Clarifying My Real Comments to John Ruiz

Clarifying My Real Comments to John Ruiz

On Jan. 22, 2018, City Council unanimously adopted an order introduced by Councilor Leo Robinson requesting a Sub-Committee meeting. The meeting was to discuss a proposal by John Ruiz requesting a grant of $475,000 from the city to establish a youth center at the CCC (Old YMCA building). The three-year pilot proposal suggested project activities included boxing, basketball, volleyball, dance/aerobics, STEM-Focused Lewis Latimer Society Exhibitions, and drop-in programs as necessary.

The process of selecting non-profit recipients for grants is a function of the City Manager’s office. When a need in the community arises that the City is unable to meet, the City Manager’s office solicits proposals from non-profits and makes a final decision. Once a grantee is chosen, the City Manager requests funds from the City Council to cover the cost. This is otherwise known as the RFP process (Request for Proposal).

During the Sub-Committee meeting last week, I referenced the process of soliciting proposals, as the involvement of City Council so early was uncommon. If there was a pool of money available to grant for a potential teen center, then all non-profits should be allowed the opportunity to apply. Procedurally, the only time the Council has a say is when it is time to appropriate the funds for the chosen non-profit, after the City Manager has concluded his decision. With the understanding that the burden of decision-making rested with the City Manager, I saw no point as to why this was before us.

However, for the sake of open and honest debate around investments in our youth, I welcomed the dialogue.

Mr. John Ruiz gave an impassioned speech about wanting to give back to the community and councilors did their due diligence in asking questions to gain clarity around this proposed project. Balancing the needs of our youth and where to invest taxpayer dollars is a delicate situation. Yet, as representatives of the community, it is our duty to ask the proper questions to settle concerns.

My personal comments commended the former heavyweight-boxing champ in wanting to give back to the city. I made clear that all proposals were subject to a formal RFP process and encouraged Mr. Ruiz to have conversations with stakeholders (youth, youth organizations) to familiarize himself with the community again and better assess the popularity of boxing. I also suggested that if the champ wanted to give back to the community, he should consider investing in the Explorer Post 109 (which is currently housed in the CCC building). Ruiz’s contribution as a former member of the Post 109 could go a long way for the struggling, 62-year-old youth organization.

Let’s be clear that the City Council does not decide whether we grant Mr. Ruiz funds for his proposal.

That decision-making process rests solely with the City Manager.

The City Council as a body then votes on the appropriation of requested funds in which I am one out of 11 votes. Unfortunately, following the meeting, Mr. Ruiz allegedly chose to turn to social media and misrepresent my comments. At that moment it became clear to me that residents deserved more clarity around the facts as to how things transpired.

As a longtime boxing fan of Puerto Rican roots, I was ecstatic to meet the first Latino heavyweight boxer of the world. However, my fandom doesn’t equate to disregarding my role as a public servant. It is imperative that we continue to secure a fair and transparent process in the allocation of taxpayer dollars. As a longtime youth worker, I am appalled that someone who is proposing to manage a youth center would not look for better ways to demonstrate leadership. I cannot take responsibility for the advice given to Mr. Ruiz prior to the meeting; I did however encourage dialogue and identified ways in which Mr. Ruiz could seek out community input.

Moving forward, I have made it clear to the City Manager that future efforts must remain in his office as it is outside of the scope of Council’s responsibilities. As representatives of our community, we are always available to provide input. However, before anything comes before the City Council a system of checks and balances must be well outlined (budget, zoning, permitting and/or compliancy).

As I look back at where we are, I am proud to see the amazing work we’ve accomplished in the past couple of years. Reestablishing the Youth Commission, reviving our Recreational Dept., increase in youth programming across the city, and creating mentorship for our youth is a testament of our commitment to our future leaders.

This is what’s right about Chelsea.

The mere fact that we are discussing the empowerment of our youth and their need for services speaks volumes as to how far we’ve come. There will be minor setbacks as we strive toward a government that is transparent and inclusive of all. The true test is in how we learn from these experiences and rise above it all. I have the utmost faith in this community and feel confident that we will stand stronger as a result of these conversations.

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Stuck:Firefighters Come to the Rescue of Trapped Residents after Council Meeting

Stuck:Firefighters Come to the Rescue of Trapped Residents after Council Meeting

By Seth Daniel

It reads like an off-color joke, but it wasn’t any joke on Monday night when a councillor, a reverend, a Republican and a clerk with a phobia of elevators got trapped for 45-minutes in the City Hall elevator.

