The Chelsea Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a new apartment building project at 25 Eleanor St. on what is currently an industrial building with parking lot.
The approval came during the Nov. 14 meeting and the project is championed by Eleanor Street Associates LLC – headed up by Michael Massamino.
Currently the building houses 12 offices and two conference rooms and a parking lot. The new project will be a three-story building with 20 units and 28 ground floor parking spaces – 14 of them covered spaces. The building will house 10 units on the second floor and 10 units on the third floor. There will be no open space.
It was approved with standard conditions.
In other matters before the board.
24 Tudor Street: A neighbor spoke in opposition to the conversion into three units. The Board will continue the hearing on December 12.
145 Cottage Street: continued discussion on December 12.
67 Jefferson Ave: Approved.
73 Broadway: The owner wants to keep it two units and maximize the space. A neighbor from 62 Beacon St. spoke in favor of the work as good for the neighborhood.
94 Fourth Street: Patricia Simboli spoke on the project, calling it “highly challenged” because it’s a direct abutter of Dunkin Donuts. She referenced parking issues, and suggested renting spaces elsewhere. It was continued.
The upcoming Chelsea Viaduct state highway project may include plans to eliminate the 5th Street onramp next to the Williams School, and Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he wants answers about the plan.
Avellaneda said at the Nov. 20 Council meeting that he has learned that MassDOT is considering closing down the onramp, which he said is critical for making sure the downtown and Everett Avenue are not flooded with vehicle traffic at certain times of the day.
“There is a proposal by MassDOT to close the 5th Street onramp to the Tobin Bridge at Arlington Street adjacent to the MITC Building,” he said. “They are talking…about doing away with it and eliminating it. It jumps off the page to me. I am wondering what impact that will have to the other two off-ramps and what kind of drastic impact it will have on our downtown.”
The MITC (Massachusetts Information Technology Center) Building is a state-owned building that houses computer technology and electronic records for the state. It has several hundreds employees.
A spokesman for MassDOT would not confirm or deny that there is a plan to take away the on-ramp. He said the plans are still in design for the overall viaduct project, and a public process with members of the community is underway.
A meeting took place earlier this month in Chelsea to discuss the project, which will begin in 2016.
“The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is continuing to move forward with the design of the Chelsea Viaduct Rehabilitation Project and is committed to rehabilitating this important structure to ensure long term reliability throughout this area,” said the spokesman in a statement. “MassDOT has developed a comprehensive public participation plan that will engage local civic leaders and elected officials, area businesses and members of the community as well as commuters.”
The land where the onramp is located was actually taken by the Highway Department decades ago when the Tobin/Mystic Bridge was being constructed. That particular piece of land was the home to Union Park – a park that housed the Civil War statue now across the street from City Hall. The park was laid out in a “spoke” formation with all paths leading to the Civil War monument in the center. However, during the Bridge construction, it was part of a massive land-taking in Chelsea and was designated for highway use.
It’s on that basis where Avellaneda said he wants more information. He said he wants to know what the plan is for that land if the onramp is taken away. He said since it was taken by eminent domain for highway use, it should be returned to the City if it is no longer a highway use.
He said he has suspicions that the state just wants to use the land to create more parking for the MITC employees.
“Do they want to expand parking for the MITC?” he asked. “That land was taken by eminent domain for one purpose and that was for a highway. If the highway is no longer using it for a highway, that land should go back to the City. That land was taken away from Chelsea and should not go to the MITC for parking and for them to continue their spread. The plan for 5th Street needs to be found and any hidden agenda out there needs to be found.”
The Chelsea Viaduct is a structure which runs between the Tobin Bridge to where Route 1 crosses above County Road and the Viaduct carries traffic through the area known as the “Chelsea Curves.”
The Chelsea Viaduct is structurally deficient and in need of repair and rehabilitation in order to ensure the reliability of this important connection.
Working with the City of Chelsea, residents living near the Viaduct, roadway users, and other stakeholders, the project team is currently designing a plan for construction that minimizes and mitigates temporary construction impacts. MassDOT’s current schedule includes reaching the 25 percent design milestone before the end of this year, continuing design and related work throughout the winter, and then advertising the project to potential construction bidders in the spring of 2018.
When completed, the Viaduct Rehabilitation project will provide repairs to the structure’s supports and a new travel surface for vehicles traveling on it. Work on the viaduct will be coordinated with construction activities occurring as part of the separate Tobin Bridge Deck Rehabilitation Project.
Jane Gianatasio – a life-long Chelsea resident – has been a Salvation Army bellringer for 10 years, helping the local Salvation Army to raise money each holiday season. On Tuesday, she helped a contingent of bellringers to kick off the holiday season at the Market Basket.“My Kettle is always full,” she said.
