Chelsea Rehabs Its City Seal

Chelsea Rehabs Its City Seal

So much happens within every municipality that needs to be shared: upcoming events, new initiatives, important updates, celebrations of success.  And there’s myriad ways in which each department of City Hall interfaces with the public in routine ways, from applications for parking permits to business licenses, to simple correspondence to the uniforms of Department of Public Work employees  repairing the streets. Inherent in all of this communication is a message about how the municipality functions. Each represents an opportunity to say something about the City of Chelsea itself. 

The new Chelsea City Seal features a more appropriate figure and a consistent design.

To make the most of these opportunities, the City of Chelsea has just released a Style Guide that details the specific graphic style for all communications from the ten City Hall departments and nearly twenty boards and commissions. The goal of the effort is to establish a consistent brand identity that’s professional, clear, and attractive. The guide details typography, colors, photography and formatting that together create a distinctive look for City Hall’s print and digital materials. For administrative staff at City Hall, a suite of templates facilitate the quick creation of regularly needed materials within the established style. The refreshed documents include letterhead and envelopes, agendas and minutes, business cards and brochures, forms and flyers, reports and PowerPoint slide decks.

The underlying goal of the project is that quality, consistent design will demonstrate a unified voice whenever expressed by an agent of Chelsea’s city offices. Quality design demonstrates competence and professionalism. Through a clear graphic identity the public will be able to better recognize services provided by municipal government.

Over the past eight months, a team of City Hall staff representing a variety of departments worked with design consultant, Catherine Headen, to develop the guide. After reviews, working sessions and a special event with City Hall staff the completed Guide and templates are formally released this week.

A major aspect of the work was refining of the City Seal. Over the decades numerous changes had led to an evolution of the design, drifting the illustration away from the original as detailed in the banner hanging Chelsea’s City Council Chambers. When the team began, nearly a dozen different images were in use as a City Seal across municipal departments. The design details had changed so significantly that the group was surprised to discover lost elements prescribed within the City Charter: “The following shall be the device of the corporate seal of the city: A representation within a circle of a shield surmounted by a star, the shield bearing upon it the representation of an American Indian chief and wigwams; at the right of the shield, a sailboat such as was formerly used for ferriage; at the left of the shield, a view of the city and a steam ferryboat; under the shield, the word “Winnisimmet;” around the shield, the words “Chelsea, settled 1624; a Town 1739; a City 1857.”

The unveiling of the new look with take place over time. City staff will continue to use the print materials already on hand but will use the new templates for all their future materials. The new style is intended for the main City Hall departments and doesn’t extend to the City’s Police and Fire departments or to the schools.

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Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.

Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.

“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.

One of the first orders of business was selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”

“I think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.

Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the Cottage Park Yacht Club.

Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop their home.

There have been some noticeable changes made in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other state-of-the-art equipment.

Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental care and hospital-based dental care.

“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the area,” said Dr. Maarouf.

She became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of having her own practice.

“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility, so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”

Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.

“We do a variety of fillings, crowns, fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework, implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals and implant placement.”

Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.

She has begun a series of educational visits to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care. “Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”

Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7 p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).

And she is also expanding her knowledge, keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars throughout the country.”

Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop and excited about her future here.

“There are challenges that you don’t anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf concluded.

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Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch  Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

For the first time, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are combining forces to conduct a comprehensive regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and design a Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP). Major hospitals, along with health centers, human services providers and non-profits that serve area residents, are working with municipal leaders, health departments and the boards of health of each community to develop the plan. Residents of the three communities are being urged to go online and fill out a survey that asks about local health issues and other aspects of community life.

The effort is being co-coordinated by the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative and the Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) with the ultimate goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent health needs faced by each community and the region. Such assessments are often used to apply for targeted funding to help address community needs.

Every three years, most hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment to meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General also requires such a report and is encouraging regional collaboration among stakeholders, including among healthcare systems who share the same service areas. “This is one of the first regional assessments of its type in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Stone, Director of the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative. “Mayor Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison realize that public health conditions don’t respect borders, and, working together we can solve some of our health challenges more effectively.”