“We were cool; no one freaked out,” said Rev. Sandra Whitley, who was stuck with Planning Board member Todd Taylor (the Republican), Councillor Leo Robinson and Council Administrative Assistant Ledia Koco. “These firefighters are amazing and they need all the credit. Stuck for almost 45 minutes, they kept asking if we were alright, plugging away until they had to almost blast the metal doors apart.”

The firefighters involved in the rescue were Capt. Paul Doherty, Mark Chiaradonna, Gary Poulin, Angel Arrieta, Kevin DeJesus and Lt. Andrew Cerratani.

The situation unfolded Monday after the Council let out for the night. Due to the fact that the stairs in City Hall were being replaced, most everyone had to take the elevator to get down. It gave the old lift quite a workout, and apparently, then those four got on and started going down – everything stopped.

It took some time before anyone realized they were trapped, but enough people were still around to hear them calling for help.

Chelsea Fire was alerted and City Manager Tom Ambrosino directed them to where it was believed the four were stuck.

Firefighters tried to pry open the elevator, but it wasn’t budging.

Firefighters then had to deploy other tools, including an inflatable air bag, to open the doors.

Finally, the job was done and the four emerged from the elevator.

“I was just glad those  other three were with me, because  these days, if it were just me, they might have left me in there,” joked Taylor.

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Standish Steps Down,Collaborative’s Gladys Vega to Planning Board

Standish Steps Down,Collaborative’s Gladys Vega to Planning Board

By Seth Daniel

In the last meeting of the year for the City Council, members voted in several new appointments and re-appointments to City boards – including the approval of long-time activist Gladys Vega to sit on the Planning Board.

Vega received a 10-0 vote with Councillor Giovanni Recupero being absent for all the appointment votes.

Vega said she was looking to get more active in the City’s committees, especially since there has been a call for more people to fill the volunteer – yet critical – roles. She said she planned to become increasingly active in City matters in the coming years if all goes well on the Planning Board.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Housing Chair Tom Standish stepped down from the Board after a monumental and tremendous job in his role as chair for the past several years.

Former CHA Board member Bert Taverna was voted in 10-0 to replace Standish.

Standish was one of the first members of the new Board appointed by the state and former City Manager Jay Ash when the CHA went into receivership following the Michael McLaughlin scandal.

Standish was a solid presence on the Board in the years following the scandal, helping to  put the once-troubled CHA back onto solid footing after the fleecing done by McLaughlin to virtually every part of the organization.

Standish led the Board throughout the difficult process, and helped to take it from a troubled agency to a top performer.

After those two appointments, there was Council politics that entered the room, with Councillor Damali Vidot clashing with Councillor Roy Avellaneda on the nine re-appointments.

Vidot has been a staunch advocate for getting new and different people on the City’s boards and said she discovered in the Charter that the City is required to advertise open Board and Commission seats. However, due to an oversight, that hasn’t been done in some time.

Avellaneda disputed that such a thing was in the Charter, and read Section 4 that did not include any such language.

However, after some tussling between members, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it is in Section 9 of the Charter and it was an oversight. He said he will begin to advertise quarterly any openings in the English and Spanish-language newspapers.

To make a point, Vidot voted against all nine re-appointments, which were mostly non-controversial and resulted in 9-1 votes of approval.

Planning Board member Todd Taylor did elicit some controversy, as he was approved by a vote of 7-3, with Councillors Judith Garcia, Vidot and Avellaneda voting against him.

Those voted in on a 9-1 vote were:

  • Olivier del Melle, Dudley Street, Planning Board
  • Emmanuel Tellez, Broadway, Board of Health
  • Robert Pereira, Gerrish Avenue, Historical Commission (replacing Ilana Ascher)
  • George Pazos, Union Street, Traffic & Parking Commission
  • Marlene Jennings, Breakwater Drive, Cultural Council
  • Mark Rossi, Clark Avenue, License Commission
  • Robert Lynch, Shawmut Street, Conservation Commission
  • Frances Mascolo, Breakwater Drive, Historical Commission.

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Collaborative, Other Groups Make Statement for the Rights of Chelsea Day Laborers

Collaborative, Other Groups Make Statement for the Rights of Chelsea Day Laborers

By Seth Daniel

The group is shown on the steps of the Shawmut Street residence.

The group is shown on the steps of the Shawmut Street residence.

The Chelsea Collaborative joined with two other human service agencies this month to begin several “actions” to put employers engaging in wage theft on notice that they will not let it go – even if employers manipulate a so-called loophole in the City’s pioneering Wage Theft Ordinance.

On Nov. 30, about 20 activists and one man who said he was owed nearly $3,000 in unpaid wages from a flooring company, marched up Shawmut Street to the home address of the owner – who has registered the construction business from his home.

