A leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique was sentenced today in federal court in Boston.
Rafael Leoner Aguirre, a/k/a “Tremendo,” 22, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 19 years in prison and three years of supervised release, which he will begin serving after completion of the state prison sentence for which he is currently incarcerated. Leoner Aguirre will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his federal sentence. In November 2017, Leoner Aguirre was convicted by a federal jury after a multi-week trial of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
Leoner Aguirre was the leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique. In 2013, Leoner Aguirre entered the United States illegally from El Salvador and initially moved to Michigan. From there, he began recruiting and planning MS-13 activities impacting Massachusetts. Among other things, Leoner Aguirre created recruitment videos for MS-13 and posted them on YouTube. This enabled younger gang members and associates to view these videos, including one witness who testified that he first saw these videos while at a local high school in Massachusetts.
In March 2014, Leoner Aguirre moved to the Chelsea area and immediately began activating, organizing, and supervising the Enfermos clique. As part of that activity, Leoner Aguirre encouraged members of the clique to attack and kill rival gang members, in addition to committing other racketeering acts such as robberies. Leoner Aguirre himself committed a number of racketeering acts, including an attempted murder in Chelsea where Leoner Aguirre struck a victim in the head with a machete. Leoner Aguirre also committed an attempted murder involving a shooting, which is the incident for which he is currently serving a four-to-five year state prison sentence. Leoner Aguirre committed both of these attempted murders in daylight on busy public streets in Chelsea.
The other members and associates of the Enfermos clique were Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo;” Bryan Galicia Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky;” David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano;” Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” a/k/a “Sitiko;” Angel Pineda, a/k/a “Bravo;” and Kevin Ayala, a/k/a “Gallito.” Each of these defendants has pleaded guilty and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of their sentences.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief James Guido; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) said they would proceed as normal with plans for the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino, but described the situation as “awkward” and said that Wynn was moving forward with the project “at its own risk” – meaning that losing the Region A gaming license is a possibility.
The situation came at the MGC’s monthly meeting on March 29 in Boston, where Wynn appeared for their first quarterly update since CEO Steve Wynn resigned under sexual misconduct allegations in February. The dual nature of the program for Wynn – and the reason for the awkwardness – is that the MGC is running a no holds barred investigation into the company right now, while at the same time proceeding with matters as if nothing has happened.
It is the reason for the ‘at risk’ designation now given to the project.
Wynn Boston Harbor president Bob DeSalvio said they made the decision to proceed at their own risk and they are not worried about it at all.
“It doesn’t (worry us) whatsoever,” he said. “We certainly understand we are always under review with regards to licensing with the Gaming Commission. As far as the local workforce goes, we are moving forward – all systems go.”
He also explained that there are two investigations going on right now, the MGC one and one from the Wynn Board of Directors. He said they need to let both play out right now.
“The best thing we can do now is let those play out,” he said, noting that they won’t put any timelines on it. “They have significant work to do. They will be thorough.”
Further questioned by members of the media about Wynn’s suitability to hold a license in Massachusetts, DeSalvio said he believed they were suitable.
“We are an excellent gaming company operating at a very high level in Las Vegas and Macau. Next June, we’ll be operating in the Commonwealth,” he said. “Our 25,000 team members do an outstanding job every day…We feel we are very much suitable.”
MGC Chair Steve Crosby said Wynn has made the decision to proceed, and right now their license is still viable – but he said there are investigations that are ongoing.
“We’re simply awaiting the outcome; that’s where it now stands,” he said.
“There are two things happening here,” he continued. “This is the biggest single-phased development in the history of Massachusetts. It’s a $2.4 billion project in Everett. It’s critical for Everett and communities around it…From a workforce perspective, we need to remember this can hurt a lot of people’s lives and lots of money that’s been invested. In parallel, we have to do a thorough no holds barred investigation…We will bring the results of that forward and talk about it in front of everyone.”
He also stated the Wynn project is at its own risk.
“Wynn is making the decision to proceed,” he said. “There is an investigation going on and they will be doing this at their risk. That the decision they made and that’s fine with us.”
The discussion of being ‘at risk’ came at the outset of Thursday’s meeting, when MGC Executive Director Ed Bedrosian Jr. set the tone and addressed the awkwardness of the situation.