When the holiday season hits, Chelsea’s Jane Gianatasio can be found in one obvious place – ringing a bell for the Salvation Army Kettle Drive.
For the past 10 years, the life-long Chelsea resident has been a bell-ringer for the organization, helping to raise money in their biggest fundraiser of the year.
One of the key places, she said, is the Market Basket, where bellringers are stationed at both doors.
“I do this for the kids,” she said. “I do it so they can have food and Christmas toys. That’s why I’ve been doing it so long. My kettle is always full. Even when my husband comes to pick me up at night, he sometimes sits here for a bit while I take a break, and even he can make $15 in a short period of time. I truly enjoy this time of year.”
The Salvation Army on Chestnut Street kicked off its efforts last weekend, but officially kicked them off with a small ceremony at Market Basket on Tuesday morning.
“The Kettle drive is very important because this is how we make money for our programming and 83 cents of every dollar we raise goes back to the community,” said Capt. Isael Gonzalez. “It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. We have 450 families signed up already for Christmas toys and we have 300 families signed up for Thanksgiving.”
Capt. Gonzalez said the goal this year is to raise $90,000 through Dec. 23 with the Kettles.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino joined the kick-off and put in his own donation to start things off.
Ambrosino said he fully supports the Salvation Army efforts and hoped that Chelsea residents would be generous this holiday season.
Capt. Gonzalez said they are still looking for volunteers to be bell ringers, and encouraged local organizations to volunteer for some time during the holidays.
On Nov. 5, at 3:15 p.m., a CPD officer, while parked across from the Chelsea Police Headquarters, was approached by a young male. The officer reported that the male seemed to be out of breath and in a panic.
He told the officer that he was riding his bicycle on Central Avenue by the cemetery and observed a truck drive past him four times, and each time the operator made comments to him that made him feel uncomfortable. The officer gave a description out to all Chelsea units to BOLO for a black Dodge Ram truck as reported by the young male. A short time later Chelsea officers observed the truck after it hit a vehicle near Chestnut and Fifth streets. Other Chelsea Units responded and stopped vehicle and placed operator under arrest. The vehicle was reported to be stolen out of Reading.
Michael Valentin, 17, of Revere, was charged with unlicensed operation, reckless operation, leaving the scene of property damage, and receiving a stolen vehicle.
STOLE CELL PHONE
On Nov. 5, at noon, a CPD officer on walking patrol in uniform observed from a distance of 100 feet a known female. The officer observed the female approach the victim, who was sitting against a wall by Cherry Street at Everett Avenue. The officer observed the female grab the victim with both hands and start to push him. The officer then observed female take a cell phone from victim. She was placed into custody on scene.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.
UNLICENSED LIVERY DRIVERS
On Nov. 6, at approximately 6 a.m., a traffic officer was monitoring the intersection of Crescent and Eastern avenues. At that location, the officer observed a vehicle take a right hand turn from Crescent Avenue onto Eastern Avenue without stopping. The operator was discovered to be unlicensed and was allegedly employed by Nunez Livery of East Boston.
The Traffic Division has been monitoring the practice of this livery company hiring unlicensed drivers. The operator was placed into custody and the vehicle was impounded.
Osmin Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, of 743 Broadway, was charged with unlicensed operation and failing to yield at an intersection.
HIGH COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION
The state’s highest court this month upheld a Suffolk Superior Court jury’s murder verdict in the 2006 homicide of Yolande Danestoir by her son.
The 33-page unanimous decision affirms the conviction of Norton Cartright for first-degree in his mother’s slaying inside the Reynolds Street home they once shared – where Cartright had continued to live in a crawlspace after being ordered to stay out of the residence. Evidence at trial established that Cartright beat her with a hammer, causing fatal injuries, after she found him inside the apartment.
Cartright’s primary argument on appeal was that his videotaped and audio-recorded admissions to State and Chelsea police detectives were not voluntary, that his prior motion to suppress should have been granted, and that his statement should not have gone before the jury. The high court disagreed.
“We conclude, as did the motion judge, that the defendant’s confession was voluntary, and therefore admissible,” the court wrote, noting that the detectives “pointed accurately at the evidence arrayed against him” and that their suggestion of possible mitigating circumstances “were within the bounds of acceptable interrogation methods.”
Cartright also argued that the detectives’ appeals to let the victim “rest in peace” in the “afterlife” by telling “the truth” were improper. The high court rejected this claim, as well, finding that they were not “calculated to exploit a particular psychological vulnerability of the defendant” and did not render his incriminating statements involuntary.