“This is something we are doing to let employers know we will not stand by and watch the struggle of workers due to non-payment of wages,” said Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez, of the Collaborative, while standing on the stoop of the purported wage violator. “At this time, we want to send a message and that’s why we’ve come out here. This is one of the parts of the law where we believe there is a loophole. That is with businesses that register from their homes. It’s very hard to track them.”

Jose Becerra was one of three workers owned money from the construction company. In total, all three are suspected to be owned $9,000 from the Chelsea company.

He was there with about 19 other activists who were prepared to deliver a letter directly to the owner of the company. The owner didn’t answer the door, and activists yelled up to he and his wife to no avail.

“Right now, it’s the loophole that is the problem,” said Sylvia Ramirez of the Collaborative. “Businesses don’t register. They are not in compliance, but the City isn’t aware of them. They have to find a way to investigate and cure this condition.”

The action is part of an overall effort to fight for workers rights, which was bolstered this week on Tuesday when the Collaborative launched its new ‘Journaleros’ project at its existing Workers Center. That Center has been around for 15 years, but now graduates from the Center are looking to empower other workers – primarily day laborers on the fringes who frequently have wages stolen.

Those workers are often recognized by the fact that they wait on certain corners in Chelsea, where construction companies will drive by and pick them up to work for the day.

Many of those corners are in the Shawmut Street and Central Avenue areas, while another major place is at the Home Depot in the Parkway Plaza.

“The project consists in organizing workers in the corners,” read a release from the Collaborative. “This project will allow us to educate these workers to prevent wage theft. The workers will acquire the right tools to defend and protect their rights as day labor workers.”

The project kick-off included canvassing many local businesses and also going to the major “corners” where workers are picked up.

As for the loophole, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he isn’t clear about what the City could do. He said the City is only able to penalize someone for wage theft by not giving them a City contract or not giving them a municipally-required license.

He said the only fix would be to deny business certificates to those violating the Wage Ordinance. However, he said what would likely happen is small companies operating out of homes would simply not get a certificate, which is required only every four years.

“I suppose we could add a section that says the City Clerk can’t issue a Business Certificate…if a company has similar wage violations,” he said. “But, honestly, that statute is impossible to enforce, and we generally rely upon the goodwill of folks to come in and register. It is not as though this municipality or any municipality has a way of keeping track of every business operating from a home address.”

He said if there are licenses, such as liquor licenses, issued by the License Commission, they could have a better handle on it, but for private companies not needing such a license, it would be difficult.

“What is likely to happen if we added such a provision to our Wage Theft Ordinance is that someone who couldn’t secure a Business Certificate from the City Clerk because of Wage Violations would simply avoid getting one,” he said.

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Silver Line Stations Come Together, Service to Begin in April 2018

Silver Line Stations Come Together, Service to Begin in April 2018

By Seth Daniel

The new Chelsea Station behind the Market Basket on Everett Avenue is nearly completed now, with a goal of opening up service at the four new stations on the new SL3 line in April.

The new Chelsea Station behind the Market Basket on Everett Avenue is nearly completed now, with a goal of opening up service at the four new stations on the new SL3 line in April.

A projected 19 minute ride with no transfers from downtown Chelsea to the Seaport in Boston is but months away as the MBTA puts the finishing touches on four stations and the dedicated busway in Chelsea’s new Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line – which will be known as SL3.

Already, a great amount of excitement has built throughout the community as the stations begin to look like finished products and the lettering denoting ‘Eastern Avenue’ and ‘Chelsea’ have been affixed to those stations. A spokesman for the MBTA said the T is excited to start service in April.

“The MBTA and MassDOT are very excited to be just months away from introducing Bur Rapid Transit service for customers traveling to and from Chelsea,” said Joe Pesaturo, for the MBTA. “The MBTA anticipates beginning Silver Line Gateway service in the early spring of next year. The existing Silver Line in Boston has been very popular since its launch because of the frequent levels of service and increased capacity. MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez is looking forward to a celebration in the spring in Chelsea to mark the start of service.”

The completion of the four new BRT stations and the dedicated busway will conclude Phase 1 of the Silver Line Gateway expansion project – which has essentially brought the Silver Line from Logan Airport over to Chelsea. The new Chelsea service, however, will not go to the airport and the SL3 line will bypass the airport with a stop at the Blue Line Train Station where airport shuttles can be taken to terminals.

In documents presented to the MBTA Board last summer, the new service expects to have a total daily ridership of 8,730 people, with new transit trips being 2,500 (meaning people that will use the service who now do not use the MBTA).