He said the investigation is ongoing and that he hopes they can have the results to the MGC by summer. He said that right now there are MGC investigators in Las Vegas making inquiries.
“It’s an awkward situation, but the matter from now on must continue on parallel tracks,” he said.
“As a practical matter, Wynn Resorts is proceeding on the project on an at-risk basis,” he said.
Crosby chastises Wynn on sexual harassment
MGC Chair Steve Crosby had a word of warning for the Wynn group during and after the meeting on Thursday as the company discussed hiring and employee matters, but skirted by any discussion of sexual harassment training.
“To not bring attention to sexual harassment and women in the workplace during that discussion seemed to be a fairly substantial missing piece for the protection of employees,” he said. “It seemed to be a pretty big missing piece, particularly for people from Wynn Resorts.”
The discussion came during the report on employment, diversity employment goals and the new employment practices being put in place in preparation for a “mass hire” in early 2019.
Wynn officials said they are in the process of modifying their policies and will report back soon.
New commissioner to come soon
Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald has left the MGC as a commissioner, and Attorney General Maura Healey has appointed Eileen O’Brien to the vacant post.
O’Brien will begin her seating on the MGC this week.
O’Brien, a Newton resident, served in various positions within the Special Investigations and Narcotics Division at the AG’s Office, including chief of the division from April 2004 to July 2008.
The Chelsea Public Schools has hit a major shortfall in its budgeting for next year, and reported at recent meeting that it is in deficit $3.1 million, and has been underfunded by as much as $17.2 million by the state funding formula.
It has now become a major call to action for the school community and for activists in Chelsea, including the Chelsea Collaborative – whose Director, Gladys Vega, called on the City Council to support joining a lawsuit against the state for underfunding schools.
That suit was filed by Brockton and Worcester last week due to what they believe is chronic underfunding of urban schools through the 1993 Education Reform School Budget Formula.
“This reimbursement problem in the formula needs to be solved and I think we need to address the formula and I urge the City and the City Council to join with Brockton on this lawsuit against the state,” said Vega at Monday’s Council meeting.
She was right on the same page with Supt. Mary Bourque, who on Monday morning said they are seriously considering making that move.
“We have not officially joined, but we are seriously exploring the need to join this lawsuit,” she said.
By the numbers, the state Chapter 70 School Budget has underfunded the Chelsea Schools in five categories, according to the schools. One of the key pieces comes from the new definition of economically disadvantaged students (formerly low-income), which has caused an underfunding of $1.077 million in the coming year. Other areas included things where full reimbursements are promised, but only partially delivered – such as with Charter School reimbursements.
Those numbers include:
Fringe Benefits, $5.78 million
Charter School Reimbursement, $2.014 million
Special Education Tuition, $7.98 million
Homeless Student Transportation, $373,059
This came on the heels of a very lively and contentious meeting at City Hall by the School Committee on March 15, where the School Budget process was rolled out to a standing-room only crowd.
Bourque led off the meeting saying it is time to stand up for public education, and pressure legislators to take up the cause – a cause she said was the Civil Rights struggle of our time.
“Sadly, we find ourselves in a time and place where we are not willing as a society to invest in public education,” she said. “Each year I come to you with a budget that is failing each year to meet the complex needs of our students. Each year I come to you with a budget that fails to provide an equitable education compared to public school children in wealthier communities. Each year these educators…are being asked to do more with less and less. Providing our schools with the funding that’s needed to educate the next generation is the Civil Rights struggle of our time. I ask you: Will you join me in this Civil Rights struggle and our quest for social justice? We need to have the courage to standup now and today for public education.”
The Chelsea Teacher’s Union called for the same kind of advocacy, but also called on the City and the City Council to use its $34 million in Free Cash to shore up the School Budget.
“For the short term, the City of Chelsea has made some significant investment in the schools and we appreciate that. However, we need more,” said Sam Baker, vice president of the union. “The City has $34 million in Free Cash and the City is seeing significant real estate development. What is the purpose of all this this development and progress if the proceeds aren’t going to support the education of the kids in Chelsea? The CTU welcomes the opportunity to advocate for changes at the state level. That’s a long term solution. I’m asking the School Committee and the school community to lobby the City Council to release more funds to the School Department here in order to prevent the cuts to this proposed budget.”
