Council Looking into Keeping Some Marijuana Licenses for Residents

Council Looking into Keeping Some Marijuana Licenses for Residents

Chelsea city councillors are looking at ways in which they can legally find a way to reserve some of the recreation marijuana licenses for Chelsea residents.

Councillor Roy Avellaneda forwarded an order recently to reserve at least two of the four recreational licenses for Chelsea residents, as so many residents have been impacted by the War on Drugs and the prosecution of marijuana possession crimes.

Avellaneda said his order is to amend the current retail marijuana ordinance in similar fashion to Somerville and Boston. At the state level, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) signaled early on that it would approve licenses quicker in communities like Chelsea that historically have been heavily impacted by drug prosecution.

However, Avellaneda and other councillors said they have only seen well-heeled investors from out of town turning up to take advantage of that designation in Chelsea.

“The recent rush we have seen by well-funded and politically connected individuals and groups to apply for the available licenses puts those living in communities like Chelsea at a serious disadvantage,” he said. “The goal of the legislation I have introduced is to provide a two-year window for two of the four licenses just for Chelsea residents or a business entity comprised of 60 percent Chelsea residents…I think we would have better host agreements and community benefits offered by an individual or group based from Chelsea than from someone with no connections to this city. Should we allow the money made from these lucrative licenses leave the city? Or should we try to keep that revenue here?”

The Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday night, Feb. 4, to discuss the matter and try to find a solution.

Council President Damali Vidot said she and Avellaneda and the rest of the Council seem to be on the same page with the idea, but may differ on how to accomplish it.

“My concern at Monday’s meeting and a couopld of other councillor’s concerns were that we could be interfering with a business’s right ot commerce,” she said. “If I own an adult-use shop and want to sell it, I don’t know if we can limit who you sell it to. We don’t want to cut people off at the knees. That will effect investors because they may not want to enter into a place where there are so many limits on their investment…Also, we’re only allowing the rich to get richer. If you live in Chelsea and have the money to buy one of these, you’re obviously already rich.”

She said the marijuana licenses mimic the regulations for liquor stores, and there are no such limits on liquor licenses.

That said, she agreed that Avellaneda has a good idea that needs to be explored and hopefully implemented in some fashion to help Chelsea residents – to empower those economically who have been affected in the past.

Avellaneda said the idea is consistent with the recent 100 percent residency requirement for all new police and fire hires, as well as the affordable housing requirement for Chelsea residents.

“It asks that any new jobs created in Chelsea have a priority for Chelsea residents,” he said. “I doubt Chelsea would lose any opportunities or see a delay in applications because any outsider looking to open in Chelsea would look to partner with a Chelsea resident rather than risk losing a chance at a license by waiting two years.”

Western Front Moving Quickly on Webster

The Economic Empowerment marijuana proposal on Webster Avenue is moving quickly through the local process for a marijuana dispensary at 121 Webster Ave.

Western Front is a minority-owned firm that received the Economic Empowerment designation from the state last spring, and had its community meeting shortly after. The firm plans to open a dispensary and also employ those who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs – particularly people from the Chelsea. The ownership of the company comes from Boston and Cambridge though. Western Front is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. It is the first ZBA hearing in Chelsea for a marijuana proposal.

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Fire at Pollo Campero treacherous, but controlled quickly

Fire at Pollo Campero  treacherous, but controlled quickly

A Chelsea firefighter fighting the stunning blaze created by Pollo Campero in Park Square on Sunday
night. The popular restaurant was a total loss, but owners said they intend to re-build.

Heavy smoke poured from the popular Pollo Campero restaurant in Park Square on Sunday night, with firefighters facing treacherous conditions that forced their evacuation numerous times as they tried to put out the stunning fire.

In the end, crews battled and made quick work of it – getting it out within an hour.

Chief Len Albanese said it is still under investigation this week, and that it was a total loss.

“The fire is still under investigation; however, I can report at this time that it appears that the fire started in a concealed space within a wall, then traveled to the loft space above the ceiling where the fire was allowed to burn for some time before breaking out and activating the Fire Alarm system,” he said. “This would account for the major fire condition on arrival even though the building had a working fire alarm system. Also, there were no sprinklers within the structure. The fire remains under investigation for a definitive cause that will be reported upon completion.”