“The North Suffolk Community Health Needs Assessment is critical for the City of Chelsea,” said City Manager Ambrosino. “Not only will it provide the information necessary for Chelsea to better understand our residents’ public health needs, but it will also enable us to properly prioritize resources to better address those needs. We encourage all of our residents to participate in upcoming surveys, forums and interviews.”

The collaborators have set an ambitious timeline. The CHNA and CHIP will be completed by Sept. 30, 2019, and will result in a guide for a three-year community health improvement plan that all providers can use. The process includes intensive data collection–hundreds of resident surveys, interviews and focus groups as well as collecting data from other agencies such as the MA Department of Public Health and the US Census.

A website has been created, www.northsuffolkassessment.org, to provide information to anyone who may be interested. People who live or work in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are encouraged to complete a survey. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the languages most frequently spoken in the communities.

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Guaranteed to Make You Smile: Drs. Mobed and Parsi Find Great Success

Guaranteed to Make You Smile: Drs. Mobed and Parsi Find Great Success

Dr. Fardad Mobed and Dr. Lily Parsi certainly have a lot in common.

Both are scholars, which goes without saying. They hold degrees in engineering: Dr. Mobed, a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Dr. Parsi, three advanced degrees in Civil, Water Resources, and Computer System Engineering.

Both attended dental school in the Boston area. Dr. Mobed completed his dental training at Boston University while Dr. Parsi studied at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

But perhaps, most significantly, they share the same home address. Dr. Mobed and Dr. Parsi are husband and wife, the parents of two children.

And they have been practicing dentistry together at their state-of-the-art offices, Northgate Dental, located at 603 Broadway that has been in existence for 27 years. Dr. Mobed is an endodontist specializing in root canal surgery. Dr. Parsi is a pedodontist specializing in children’s dentistry.

Dr. Mobed began his practice in 1992 at the Northgate Shopping Center before moving to Broadway. Dr. Parsi joined the practice in 2008. They also have a dental practice in Brookline.

Yes, they do work side by side in the Revere office, though as Dr. Parsi states, “I treat the children. He treats mostly adults.”

Of course, everyone asks the question, “What’s it like for a couple to work together?”

“It’s great – we really support each other quite a bit,” said Dr. Parsi. “I feel it’s good to know that you can trust the other person 100 percent.”

Dr. Samantha Bogle is the orthodontist at Northgate. Dr. Joey Chang is the oral surgeon and the director of the pre-doctoral program at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

Do Dr. Mobed and Dr. Parsi talk about dentistry at home during dinner?

“Unfortunately, a lot,” Dr. Parsi said, smiling.

“We go to dental conferences together but we attend different lectures,” added Dr. Mobed.

The dentists have stayed on top of the major technological advances in their profession and their offices feature the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

“I think one of the biggest changes have been in CT scans and microscopes, and everybody gets white fillings instead of silver fillings,” said Dr. Mobed.

Dr. Parsi said preventive care should begin early. “The primary goal in pediatric dentistry is to prevent cavities, so we want to see children as early as 6 months old, but no later than the first year of age,” said Dr. Parsi. “Because the objective is to teach the parents how to take care of their children, ideally so the children will never have cavities, rather than seeing them at the time when there are already cavities in the mouth.”

Dr. Parsi said Northgate wants to be “a dental home for families, so patients know where to go when there are issues, but hopefully we can prevent these issues from happening.”

27 years in Revere

Dr. Mobed has been a practicing dentist in Revere for 27 years. He has treated two generations of families who have been coming to Northgate Dental.

“I like the people,” said Dr. Mobed. “It’s a good community and they’re appreciative of what you do for them.”

“I’ve had patients who I saw when they were very little, and now they now see him,” said Dr. Parsi. “Depending on the patient’s personality, anywhere between the ages 15-18, they’re ready to see the adult dentist.”