At peak, it is estimated there will be 22 BRT buses on all three Silver Line routes, and that the SL3 Chelsea wait times will be around 10-12 minutes at peak times and 12-15 minutes at off-peak times.

MBTA estimates show that currently to get to the World Trade Center stop in the Seaport from downtown Chelsea takes 37 minutes and requires two transfers. That would be paired down to 19 minutes and no transfers on the new SL3 line.

To go from the airport to the World Trade Center station now takes 20 minutes with one transfer. The SL3 line would take seven minutes and no transfers.

The entire first phase of the Silver Line Gateway project cost $46.5 million and included rebuilding the Washington Avenue bridge, constructing a 1.1 mile dedicated busway, a half-mile shared-use path and the four new stations.

A second phase has been fully funded at about $29 million and includes building the Chelsea Intermodal Center, which includes a new Commuter Rail Station and a new railroad signaling system to improve traffic flow in Chelsea. The new station, unlike the existing station, will be fully accessible. The MBTA expects to solicit construction bids for Phase 2 this winter, with work beginning next summer.

One of the key initiatives for MBTA General Manager Ramirez, he said, is to get a comprehensive strategy for marketing a promoting the new service well in advance of the launch. Many of the new service options introduced by the MBTA in recent years suffer from low ridership due in many cases to people having little information about the new service.

The MBTA right now is working to select a qualified firm to handle the jobs of:

•Advertise the new service to existing and prospective customers.

•Highlight the benefits of Silver Line Gateway service relative to existing bus services in the area, including dedicated lanes and limited stops.

•Promote the ongoing work the MBTA is doing to improve its transportation offerings.

“The firm will work with the MBTA to develop well-rounded marketing and communications strategies that achieve the goals, including but not limited to market research, specifying target audiences, generating message concepts, proposing an effective mix of media, and partnering with local community organizations as part of the public outreach strategy,” said Pesaturo.

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Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

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Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

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What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

By Seth Daniel

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study.

The City Council publicly unveiled the recent Airplane Noise Study done by Boston University at a Committee on Conference meeting Monday night, Nov. 13, and the consensus is that there are two different paths – fight in court or use the favorable study as leverage.

The noise study was performed 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. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).

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.

On Monday, Councillors and City Manager Tom Ambrosino met with the study creators and the public to talk about next steps.

Ambrosino explained that the City has had an agreement with MassPort to have a $600,000 annual payment to mitigate the airport uses and airport operations in Chelsea. That agreement ran out in 2015, but he said MassPort has “begrudgingly” continued to pay – but may not renew the deal.

He has asked that they pay $700,000 annually and that they contribute a one-time $3 million payment to create a waterfront park.

Many in the audience, including Ambrosino and GreenRoots Director Roseanne Bongiovanni, are of the opinion that the study should be used as leverage to bring MassPort to the table to agree on mitigation.

“It took us two years just to get a meeting with them about the airport, and then another 18 months to say they would consider doing something,” said Bongiovanni.

Ambrosino said he is a great supporter of the mitigation and park concept – as it would serve the most people – and the report could help make that happen.

“I am a great supporter of the waterfront park,” he said. “That is a piece of mitigation that generates benefits to the most residents of Chelsea and not just a small that will get soundproofing. It won’t be Piers Park in East Boston. That’s a $20 million park, but a $3 million park with the City kicking in $1 million to make it a $4 million park is something that could create a very wonderful waterfront park for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he was of the opinion that it might be best to look at using the study to fight MassPort in court.

“We’re going to get to a point where we have to make a decision about this on behalf of our residents,” he said. “We can squeeze them for $700,000 and a park like the City Manager wants to do, or we 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…My preference will be to do a proper sound study and fight. I can’t go to residents and say that I got them a park and they are still suffering from the noise.”

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No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

By Leah Dearborn and Seth Daniel

In what has been one surprise after another with the Phantom Ventures suit-and-tie strip club proposal, Tuesday night’s events perhaps took the cake – with a new owner of the club now coming into play and the proponents withdrawing their three-year-old proposal at the last minute.

That came, however, after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied the application due to lack of standing.

It was a surprisingly quiet meeting on Tuesday night, despite all the behind the scenes excitement, with representatives of Phantom Ventures failing to make an appearance. The controversial application concerned a Special Permit to establish a nude cabaret and sports bar at 200 Beacham St. – the former site of the King Arthur’s Strip Club.

After addressing the room several times to ask whether a representative of Phantom Ventures was present, Chairman John DePriest announced that the board had received an email earlier in the afternoon requesting withdrawal of the application.

