on fire with incredible music behind it.”

Graney said she couldn’t yet reveal the vendors, but they have 13 signed up so far that will be a great mix of exciting items and food.

“I’m really excited so many local businesses and food businesses are looking to take part,” she said. “We’re not doing food trucks because we want an intimate atmosphere with open BBQs and food service.”

All of that will be flanked with creative lighting that is meant to ‘wow’ visitors as they come via the newly-refurbished Chelsea Walk.

“Our plan is to encourage people to come into the Market using the Chelsea Walk and it will be like ‘kapow,’” she said. “They’ll be hit with the lights and music and circus acts and vendors.”

There will also be community entries into the Market, with a group of comedians participating and the Chelsea Pride Committee having a booth.

“The Pride Committee will be having their flag raising the day afterward, but they will have a booth at the Market too,” she said. “They plan to use grease body paint to have people write things on themselves that they are proud of. I love a lot of the community vendors are trying to do new and different things instead of just standing behind a table.”

The first Night Market will be on June 8 from 7-10 p.m. with a rain date of June 15.

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TND, Traggorth Finally get the Green Light on Midas Site

A 38-unit affordable housing project at the former Midas site on Broadway can move forward after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) unanimously granted a special permit for the project Tuesday night.

The $15 million project is a partnership between the Traggorth Companies and The Neighborhood Developers (TND). The developers initially came before City officials last year with plans for a 42-unit housing development with some market rate units included.

In addition to cutting the project down to 38 units and making all the units affordable, a planned fifth floor of a building along the Broadway side was eliminated.

“This project cannot do everything for everyone, but it can achieve many things for Chelsea by creating 38 units of affordable housing,” said Dave Traggorth of the Traggorth Companies. “This blighted site pays very little in taxes. This will change that and bring revenue to the city.”

In addition to providing affordable housing, Traggorth said there will be public access to Mill Creek for all Chelsea residents.

As has been the case during past public hearings on the project, a number of community members touted the need for affordable housing in Chelsea and TND’s past successes in bringing affordable units to the city.

City Council President Damali Vidot said she has never supported a TND project in the city until this one.

“There is a huge problem with affordability in this city and we are displacing residents at a rapid rate,” said Vidot.

Resident Sandy Maynard supported the creation of affordable units and the improvement of a blighted site in the city.

“I can’t think of a better project than this one to meet that (affordable housing) need and to beautify Chelsea,” said Maynard. “That lot is an ugly, ugly place.”

Several residents who have been homeless also spoke in favor of the project and of the need of affordable housing.”

A letter from District 3 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda cited his objections to the project, including the welfare of neighboring residents due to traffic and parking concerns.

City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda, who has spoken against approval of the 1001-1005 Broadway project in the past, said his overreaching concern has been TND’s lack of a vision to bring affordable home ownership, as opposed to rental units, to the city.

“Teachers and city employees are not able to bid on homes (in Chelsea) and they are pushed out,” said Avellaneda. “I understand the need for affordable housing, but there is no balance here … There is a broader discussion that is needed in this community.”

The special permit granted by the ZBA was required because the project did not meet minimum zoning requirements for rear yard setbacks, number of off-street parking spaces, and maximum lot coverage percentage.

A housing lottery will be held for all of those units, with 30 offered at 60 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI) for the area (about $64,000 for a family of four) and eight at 30 percent AMI (about $32,000 for a family of four). The maximum preference allowable under state law will be given to Chelsea residents for the units.

There will be 42 parking spaces for the 38 units (the majority of which will be two-bedroom apartments). And because of state law regulating public access to public waterways, 31 of those parking spaces will be available as public parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to provide access to Mill Creek for everyone.

•In other business, the ZBA held a public hearing for a retail marijuana shop at the site of the former King Arthur’s strip club at 200 Beacham St. GreenStar Herbals, Inc. is seeking to tear down the existing two-story building and replace it with a one-story retail facility.

Representatives from GreenStar said the building will feature state-of-the-art security and 34 parking spots on site. Representatives of several of the neighboring local produce businesses came to express concerns about traffic and parking affecting their businesses.

The GreenStar proposal still needs to go before the Planning Board later this month before coming back to the ZBA for special permit and variance approvals.

•The ZBA also denied a special permit for a church to operate out of the second and third floors of 307 Broadway because the plan did not include any parking spaces.

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