She is proud to see her patients dedicating themselves to dental care and prevention.

“I’m especially happy to see the children whom I’ve seen six months old, because they end up being very healthy, and it makes me sad when somebody whom I’ve never seen, comes in to the office and they have major needs. I’m glad we’ve made such a strong connection to families that we’ve known for a long time. It’s very satisfying.”

Dr. Parsi recommends that her patients have regular dental check-ups every six months.

Interestingly Dr. Mobed came to the United States from Iran 40 years ago with the goal of becoming a professional soccer player.

He accomplished that goal, earning a spot on the Boston Teamen professional team that was based in Framingham.

One of his fondest soccer memories was playing for an Iranian team that had an exhibition game in that country against Brazil and Pele, arguably the greatest soccer player in history.

“In 1978, Brazil came to Iran for some exhibition games when Pele was at the top of his game and was most famous at that time,” recalled Dr. Mobed. “I was fast, but too skinny, otherwise I wouldn’t be a dentist now.” But fortunately for their many patients, Dr. Fardad Mobed and Dr. Lily Parsi are dentists now and they look forward to continuing their successful partnership at Northgate Dental for many years to come.

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Chelsea High School Principal Gives Back to the Community on His 50th Birthday

Chelsea High School Principal Gives Back to the Community on His 50th Birthday

Early in the morning on Saturday January 5th with a team of of 13 men Principal Mathews arrived at Salvation Army Chelsea loaded with tools and all the materials ready to do a transformation..

Captain Isael Gonzalez, the Pastor of Salvation Army remarks, how excited he was to see a team of professionals lawyers, teachers, principals, and investors who unselfishly dedicated their time accomplishing major repairs.

The day started at 7:00 a.m. shopping for needed items at Home Depot and ended about 5:30 p.m.

Captain Brenda Gonzalez expressed, the highlight for the weekend for her was the fact that some of Principal Mathews’s friends traveled from different states to celebrate his birthday in a very unusual way. His friends are Kevin Qazilbash (Lawrence Principal), Evan MacAlew (Somerville Teacher), Josh Bowman (Lawyer),Drew Kodjak (Environmental lawyer), Bill O’Flanagan (Retired Principal), Mike Sabin (Waltham Principa), Seth Alexander (investing), Tom Nolan (investing), Alexlander Mathews (CHS Principal Chelsea), Bouke Noordji, Steven Cornielsen, Mark Nichols, and Dave Daglio.

They demonstrated humility and willingness to serve without any fanfare. They really wanted to give back to the community using their own resources and skills. They hired a local contractor to replace and install carpet in the front office. They replaced ceiling tiles in the kitchen and high ceiling tiles at the gym door exit. They painted the kids club classrooms and the hallways. They sanded and ceiled the wood rails along the stairway and replaced the baseboard trims.

When the kids arrived, they were so excited and happy to see the big change in their newly painted classrooms. Principal Mathews and team of friends, including the Salvation Army congregation, the Chelsea Interfaith Alliance and the entire community say Happy, Happy Birthday to you. Thank you very much for giving back to the community on your special day.

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City Manager Working on Local Regulations for AirBNB

City Manager Working on Local Regulations for AirBNB

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week he is preparing new City regulations that would govern the short-term rental market (known as AirBNB) in Chelsea.

That comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and the State Legislature worked out a sudden compromise at the end of the year to a bill that had been stalled since the summer. That bill was signed into law and went into effect statewide on Jan. 1. While it governs the practice, it also leaves a lot of room for cities to come up with their own regulations and to tax such entities.

Ambrosino said he hoped to have something to the Council in March.

“I’m working on them now,” he said. “I hope to have a proposal up to the Council with new regulations and requirements about the local options taxes that we want to collect. I’ve been working on some drafts and we’ll circulate those internally. We’ll have a proposal to submit in early March.”

Both houses of the state legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker found a sudden compromise at the end of December in their two-year session to push through the stalled short-term rental bill – which Gov. Baker signed into law on Friday, Dec. 28.