DePriest said the board also received an affidavit from the owner of the property, Demetrios Vardakostas, stating they had been unaware the proposal for the site was submitted. The affidavit clarified that the applicants are no longer tenants of the address at Beacham Street, and that they had been evicted in Chelsea Court last month for non-payment of rent and taxes.

Citing a lack of proper authority to come before the board in the first place, members of the ZBA dismissed the case without further debate from the public.

Another twist in the affair came in that the building was sold late last week, with Everett’s Greg Antonellli now being the new owner.

Antonelli, who owns GTA Landscaping Co., hasn’t revealed what his plans are for the site, but the real estate arm of his business has been buying up a lot of property in the industrial areas of Everett – some of them just on the other side of the Produce Center.

Some in the City said Antonelli may be willing to work with the Phantom proponents to re-apply at his new property, while others said he is considering a different use altogether.

Antonelli said it is too early to discuss any plans for the property, as he has just taken ownership.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he hopes the new owner will consider something different than the nude dancing use.

“I’m pleased that the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the application,” he said. “Hopefully, the new owner will propose a better use for that site.”

City Councillor Dan Cortell has organized major opposition several times regarding the Phantom application, and he said he was pleasantly surprised by the outcome Tuesday – which was somewhat unexpected.

“A lot of hard work went into this fight that included not just of our City Manager, City Solicitor and staff, Department of Planning and Development and Inspectional Services, but also our volunteer Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Economic Development Board and Licensing Commission as well as the literally hundreds of residents I called upon to support the fight all whom were looking out for the best for the city and its future,” he said. “Some football games end in a spectacular interception or last second score. Others end with a run out the clock ‘kneel down.’  Last night’s ZBA meeting ended with the latter. A win is a win and last night Chelsea put the notorious history that is King Arthur’s behind us. Chelsea is a better and more desirable city for it.”

Member Janice Tatarka said Phantom Ventures could still theoretically re-apply for the permit since the original application never went to a vote.

“They could come back,” said board member Janice Tatarka. “It’s possible.”

What is certain is that the controversial Phantom Ventures application – which resulted in numerous hearing and a Constitutional Court case in federal court – is currently dead. Phantom Ventures had re-submitted their application for Tuesday’s meeting after a Federal Court ruling declared the City’s adult entertainment ordinance unconstitutional earlier this year – a case that resulted from the ZBA denying Phantom’s original application in 2015.

Currently, the ZBA said any nude dancing application had to be fit under the ‘theatre’ use. Phantom Ventures had planned to apply on Tuesday under the ‘Theatre’ use provision – that is until it was learned they had no standing with the owner and the new owner.

Phantom’s ownership, which did not appear before the Board, had no comment on the matter immediately.

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Piece of Chelsea History Goes Down to the Wrecking Ball

Piece of Chelsea History Goes Down to the Wrecking Ball

By Seth Daniel

The old Chelsea Clock building was torn down on Friday and Monday of this week. The building stood as the headquarters for the luxury clock maker for more than 100 years. They moved out in 2014, and Fairfield Residential tore down the iconic Chelsea landmark to make way for more than 700 apartments.

The old Chelsea Clock building was torn down on Friday and Monday of this week. The building stood as the headquarters for the luxury clock maker for more than 100 years. They moved out in 2014, and Fairfield Residential tore down the iconic Chelsea landmark to make way for more than 700 apartments.

Three generations of Chelsea residents have worked, walked or driven by the famous Chelsea Clock building on Everett Avenue, but none will be able to do either any longer.

The last pieces of the former brick luxury clock factory – outfitted with the black banner and white lettering reading ‘Chelsea Clock’ – came down last Friday and Monday.

After more than 100 years and two major conflagrations, the old building that in many ways symbolized Chelsea as much as the Soldiers’ Home water tower, is now gone.

“I think most people in Chelsea are a bit saddened by seeing that iconic building disappear, but the environmental conditions made it impossible to retain,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “I just hope that what replaces it, a modern apartment complex with a bit of retail on Everett Avenue, will bring positive benefits to the City.”

The Chelsea Clock company, now on Second Street in a restored building, said it had no comment on the demolition of its former long-time headquarters.

What is about to replace that piece of Chelsea history is a 700-plus unit apartment community on a large piece of land, adding some retail in the mix fronting Everett Avenue.

Fairfield Residential is developing the property, and intends to begin construction soon now that the demolition is complete.

The Chelsea Clock company moved out of the old building in 2014, and has occupied their new headquarters for three years.

Fairfield has said it hopes to have occupancy of its project in 2019.

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