Catherine Ellison, a special education teacher at the Browne Middle School, said many of her students have suffered because of budgets last year. She said last year the middle school Special Education budget was slashed, and after hearing of the impacts, the budget still wasn’t restored.
“Caseloads have soared while resources have severely declined,” she said. “Children have been forced to struggle in mainstream classes while funds were cut…Our staff and our students have been aggressive in addressing the increasing and complex needs of our brilliant, resilient and magnificent children. It’s time for the school district to do the same.”
Chelsea is not alone in the struggles, which is why the lawsuit is such a tempting option for urban schools like Chelsea.
Already, in Everett, mid-year cuts to the tune of $6 million were avoided by an infusion of cash by the City, and it is expected that the Everett Schools could need as much as $8 million to plug holes next year.
Revere has a similar circumstance and isn’t as far in its budgeting process as Chelsea and Everett, but it is expected they will have a sharp deficit as well.
A Tibetan social organization has purchased the former Irish Club on Clinton Street, and several City officials would like to know more about what the new club would like to do with the property.
The matter was first breeched by Councillor Leo Robinson last month at a Council meeting, when he said he had heard there was a new owner and they had an extensive membership.
Robinson was worried, in particular, about the nature of the Club’s activities and their parking plan – as the former Irish Club hadn’t seen a large membership in many years.
On Monday night, City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that the Tibetan Association of Boston had recently purchased the Irish Club property. He said the club has a permit for the use of the first floor only as a social club.
“That use will be allowed as a matter of right by the new owner,” he said. “I understand the new owner is currently working with ISD to secure the required occupancy permit for that permitted use.”
He said ISD recently conducted an inspection of the property and identified some violations that need to be corrected.
That said, the new owner has expressed to the City a desire to permit the basement for a social club as well. That could only be done by a Special Permit, requiring the new club to make a date with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for expanding a non-conforming use.
It might also require some parking relief too, Ambrosino said.
“Thus far, the owner has started the Special Permit application process, but it has not yet supplied ISD with all the necessary documentation for a full review,” he said.
Ambrosino told the Record that his understanding is the new club has a membership of around 200.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) on Wednesday, Jan. 31, held a special hearing into the allegations against Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn – a Massachusetts gaming licensee – and said they were not told of the 2005 private settlement, while at the same time urging fairness and speed in the investigation.
The one-hour hearing was unique in that it was one of about three government-level hearings now going on internationally, with others now underway in Nevada and Macau (China). Another is going on privately within the Wynn organizations by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors.
Chair Steve Crosby led off the meeting by saying that the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) would not rush to judgment or impugn anyone.
“Before we begin, I’d like to reiterate that we have a shared sense of urgency about this serious matter, but careful diligence must be a top priority,” he said. “The stakes are enormous and many lives are involved— from the lives of the women allegedly abused, to the lives of men and women in Everett now building the project, to the senior executives and board members of Wynn Resorts. We will get this right and we will get it right as quickly as we can.”
He finished the meeting by saying he wants a very open investigation so the people know what happened.
“The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what the hell happened here with no punches pulled,” he said. “Having to hold back things ifs something this Commissioner will not look favorably on.”
The MGC announced last Friday after the allegations surfaced that they would initiate an investigation in their IEB division. On Wednesday, the first volley of that investigation was launched.
Somewhat of a revelation was when IEB Director Karen Wells said Wynn Resorts or Steve Wynn never told anyone in 2013 about the $7.5 million settlement associated with the recent allegation of sexual harassment by a Wynn hotel manicurist in Las Vegas.
“I corroborated that information with counsel for Wynn Resorts who confirmed that there was in-fact a settlement and that it was not disclosed to investigators upon advice of counsel,” said Wells. “She also confirmed that the settlement itself was not part of any court action or litigation and that no lawsuit was filed at any time. There were no court documents filed that could have been identified in the course of the investigation. This was a private agreement and steps were taken to keep it from the public domain. The circumstances around this $7.5M settlement and the decision not to disclose it to investigators remain a critical element of this review.”
For the commissioners, there was a sense of seriousness, but also one of attentiveness. No one wanted to engage in something unfair to Wynn or anyone else.