There were no civilian injuries, but one firefighter was injured.

On Sunday evening, at 11:40 p.m. Chelsea Fire Alarm received an alarm of fire from Box 1134 for the Pollo Campero restaurant located at 115 Park St. First arriving companies from Chelsea E2 and L1 under the command of Capt. Phil Rogers reported heavy smoke showing on arrival from the rear of the building. C4 Deputy Wayne Ulwick arrived on scene assuming command and immediately ordered the Working Fire. Due to the heavy smoke and reports of heavy fire within the interior of the building, a Second Alarm was requested bringing companies from Revere, Everett, Boston and MassPort to the scene. Crews were ordered out of the building several times due to conditions rapidly deteriorating from heavy fire conditions within the structure forcing firefighters to attack the fire with defensive operations using blitz guns, hand lines and ladder pipes

The fire was brought under control within an hour.

The Boston Sparks Club under the command of President Paul Boudreau responded to the scene supplying Re-Hab and refreshments for the firefighters. Chelsea Police also provided traffic and crowd control during fire. Crews from Medford and Boston provided mutual aid during the fire.

Chief Albanese said it was a defensive fight for firefighters because the structure was too far along to be saved. Nevertheless, owners are determined to rebuild. “It was determined that the fire was well involved within the structure, and crews were ordered out of the building and proceeded with a defensive fire attack,” he said. “Given the time of day, a closed business and no reports of occupants, this was the safest course of action given that very early on it was apparent that this building could not be saved. Members of Fire Prevention are working with the ownership, who reported to us that they intend to rebuild as soon as possible.”

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City Manager Gets New, Five-Year Contract

City Manager Gets New, Five-Year Contract

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino got a new five-year contract and a healthy serving of praise from the City Council Monday night.

The council approved the contract with a 10-0 vote. Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda was not present at Monday night’s meeting.

Ambrosino gets a three percent raise with the new deal, from $184,913 annually to $189,945.

Council President Damali Vidot said a sub-committee made up of Councilors Luis Tejada, Giovanni Recupero and Yamir Rodriguez had been evaluating Ambrosino for several months, and agreed that he has done a good job and should be invited back.

“He’s done a great job and he wanted to go five years instead of four years so he would be closer to retirement age at the end of this contract,” she said. “I think he deserved it. I felt he earned five years. He got a really good evaluation and people are very pleased with his performance.”

Vidot said the evaluation showed councilors and the public felt he was a little too hands-off on his management of departments, and wanted to see him be a little more hands-on with them. For Vidot, she said one of his strengths has been treating the City Council with great respect.

“He has really given the City Council the respect it deserves,” she said. “I didn’t see that in the previous administration. Chelsea seems to really be coming together. There seems to be so much more interest in social and civic issues and more unity overall.”

On Monday night, the praises continued at the Council meeting before they voted to extend the contract five more years.

“The city manager has done a great job,” said District 8 Councilor Calvin T. Brown. “He’s committed, a creative thinker, and a very approachable city manager.”

Several councilors commented on Ambrosino’s responsiveness to residents’ concerns.

“Whenever I have had a problem in my district and brought it to his attention, the city manager has been very responsive,” said District 1 Councilor Robert Bishop.

District 5 Councilor Judith Garcia said Ambrosino has been an incredible asset and resource for the community.

“He has invested a lot in the community, and I hear it from my constituents a lot,” said Garcia.

In addition to the three percent pay raise, Ambrosino will get an additional $500 per year for travel, and the former Revere mayor’s new contract will be for five years, compared to his current four-year contract.

“I’m very pleased and very grateful to the city council for giving me a vote of confidence,” Ambrosino said following Monday night’s meeting. “I will do everything I can to continue to make them proud of my work.”

Ambrosino has said since last fall he would like to be asked to return to Chelsea for another contract term. He said he feels like he has more work to do in the city, particularly with his downtown initiatives.