The bill has been a long time in the making and has been shepherded through the legislature for years by State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of the North End, who was happy to see the compromise reached.

Short-term rentals are not a major issue at the moment in Chelsea, but there are more than a few out there. More are expected due to the proximity of the city to the airport and the Encore Boston Harbor casino.

One of the keys of the state law is that it will be obvious who operates them and where, something that is kind of a mystery now.

The new law requires a statewide registry of operators, something the governor had opposed for some time until late in the year.

It also levies a 5.7 percent state tax on all short-term rental units, and allows cities and towns to levy their own local taxes as well. In Boston, it is proposed to put an additional 6 percent on each short-term rental unit.

The trade-off with the registry for the governor seems to be a provision that allows for anyone renting out a unit for 14 days or less to avoid the taxation portion of the law. It was uncertain, but it initially did appear that those units would have to participate in the statewide registry.

Ambrosino said they would undoubtedly push to go for the maximum 6 percent local option taxes.

“We’ll definitely go for the maximum option,” he said. “We’ll look at the Boston ordinance as a model. It was well-crafted. We’ll make sure rentals are adequately inspected and safety is addressed.”

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Year in Review:Balancing Prosperity and Priorities

Year in Review:Balancing Prosperity and Priorities

The year 2018 saw many changes in Chelsea as the city tried to balance prosperity with priorities all year long. While new investment poured in, residents struggled to stay in the city and schools grappled with budget cuts. Meanwhile, public transit increased substantially in a positive direction with the introduction of the new Silver Line service.

• Flooding becomes a major issue after a Jan. 4 blizzard and a March 2 storm, both of which occur during substantial high tides. The Jan. 4 blizzard caused a huge storm surge that flooded many parts of the city and even shut down operations at the Chelsea Street Bridge.

• The New England Flower Exchange celebrates its first Valentine’s Day holiday at its new location on Second Street after being in Boston’s South End for the past 50 years. The new facility has been brought online seamlessly.

• Wynn CEO Steve Wynn seemed to be in control of his company and the project in Everett until late January, when he was accused of sexual misconduct in a Wall Street Journal report. The allegations quickly gathered steam, and by February Wynn had resigned from the company and the license for the Everett casino was in jeopardy and the project to be moving forward “at risk.” The new CEO became Matt Maddox and the company saw huge amounts of turnover throughout the year. By the end of 2018, the license for the Everett site was still in limbo and an investigation into the matter still had yet to be revealed – having been delayed for months.

• City Manager Tom Ambrosino says in his State of the City on Feb. 26 that now is not the time to save up money, but rather the time to continue investing in the City and its residents. He announces several key programs for the upcoming year.

• Sen. Sal DiDomenico is involved in a heated and intense bid for the office of Senate President over several months, but in the summer comes up just short in getting the votes necessary to prevail. Sen. President Karen Spilka gets the nod instead, but DiDomenico remains the assistant majority leader and ends up coming out of the battle in a very good position of leadership.

• Students at Chelsea High stage a walk-out in regard to school safety and school shootings on March 15. Despite lots of snow, thousands of students take to the Stadium for the one-hour protest.

•YIHE company returns to the City with a new plan for the old Forbes site in the Mill Hill neighborhood. They start the process in April with a scaled down version of their previous plan, but reviews of the project continue throughout the year and into 2019.

• The new Silver Line SL-3 service debuts on Saturday, April 21, in Chelsea. The service starts out a little slow, but by December the MBTA reports that ridership has exceeded its estimates.

• The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home secured a $70 million budget item from the federal government in April that allowed the replacement of the Quigley Hospital to move forward. The Community Living Center has a groundbreaking in the fall and construction is ongoing in the new year.

• The Chelsea Walk is transformed throughout the spring, summer and fall in a unique placemaking partnership between the City and GreenRoots. At the end, there is a new mural on the Walk and more activity. New things are also planned for the Walk in 2019.