“The single most important thing at this stage is to get control of the facts by figuring them out as quickly as possible,” said Commissioner Lloyd MacDonald. “I urge you to be scrupulously diligent and work with speed, thoroughness and objectivity. That will be key.”
Wells said she had no idea how long the investigation would take as they have just embarked on it.
“It’s hard to give a timeline because once you start conducting interviews, it could lead you in many different directions,” she said.
The Phantom Ventures strip club has re-applied for permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to open their controversial club where the old King Arthur’s Club stood previously.
“Based on a letter from Inspectional Services Director Michael McAteer dated Sept. 13, 2017, it is clear that Phantom Ventures would be operating a nude cabaret/sports bar as a permissible under the August 21, 2017 communication stating that adult entertainment for the purpose of this case is to be classified in the ‘theatres, concert halls, and cinemas’ category,” read the application.
That came after a meeting this year – which followed a Federal Court ruling declaring the City’s adult entertainment ordinance Unconstitutional – where the ZBA said any nude dancing application had to be fit under the theatre use.
So, now Phantom Ventures will be a theatre.
That said, the club also lacks the adequate amount of parking. They need 97 and have 66.
Phantom Ventures said they have a plan to use a lot nearby via a valet service. They will need a parking variance to accompany the Special Permit.
The ZBA will hear the special permit and variance at its Nov. 14 meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he couldn’t predict the actions of the ZBA, but he expects the board would likely deny the Special Permit. That, also likely, would trigger another appeal by the company.
In the end, the matter will likely land back in Federal Court with the same judge, who will end up making the decision.
Owners of Phantom Ventures have indicated they plan to invest a significant amount of money in the new club, making it a high class venue for sports and nude dancing entertainment.
After having voted down a two-hour parking proposal for Cary Square on the May 22 City Council meeting – yet not having enough votes to deny it according to the City Charter – the Council re-assembled on Tuesday night, May 30, to give it one more try.
And the result was the same, except this time the measure – championed by Pan Y Cafe owner Councillor Roy Avellaneda and some other business leaders in the Square – was defeated 7-2.
Those voting to keep the measure were Councillor Matt Frank and Dan Cortell. Councillor Avellaneda had recused himself from the proceedings due to his financial interest, and Councillor Recupero was absent again from the meeting.
Those voting to rescind the Traffic Commission’s two-hour parking plan – for eight total spots – in the Square were Councillors Damali Vidot, Luis Tejada, Enio Lopez, Judith Garcia, Leo Robinson, Yamir Rodriguez and Paul Murphy.
The matter was believed to be done and finished on May 22 after a heated meeting that drew scores of residents commenced, and a vote of 5-2 ended the matter.
However, the next day it was discovered that a Traffic Commission decision had to be overturned by a majority vote of the Council, meaning at least six votes were required. Councillor Rodriguez immediately filed reconsideration of the matter, and since there was a time limit to addressing the matter within 30 days, Council President Robinson called the Special Emergency Meeting for this Tuesday.
The rules were explained and both Frank and Cortell questioned if it was appropriate. After explaining all of the logistics, with everyone satisfied, the final vote took place.
The meeting lasted about 10 minutes.
The Tuesday meeting was just a continuation of two previous, heated meetings about the issue – as well as some heated Traffic Commission meetings earlier in the year.
On May 22, scores of residents and business owners flooded the Council Chambers, some to oppose the restrictions on the eight new two-hour parking signs and some to support them. Avellaneda first brought the idea to the Traffic Commission earlier this year and called for an expansive meter program. He argued that commuters were taking all of the parking in the Square in order to use the 111 bus, which prevented his business and others from using the parking for customers.
The Commission compromised and instituted the eight, two-hour spots on a trial basis through August.
However, many businesses and many members of the Cary Square Club were outraged by the development and called on the Council to use a little-known oversight power to reject the Cary Square parking program.
The Commission’s report was approved two weeks ago, but the Cary Square matter was pulled from the report and held over until Monday night.
“There was not an issue there and never has been an issue,” said Karen Moschella of Off Broadway Dance. “No one is parking in Cary Square and taking the bus in. Maybe further up on Washington Avenue, ok, but not here.”