•In other Council news:

A resolution passed by the City Council Monday night recognized February as Black History Month and thanked the Lewis H. Latimer Society, Bunker Hill Community College, and the Chelsea Black Community “Remembering Black Migration, WWI, and the Chelsea Fire” for the contributions to the city.

The Council also recognized Feb. 21 as Dr. Maya Angelou Day in Chelsea.

•The council requested a meeting with Emergency Management Director Keith Vetreno to discuss 911 services.

•Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson requested that City Manager Tom Ambrosino update the council on all planned development in the city. •District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero requested a brighter streetlight on Charles Street, as well as a study for traffic on the Meridian Street Bridge. The brightness of the new LED streetlights has been a problem point for several years, as most of them are on the lowest setting to save money on power. Recupero has routinely asked the City to increase the brightness on the new LED lights.

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City Council Wants to Look at In-house Municipal Trash Collection

City Council Wants to Look at In-house Municipal Trash Collection

Rather than Russell Disposal, the trash and recycling trucks rumbling down city streets could one day say City of Chelsea.

While that possibility is a slight one at the moment, the City Council is asking City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to look into the costs of the City owning its own trash trucks and picking up its own trash. Currently, the City has a contract with Russell Disposal, Inc. of Somerville.

More than half the sitting councilors had their name attached to the order that was introduced at Monday night’s meeting: President Damali Vidot, District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero, District 1 Councilor Robert Bishop, District 4 Councilor Enio Lopez, District 3 Councilor Joe Perlatonda, and District 2 Councilor Luis Tejada.

Lopez said he does not believe Russell is doing a good enough job with trash removal, sometimes leaving trash behind and picking up recycling on a haphazard schedule.

“They are being paid big bucks and they are not doing it,” Lopez said. “For the amount of money we are paying, we can get a few trucks and hire people from the city of Chelsea.”

Bishop said he has heard no complaints from his district about trash collection, but did support having Ambrosino look at the numbers.

“If this saves money, I’m interested in what (the city manager) has to say,” said Bishop. “The whole idea is to see if we can save money.”

In some procedural wrangling, Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson made a motion to move the issue into conference committee.

“I feel like we keep putting things out there and we have no idea what the costs will be,” said Robinson. The councilor, who said his family has a long history in the waste management business, said a single trash truck could cost over a quarter of a million dollars, along with additional costs to retrofit the trucks to collect trash barrels in Chelsea.

“If we make the move to go pick up our own trash, there is a lot involved,” Robinson said. “I don’t have a number in front of me, but it could cost $3 million to $3.5 million per year.”

Recupero said there was no need to put the issue into council committee at this time, since the request was to have Ambrosino get more information and numbers on municipal waste collection.

“If he tells us it’s not feasible, then it can’t be done,” he said. “If it is feasible, then we can send it to committee.”

Perlatonda estimated that the costs could be even higher than those estimated by Robinson.

While Cambridge has more than double the population of Chelsea, he said annual costs of municipal collection there are about $12 million.

“I don’t think it is going to be feasible to find (an option) cheaper than Russell,” he said. The vote to move the issue to committee failed, with Robinson, Perlatonda, and District 7 Councilor Yamir Rodriguez on the short end of the vote. The request will now go to Ambrosino for his review.

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Chelsea Transportation Task Force Inaugural Meeting: Driving the Discussion

Chelsea Transportation Task Force Inaugural Meeting: Driving the Discussion

The people of Chelsea are demanding increased frequency on the Silver Line, more reliability, and additional bus connections from the MBTA. Over the next two years there will be three major construction projects in Chelsea that will adversely impact bus traffic, and City leaders and residents are concerned that the already poor services will worsen.

“There have been big shifts in population and ridership, and the bus routes have stayed largely the same,” admitted Steve Poftak, the newly appointed MBTA General Manager. “The T is playing catch-up.”

On January 24, Poftak sat with locals and members of the City Council during the first inaugural Chelsea Transportation Task Force meeting at City Hall. The goal of the committee is to gather once a month for six months of interactive discussions with the community and Poftak to develop solutions.

“For a lot of us who live on both of the hills, buses are the only means of transportation,” commented a Bellingham Square resident. “Every year or two, they threaten to cut off both of the hills. That would leave us totally stranded, and I’m not having it.”