• A $3.1 million School Budget gap hits the School Department hard, with numerous cuts reported to key school services. Th School Department, City and state grapple with the issue all summer long, but no resolution to the issue emerges at the end of the legislative session. The school funding fix is still outstanding, and no fix has yet been passed to help districts like Chelsea, who have been penalized mistakenly by a new formula.

• Chelsea High sophomore track star Stephanie Simon caps off a stellar year by heading to the National Track Meet in North Carolina over the summer. She placed 15th in the high jump and 27th in the triple jump out of a field of athletes from around the nation.

• Students at the Clark Avenue Middle School are ecstatic to return to school on Aug. 29, and that’s because they were able to enter their brand new building for the first time. The Clark Avenue premiered to excited parents and students for the new school term after many years of construction.

• The Sept. 4 Primary Election features many surprises, but the biggest headline of the night, however, was when Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley upset sitting Congressman Michael Capuano decidedly. Capuano had campaigned hugely in Chelsea, and won here with 54 percent of the vote. However, a strong Boston turnout propelled Pressley to an big win. Pressley also had notable support in Chelsea from Council President Damali Vidot and School Committeeman Julio Hernandez.

• The Two-Way Broadway proposal gathers steam, but fizzles out as residents and elected officials protest the change vehemently. That came after a late-August approval of the plan by the Traffic Commission. However, in September, it fails to get past the City Council. Broadway will remain a one-way street.

• Supt. Mary Bourque surprises most in late December when she announces she will retire at the end of 2019, pledging to help the School Committee with a new superintendent search throughout the year.

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Decision Delayed on Forbes Development

Decision Delayed on Forbes Development

Just as the Planning Board looked close to taking a vote on a major development plan for the Forbes site Tuesday night, Dec. 18, the attorney for developer YIHE asked the board to give his client another month to review potential changes to the project.

Paul Feldman, the attorney for the developer, requested a one-month continuance of the public hearing on the project after City officials, including City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, recommended decreasing the density of the residential units on the site.

Developers were seeking 630 studio, one-, and two-bedroom units in a mix of buildings on the property, along with 963 parking spots, and 20,000 sq. ft. of office, commercial, and retail space.

Chinese company YIHE purchased the 18-acre former Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing site, bordered by the Chelsea River and Mill Creek, in 2014 for just over $11.5 million. In 2015, the City rejected a far-reaching plan for the site that included skyscrapers more than 20 stories tall and more than 1.5 million square feet of residential and commercial development.

“The current proposal is more than half the size smaller than the one three years ago at 699,000 square feet,” said Feldman.

During a nearly three-hour public hearing Tuesday night, Ambrosino gave the project his qualified support, stating he approved of the developer’s plans to allow waterfront access to the public through a three-acre waterfront park. He also supported their willingness to work with the city on affordable housing levels and the plan to build 60 percent of the units as condominiums, dramatically helping to increase home-ownership levels in Chelsea.

“This is the first significant home ownership project to come to the city since I started here three-and-a-half years ago,” said Ambrosino.

However, the city manager said the project is too dense for the neighborhood, and asked the Planning Board to recommend to the Zoning Board of Appeals that the project be limited to 550 residential units. He also asked the ZBA to stipulate that 10 percent of the units in the project be set aside as affordable units at 50 percent of the annual median income.

“I advocate that outright denial would not be in the best interest of the city,” said Ambrosino. He noted that 630 units could be approved by right on the 18-acre parcel provided there were more parking spaces than the number proposed by YIHE.

During the public hearing, Feldman said the developer was willing to work with the city on affordable housing. With the recommendation to reduce the number of units, however, the attorney said his client would need more time to review the conditions.

“Given the enormous amount of information we have heard tonight, we do not want to be rushed,” said Feldman.

During the hearing, most of the questions from the board and the public revolved around some of the usual suspects with any large development — safety, traffic, and parking.

A good portion of the evening was dedicated to a traffic study conducted by the developer’s engineering firm.