Zaida Ismatul-Oliva, of Spruce Street, said she and her mother opposed the change.
“I find it problematic that we’re now trying to change two-hour parking for one or two businesses in the area when its always been parking for residents,” she said.
Dan Morales, of the Blue Frog Sports Bar in Cary Square, said he likes the idea.
“I’m in favor of the parking restrictions because I think it will help businesses,” he said. “I have personally seen people park and take the bus and take up spots for five or six hours. That limits the amount of business you can do.”
Michael Albano of Willard Street said it was time to make a change to liven up that business district.
“It seems to me the Parking Commission got it right,” he said. “I would like to make Cary Square a place people want to go and make vibrant and a place that businesses can flourish.”
But most councillors did not agree.
Councillor Rodriguez said it simply wasn’t the right time given the fact that the Clark Avenue School was under construction and taking up a lot of spaces temporarily.
Councillor Tejada, whose district is nearby, was also in agreement, saying that some 15 or more spaces are taken up at the Clark Avenue project, forcing residents to push parking into the Square.
“I’m not in favor of this because it’s just not the right timing,” Rodriguez said. “We have a lot of projects going on right now and it’s pushing the parking issue to other places. We need to wait until that is finished and we should solve the parking issue another way. Two hour parking is not the solution.”
Councillor Cortell, however, agreed with the issue. Living on Admiral’s Hill, he said he rarely visits Cary Square because it is too complicated to get to and park.
“I think the Parking and Traffic Commission got it right,” he said. “They did compromise. It was on a trial basis until August…The Traffic Commission meetings were well attended…They chose a compromise. I’m in favor of the compromise.”
In the end, the Council prevailed in rescinding the two-hour parking, and there was no apparent appeal effort or alternative plan being proposed.
The Chelsea Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met on Tuesday night, Aug. 9, for a full slate of proposals.
First and foremost, Chelsea developers Gerry Sneirson was approved to build a mixed-use project at the old Centro Latino headquarters – a key corner property in the Broadway business district.
The plan calls for one commercial unit in the basement and two on the first floor.
The first floor would also house parking for nine vehicles.
The second and third floors would have eight units each, for a total of 16 units.
The project would include building an addition to the rear of the building over the top of the existing parking lot.
In another matter, Steven McDonough was given a Special Permit to establish a small personal training gym at 311 Eastern Ave. He did not meet requirements for off-street parking.
Other matters reviewed were:
18 Parker St., Elba Rojas was approved for special permit and variances to convert a one family into a two-family home. It did to meeting minimum lot size and didn’t have required parking.
54 Palmer St., Raymond Lewis got a special permit to construct a driveway.
337 Third St., Third Street Realty Corp. was approved for a variance for dividing the lot and establishing two primary uses on a single lot and the company got a special permit for off-street parking requirements.
68 Pearl St., Sotiris Sotiropoulos received a special permit to covert a one family to a two-family.
214 Arlington St., Erik Rueda was given a special permit to change the use of storage space on his second floor to the use of a business office.
178 Chestnut St., Acquisitions Division LLC was continued for a special permit for a parking lot that does not meet minimum requirements.
37-39 Blossom St., Ana Melecio was continued for a special permit for construction of two carports.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied a large-scale development on the Forbes site in Mill Hill and approved a four-unit development on the old Parrotta’s Bar site at Williams Street during a meeting on Tuesday night.
With three agenda items cancelled, including TND’s French Club site, in order to wait for Planning Board hearings next week, the full agenda became much lighter – with Forbes going first.
Attorney Paul Feldman said there were no changes proposed to the development, that coming despite rampant displeasure with the project at a December ZBA meeting and a recommendation to deny by the Planning Board also.
“We are not proposing changes to the proposal that we shared at the last public hearing,” he said. “We believe after looking at the zoning ordinances that we meet the criteria…and ask you to approve the Special Permit.”
The plan by the Chinese company YIHE Forbes – which looked to spend in the ballpark of $500 million to make the project on the old Forbes Industrial site a reality – is very ambitious and has drawn attention since last summer when it was submitted due to the large number of units and the 27-story skyscraper that is the centerpiece of the project. There is also a major retail component, as well as open space and hotel operations. It would be phased over 11 years.