Many aren’t content with the massive traffic that builds with the 20 minute rising and 20 minute lowering of the Chelsea Street bridge, which slows bus travel. The MBTA noted that active discussions with the Coast Guard regarding the creation of a period of time during peak hours of commuting when the bridge does not open have been hindered by the government shutdown.

“We have limited control over the bridge. Maybe we could have some predictability with windows when we know the bridge will be active and when we know it won’t,” said Poftak.

The Better Bus Project is investigating the quality of the current bus network and working on cost-neutral proposals that will result in more frequent services for customers. Researchers have been speaking with riders to learn more about where people’s trips begin and end, the economic demographics of the area, and where jobs are located.

“We are advocating for fair mitigation,” expressed Council President Damali Vidot. “We’ve needed quality service for years and are working at a sub-par level. Chelsea was an afterthought in the Better Bus Project. We want to make sure we’re getting the service we deserve.”

The Better Bus Project has 47 proposals for changes in the MBTA bus system that will impact 63 out of the 180 routes in 35 of the 50 communities that are served. Proposals include removing bus routes with low ridership, and re-investing resources elsewhere.

The Transportation Task Force is suggesting more inspectors, less cancellations, and easier transfers between Chelsea and Lynn on the Commuter Rail.

“We are re-imagining the infrastructure on Broadway,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We will be presenting the City Council with alternatives that do away with two fast lanes to make travel safer. One idea is incorporating a dedicated bus lane.”

Gentrification has also forced many Chelsea residents to relocate to Lynn because of the high cost of rent. One Chelsea resident, who works in Lynn, voiced that it takes her up to two hours to commute from Lynn to Chelsea using public transportation. She commented that the only line that directly connects Chelsea to Everett is the 112 bus, and many avoid it due to the lifting of the bridge; and recommended that the 426 bus through Lynn could stop in Chelsea, as it already passes over the Tobin Bridge.

“In the overall bus network redesign, people on the north side of the city are particularly interested in going to Lynn and Malden,” Poftak concluded. Better Bus Project proposals will be available at www.MBTA.com with maps and data. The MBTA will also be providing riders with a warm place to view proposals at Haymarket Station, where they see the most response from Chelsea residents.

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Chelsea Community Honors Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At Annual Celebration: Robinson-Griggs Delivers the Keynote Address

Chelsea Community Honors Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At Annual Celebration: Robinson-Griggs Delivers the Keynote Address

Keynote speaker Lucia Robinson-Griggs receives a standing ovation for her speech from the audience, including her parents, Linda Alioto-Robinson and Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, and City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The People’s A.M.E. Church, led by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Whitley, and the Chelsea community honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the annual breakfast and awards ceremony Jan. 21 at Chelsea High School.

The Rev. Whitley and the Planning Committee put together another impressive tribute to the late Dr. King, the civil rights leader who dedicated his life to promoting unity and delivered one of American history’s greatest speeches, “I Have A Dream,” on Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino, State Rep. Dan Ryan, Council President Damali Vidot, Councillors Leo Robinson, Joseph Perlatonda, and Enio Lopez, School Committee Chair Richard Maronski and member Yessenia Alfaro, CBC President Joan Cromwell, Latimer Society Co-Director Ronald Robinson, and Roca Executive Director Molly Baldwin led a slate of dignitaries in attendance at the tribute that featured, singing, dancing, awards, and inspirational speeches.

The Chelsea Hub, a network led by the Chelsea Police Department and comprised of 27 different agencies, received the prestigious Spirit Award in recognition of its ongoing efforts to help people facing difficult challenges. Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, Capt. David Batchelor, Officer Sammy Mojica, Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez, and Roca Assistant Director Jason Owens were among the award recipients.

The highlight of the program arrived when Lucia Robinson-Griggs stepped to the podium and delivered the keynote address.

Robinson-Griggs, who holds degrees from Bentley and Lesley and is a former high school and college scholar-athlete, rose to the occasion with a heartfelt and eloquent address to the people of Chelsea.

“I’d just like to start by saying thank you so much for inviting me to be here today to celebrate Chelsea while honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Robinson-Griggs, adding that she was honored to be the keynote speaker after receiving the Young Adult Dreamers and Achievers Award in 2018.