Jeff Dirk of Vanasse and Associates said there would be a traffic impact from the 630 units, but that it would top out at about 200 vehicle trips during peak hours around 1 Forbes Street. He also noted that once traffic exited the development over one of two proposed new bridges to the site off Crescent Avenue, it would be dispersed throughout a number of thoroughfares throughout Chelsea, cutting down on overall congestion.

“It will be a relatively minor increase (in traffic) as you get away from the site,” said Dirk.

Feldman said the developers will work with the City to make infrastructure and traffic improvements in the area, including to Crescent Avenue itself. In addition, he said YIHE will work with the MBTA to improve public transportation to the site and the surrounding neighborhood.

While a dedicated bus stop is likely years away, Feldman said developers will provide a shuttle bus service to the nearest MBTA bus stops and the Silver Line for residents of the development and the neighborhood.

But some people Tuesday night, including District 3 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda, said the development team was painting too-rosy a picture of the traffic and parking impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.

“This is in my district and I am still not on board,” said Perlatonda.

As it stands, the councillor said pedestrians dodge traffic on Crescent Avenue, and backups in the area can be severe, particularly during school drop-off and pick-up hours.

“Parking is also a major concern, and I also don’t want to see a bus circling Carroll Street and Clinton Street,” he said. “I see there being a complete bottleneck.”

Several residents and Planning Board members were also concerned about the two new planned bridges, questioning if they were too close together in case of emergency.

Feldman said a wider bridge would be for vehicles and a narrower one would be primarily for pedestrians, but could be used for emergency access by the police and fire departments.

However, Planning Board member Gladys Vega said she was worried that there could be issues in an emergency because the bridges are essentially side by side, with no other access point to the development.

City Council President Damali Vidot raised concerns about the density of the project, as well as the lack of three-bedroom apartments in the initial plans.

“I do appreciate the 10 percent affordable housing at the lower annual median income, if the developer is willing to do it,” Vidot said. “But I do have an issue with (Feldman) minimizing the impact of the project on the community. This would be an increase in population of 2,000 people, or about five percent of the city’s population.”

The Planning Board will take up the public hearing on 1 Forbes St. at its January meeting.

Feldman said he will also be asking for a continuance from the ZBA, which needs to grant a special permit to allow for fewer parking spots than are required under zoning for the Waterfront District.

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Chief Kyes Named First-Ever Chief of the Year

Chief Kyes Named First-Ever Chief of the Year

The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association has named Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes as its Chief of the Year

Police Chief Brian Kyes has been selected as the first-ever Chief of the Year by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.
The announcement came this week, and added to two other recent accolades for Kyes

the first-ever such award handed out by the organization.

This week, the executive board of the organization announced that Kyes was the recipient of the award, particularly for his advocacy in getting the municipal police training fund passed last summer.

“The Executive Board of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association is pleased to announce that the first recipient of the ‘Chief of the Year’ Award is Chief Brian A. Kyes of the Chelsea Police Department,” read the announcement. “Chief Kyes serves as the Chair of the Mass. Chief’s Legislative Committee, as well as being the President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association, a member of the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and a member of the Municipal Police Training Committee. Chief Kyes was instrumental in advancing our legislative efforts towards a dedicated funding source for the training of municipal police officers in Massachusetts, which culminated with Governor Charlie Baker signing into law House Bill 4516…”

The award carries a $500 donation from the association to the charity of the recipient’s choice. In this case, Kyes has chosen The Jimmy Fund as the charity.

“I was notified last week that I also have received the first annual Police Chief of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association,” said Kyes. “I am incredibly humbled by this recognition and am honored to recently have received three awards, which all mean a great to deal to me and my family. The last month or so has been pretty good for me and the Chelsea Police Department in terms of some nice totally unexpected recognitions.”

On Oct. 29, Kyes received the Gregory A. Madera Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys at the Law Offices on Mintz & Associates. On Nov. 30, Kyes also received the Law Enforcement Person of the Year Award from the North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council Foundation (NEMLEC) at the Four Oaks Country in Dracut.