Councillor Matt Frank said neighbors are still against it and so is he.
“I believe the Board can go forward and deny it and make it go away now,” he said.
That’s just what the ZBA did, denying it by a 3-0 vote.
A second proposal for 73 Winnisimmet St. has been just as controversial, even though much smaller. The active waterfront neighborhood has been fighting developer Genevra Faber for months on the project – including a hearing in December that lasted more than an hour and grew very contentious at times.
On Tuesday, Attorney Nick Nardone announced that they were scaling down from the eight units previously proposed in what would be a brand new building. Instead, they will offer two commercial units on the ground level and four residential units on the top two floors – units that would be two-bedroom and around 1,300 sq. ft. Another change was to take the parking garage out of the plan and return to an open air parking lot. The new building would be just about the same footprint as the existing building, and there would be six parking spaces.
A roof deck was also moved to accommodate neighbors on the eastern side of the building.
“We do believe this is a good compromise between the neighbors and the developer and we hope the Board believe that as well,” Nardone said.
Said abutter Connie Medico, “This is an improvement but I would like to see the two commercial spaces with limited hours so you don’t have a 7-11 slide in there.”
The commercial spaces would require approval by the ZBA for most uses and are limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sardine said Faber envisions businesses locating there doing office-type work.
Several neighbors, though less emphatically, still did not like the project and went against it. That was mainly because of the parking situation. The project requires around 11 spaces and only six are provided.
Others didn’t like the integration with the developer, who they said has only recently changed the plans.
“In this long process, this is the first time I’ve seen any addressing of the concerns of the neighbors,” said Allison Shepherd. “It’s about time, but I still think it’s too big.”
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a special permit for a planned development of 692 apartment units in two high-rise buildings on Everett Avenue across from the high school during its meeting on Tuesday night, Oct. 13.
The project has been kicking around City Hall at the Planning Board and ZBA for many months, with the Planning Board just recently issuing a positive recommendation for a Special Permit without any conditions at a meeting early this month.
The project was approved at the ZBA on Tuesday with several conditions, though they weren’t immediately available.
Council President Leo Robinson has been a vocal critic of the project since its inception, concerned about the demolition of the old Chelsea Clock building and a number of other things.
In a letter to the ZBA on Tuesday, Robinson issued his opposition.
“I know the Planning Board moved this project onto the Zoning Board with no conditions,” he wrote. “I disagree with that conclusion by the Planning Board. I understand that something will be built, but I think we can get a better design. The proposed number o units is 692, which would be located in two buildings across from Chelsea High School, along with 2,500 sq. ft. of retail space and a 726-vehicle parking garage. It may improve the area, but it raises other concerns.”
Robinson listed eight concerns, including parking, an updated traffic study, lack of affordability, flooding issues on Vale Street, no job creation, no public spaces and no clear benefits spelled out of the City.
The Board did approve the Special Permit after deliberation, but the project still has a major hurdle to clear with Site Plan Review at the Planning Board. While the Board did give a special permit recommendation, it declined to issue the Site Plan approval – a much more involved process – until more information had been gathered.
In a Special Meeting last month of the Planning Board to address the project, many members voiced extreme frustration with the amounts of late information that had been submitted with little time for review.
The Planning Board will hear the Site Plan Review at its Oct. 27 meeting.
In other ZBA news:
A controversial project by Genevra Faber at 73 Winnisimmet St. for an eight-unit residential building was continued until Nov. 10.
A special permit was granted to Shadi Alallam for a furniture showroom with accessory storage requiring parking at 157 Clark Ave.
The ZBA granted a special permit to allow Omar Mohammed to construct a driveway that does not meet zoning regulations at 15 County Rd.
Rod Rivera was approved for a special permit and variance at 75 Congress Ave.
The ZBA granted a special permit to Moises Amaya to change an appliance repair store at 12 Essex St. to a convenience store and laundromat.
The DeNunzio Group received another three-year permit to store up to 646 rental vehicles at 245-257 Marginal St. as part of the Enterprise and Avis Car Rental operations. The previous three-year permit was about to expire.
Carol Brown continued her special permit and variance request to construction a rear addition to 34 Beacon St. #1. The matter will be heard on Nov. 10.