She noted the “I Have A Dream” and “We are all created equal” theme of the program, stating, ‘it’s incredible how relevant [Dr. King’s famous speech in 1963] still is here in 2019.”

She encouraged members of the audience to carry on Dr. King’s legacy “even when it isn’t easy to do so.” She said everyone should work for a better Chelsea in the years to come.

“So my words today are going to be a charge for the people in this auditorium to reach beyond this room and change the perspective,” said Griggs-Robinson.

She singled out the Chelsea High student choir (who performed at Gov. Baker’s inauguration), the Latimer Society (in encouraging careers in STEM), and the award recipients, The Chelsea Hub and others, as being positive influences in the city.

Briggs-Robinson cited her personal experiences as an associate head coach of the MIT women’s basketball team, relating how the coaching staff encourages its players to be “a part of the solution and be a builder, to find the good somewhere and work to help build up someone else.”

She said that people should be positive in their actions and in their interactions with others, that even a small act of kindness or an inspiring phrase or a compliment can have a profound effect on starting to change another person’s life.

“Kindness catches on,” said Robinson-Briggs. Strive to be someone’s builder every day. Be their bright spot and give hope that we can be the generation to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.”

Robinson-Briggs received a warm, standing ovation as she returned to her seat beside her parents, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Linda Alioto-Robinson, and City Manager Tom Ambrosino in the front row of the auditorium.

The Rev. Whitley concluded the impressive program by having all audience members join hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.”

And in an unsung but important gift to the community, CCCTV Executive Director Robert Bradley and Technical Director Ricky Velez videotaped the entire two-hour program and tribute to Dr. King, including Robinson-Griggs’ remarks, for broadcast on the local television station.

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Chelsea Council Gets Back to Business for 2019 Session

Chelsea Council Gets Back to Business for 2019 Session

The City Council got back to business Monday night with a special organizational meeting and then quickly taking care of the new year’s first agenda items.

As expected, the Council approved a second term for Damali Vidot as council president. District 2 Councillor Luis Tejada was voted in as vice president, and Yamir Rodriguez as the Council’s delegate to the School Committee.

“I want to thank all my colleague’s for entrusting me with one more year as president,” said Vidot. She is the first female councillor to serve two back-to-back terms as council president.

Vidot said she is looking forward to a year of unity and respect on the council.

In other business, the Council unanimously approved funding for new contracts for the City’s two police unions.

The contracts include a retroactive salary increase of 2.5 percent for FY17 and 3 percent for FY18 and FY19. There is also a 3 percent increase slated for FY20 and an additional 1 percent increase that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The contract also implements residency requirements for all new hires for the Police Department.

Later in the meeting, the Council also approved an amended residency ordinance for all police, fire, and civil service employees.

The ordinance requires that all personnel who live in Chelsea at the time of the hire must maintain residency for five years from the date of hire. Personnel who do not live in the city at the time of hire have six months to relocate to Chelsea.

Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson cast the lone vote against the amended ordinance, using the example of a child who might have to look after sick parents as a possible reason an employee may not be able to relocate.

•During the public speaking portion of the meeting, some familiar guests dropped in to say thank you to the Council.

Several members of the Chelsea High senior class thanked the council for its recent vote to fund a turf field cover to the tune of $170,000 for the new high school field.

With the field cover, the senior class and subsequent classes will be able to hold outdoor graduations.

“We’ve put so much hard work into this, and everything that has happened has been amazing,” said Senior Class President Jocelyn Poste.

Poste and several other seniors presented the Council with a signed letter in appreciation for their efforts. They also asked the council for their signatures on a proclamation documenting the students’ and the Council’s efforts to work together to make the turf field cover a reality.

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Maronski Elected Chair Of School Committee

Maronski Elected Chair Of School Committee

The School Committee elected Richard Maronski as its new chair during its first meeting of 2019 at City Hall. Maronski, who has been a member of the committee for three-and-half years, succeeds Jeanette Velez, who held the position for the past three years.