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MBTA, MassPort Seek Pilot for Chelsea Street Bridge Restrictions

MBTA, MassPort Seek Pilot for Chelsea Street Bridge Restrictions

There has been no shortage of colorful language used to express frustration for the often ill-timed Chelsea Street Bridge closures, and now the MBTA has joined the chorus in cursing the 250-foot vertical lift bridge – a bridge that far-too-often makes a lift in the dead of rush hour traffic.

At the MBTA Fiscal Management Control Board (FMCB) meeting on Monday, Kate Fichter – Assistant MassDOT Secretary for Policy Coordination – said that the Silver Line extension to Chelsea has been a great success, but the delays at the critical crossing of the Chelsea Street Bridge have stifled the new service.

A plan put in place to warn Silver Line drivers in advance of a bridge closure has not worked out very well, she said, and the Silver Line’s growth is believed to be hampered by people frustrated with the bridge delays.

“It impacts a lot of things and it’s been an issue a long time for Chelsea, East Boston and Revere,” said Fichter. “With the SL3, we had a plan in place that had a system for early warning with dispatch that we hoped would mitigate the issue. It hasn’t really turned out to work as well as we had hoped. It is a challenge to the Silver Line, the 116, the 117 and a lot of its other uses…The Silver Line usage has grown, and we believe if we can solve the delays at the bridge, ridership can grow even more.”

Fichter said they are working with MassPort and several other partners to propose a six-month pilot program to the Coast Guard’s Maritime Regulations on the bridge. Those regulations prioritize maritime travel over all other forms of transportation and often result in ships coming through at the worst times of the day. That has caused problems for MassPort workers trying to get to and from the employee parking garage in Chelsea from the airport, and it’s also caused problems for parents trying to get to Chelsea to pick up their children from school or day care. Likewise, it is a constant headache for commuters and commercial/industrial ventures when it goes up.

“We are going to apply with the Coast Guard in the next couple of months to propose a pilot program to those regulations that would last six months,” she said. “At this point, we’re proposing that the bridge would not open in the a.m. peak times or the p.m. peak times for a two-hour period at each time.”

The exception would be if a fully loaded petroleum tanker sought to come into the Chelsea Creek or there was an emergency situation. The purpose of the pilot program would be to collect data on MBTA delays, as well as delays for other users.

“I am cautiously optimistic about getting the pilot,” she said. “The situation is such that we have no real leverage. We can only ask.”

She said the goal would be for the multiple agencies to seek a permanent regulation change with the Coast Guard if the pilot shows improvements. That, she said, is a tough road to travel and would likely get resistance from maritime uses on Chelsea Creek.

“They see it as a maritime facility and we see it as the bottom of a road,” she said. “It’s no secret the users of the Creek and vessel operators are very opposed to this and I anticipate they will oppose the pilot program and would really oppose a permanent change. There are plenty of regulations that have changed across the country, but it’s a tough fight…My hope is there is a compromise position where everyone gives a little and we all get some relief.”

Fichter said they would be having public meetings in the new year at some point to get input from the community, and they are encouraging everyone to come out and voice their frustrations with the bridge as it is set up now. The more people that voice their opinions, the more likely it will be that the pilot would be put in place.

She said they would like to see any approved pilot program start in June 2019.

Chelsea Silver Line extension seeing major growth in weekday ridership

MBTA officials reported this week that Silver Line ridership for the new Chelsea service has been growing steadily since implementation last April.

Members of the MBTA’s Chelsea Task Force reported to the Fiscal Management Control Board (FMCB) on Monday that ridership on weekdays has grown by nearly 2,000 riders per month.

The service started with about 4,100 riders per month on weekday at the outset, and now boasts around 6,200 riders per month on weekdays. At other times, though, ridership has stayed flat.

On Saturdays, ridership started around 3,000, grew to nearly 4,000 riders and has now declined to about 3,200 riders.

On Sundays, ridership started at about 2,900 and surged to about 3,000 riders in August, but has now declined to about 3,800 riders per month.

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