“I’m honored to be selected by my colleagues to lead the School Committee in the coming year,” said Maronski. “I want to thank Jeannette for her leadership and the commitment he has shown to the students in Chelsea.”

The son of Ann Maronski and the late Charles Maronski, Richard is well known in the community. He was the Chelsea High star quarterback who led coach Bob Fee’s Red Devils to an amazing come-from-behind 34-26 victory over Everett in the 1980 Thanksgiving game. Maronski threw touchdown passes to Paul Driscoll to spark Chelsea’s rally from a 20-0 deficit. Some fans call it the greatest game in the long history of the Chelsea-Everett series that ended in 1989.

Several members of Richard’s family graduated from Chelsea High School, including several uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, in a time period that ranged from the 1930s to 1990s. His popular sister, Patricia Maronski Yee, was a CHS cheerleader and graduated in 1990. Richard graduated in 1982.

“I’m very proud of my family’s long history of attending Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. ‘Everyone received a good, solid all-around education and each has fond memories of their positive experiences in the Chelsea schools. In particular, my father loved Chelsea. He was there the day we beat Everett on Thanksgiving.”

Maronski also served as president of the Chelsea Youth Basketball League and coached two teams in the league. He was also the CHS freshman boys basketball coach.

A former Chelsea city councillor, Maronski has established his priorities for the new year.

“My first priority is to form a committee of Chelsea residents to help select a new school superintendent (Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque has announced that she will be retiring from the position),” said Maronski. “We are working with the Collins Center at UMass in the selection process.”

Maronski would also like to address the issue of Chelsea teachers leaving the school system for positions in other school districts.

“We have a high turnover in teachers in the Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. “I’d like to see more stability in our teaching positions.”

Maronski said the School Committee meets the first Thursday (7 p.m.) of every month. He welcomes parents to attend the meetings and speak during the public portion.

The School Committee elected Julio Hernandez as vice chair of the board.

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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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Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

This is an exemplary retrospective of the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Adam Tooze regales us with a depiction of the horrors that were unfurled during and after the crisis. the book is divided into four parts, each of which attends to different facets of the 10-year period following the financial disaster.

The author does a nice job of holding the reader’s interest. The book is filled with facts and figures pertinent to the monetary emergency, but Tooze does his best to make it accessible to the average reader.

The crisis originated in the United States when Lehman Brothers collapsed, but to quote Tooze: “ To view the crisis of 2008 as basically an American event was tempting,” but in fact the emergency spread all over the world, especially to the Eurozone, which experienced the brunt of the crisis around 2010 and 2011. Tooze divides the blame on liberals and  conservatives alike, although I got the feeling that he is/was a moderate left-winger.

In Europe the difficulties involved Ireland, Spain and most famously and harmfully Greece, which experienced economic turmoil after European authorities imposed austerity measures due to a terrible run on banks. European countries, especially Germany experienced great duress over the prospect of bailing out Greece.

In addition, the world was beset by what was viewed as populist political remedies, in particular the rise of Donald Trump in America and the Brexit vote in Britain. Tooze attributes most of the blame for these maladies to the shaky fiscal situation which arose from the crisis of 2008. The author lumps all these phenomena under the financial banner, and I am not sure they were all interrelated, but he does make an intersecting case for it all.

Tooze’s chapter on Trump elaborates on what the author believes to be the rise of a right wing demagogue, but he barely mentions the positive effect that Trump has had on the U.S. economy.

The crisis of 2008 was widely viewed by many to be the most unstable period since the Great Depression, which germinated in 1929 and lasted beyond the 1930s. During the latest crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and/or homes in the period from 2008 to 2015. President Obama who inherited the mess from the previous Bush Administration, did his best to contain the crisis, but the enormity of the instability was such that government intervention by itself could not contain the onslaught from the failing banks.

Adam Tooze is a gifted writer and his book on the fiscal disaster is filled with minutiae relevant to the duration of the financial difficulties.  I had never heard of Tooze before I read this book, but I will pay great heed to whatever he publishes in the future.

“Crashed” is an excellent read. The reader leaves it well informed on the niceties of finance. You, the reader will find it to be an excellent book. I recommend it heartily.

Bernie Kelly

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