“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the religious references here were of a type that other courts have concluded were permissible,” the high court wrote. “Nothing indicates that police took advantage of, or knew of, the defendant’s personal religious beliefs, or of any special susceptibility he might have had to religious appeals.”
Juan Valle, 38, 127 Division St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Laura Fontanez, 52, 152 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.
Christopher Rivera, 25, 54 Maverick St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Alisha Cohen, 38, 36 Winthrop Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and disorderly conduct.
Alexandra Corn, 60, 49 Bromfield Rd., Somerville, was arrested for larceny over $250.
Carlos Sanchez Renderos, 29, 140 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Kevin Merrill, 37, 240 Albany St., Cambridge, was arrested on a warrant.
Marcio Mezabaca, 32, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, leaving scene of property damage, failure to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.
Jose Orozco Dias, 44, 73 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, 106 Mountain Ave., Revere, was arrested for unarmed robbery.
Pedro Mejia, 34, 1641 Shore Rd., Revere, Larceny over $250.
Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, 743 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, failure to yield at intersection.
Jenry Lopez-Alvarez, 29, 106 Webster Ave., Chelsea, waas arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Pena Aguilar Bonifacio, 48, address unknown, was arrested for trespassing.
Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 47, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.
Alexander Hubbard, 45, 14 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested on warrants.
Allan Tzalam Hernandez, 18, 48 Harvard St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
German Sanchez, 23A Philomena Ave., Revere, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Robert Daniels, 18, 73A Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
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.
On Nov. 3 at 1:10 p.m., a victim of a Hit and Run flagged down a CPD officer on a detail. The victim reported that he had been struck by the vehicle, which fled the scene located at 280 Second St. The suspect’s vehicle was located and the detail officer attempted to stop the vehicle with verbal commands from the roadway. The officer was forced to jump out of the way to avoid being struck as the operator continued to flee the scene at a high rate of speed. The operator was later stopped by other CPD units and the operator was placed into custody
Marcio Mezabaca, 32, of 220 Broadway, was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, leaving the scene of property damage, failing to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.
STOLE CELL PHONE
On Nov. 5, at noon, a female known to a CPD officer on patrol was observed in the company of a male in the area of Cherry Street and Everett Avenue. The officer observed from a distance the known female pushing the victim, and then grabbing his cellphone. Once she observed the officer, she fled the area. She was located a short distance away and placed into custody.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.
ROBBED WITH BALL BAT
On Oct. 26 at 5:59 p.m., an armed robbery was reported at the Corner Market, located at 803 Broadway. The victim clerk stated that an unknown male party wearing a ski mask entered the store, struck him with a wooden bat style object, and then made away with money, an unknown amount of $30 lottery tickets and cigarettes.
The victim was treated on scene by EMS for an abrasion sustained on his left arm. The suspect was described as a black male approximately 45-47 years old, 5’8” tall, wearing a black ski mask, black jacket, blue jeans, black shoes, and gloves.
Please contact CPD Detectives if you have information to report.
PROBLEM OUTSIDE RESTAURANT
On Nov. 1, at 6:19 p.m., a disturbance was reported outside Chung Wah Restaurant, located at 460 Broadway. Officers observed a female who appeared to be intoxicated displaying boisterous behavior and disturbing the flow of pedestrian and traffic. After further investigation, she was placed into custody for being disorderly
Alisha Cohen, 38, of 36 Winthrop Rd., was charged with being disorderly and possession of an alcoholic beverage.
On Oct. 29 at 10:32 a.m., a male subject was placed into custody after he had been observed breaking a window on the old Salvation Army Donation Center, located at 456 Broadway. The officer observed the male subject punch the window as a result of an apparent argument between him and an unknown female party. He was placed into custody for malicious destruction of property.
Andrew Babigumira, 31, homeless, was charged with wanton destruction.
STABBED FOR DEALING DRUGS
On Oct. 29, at 5:05 p.m., officers responded to a reported stabbing at 744 Broadway #2. A victim was located inside the apartment with minor lacerations to the hand. The victim stated that a dispute arose with his roommate over him dealing narcotics out of their apartment.
The suspect was found by CPD offices and placed under arrest.
An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member, known as “Superbad,” was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston for racketeering and drug trafficking charges.
Josue Rodriguez, a/k/a “SB,” a/k/a “Superbad,” 20, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2017, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.
Rodriguez is a member of the ES$G, a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ES$G uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses.
Rodriguez admitted that on July 5, 2015, he ambushed a rival gang member who was walking down the street, shooting at him with a semi-automatic pistol, but did not hit him. On March 29, 2016, Rodriguez and another ES$G member agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ES$G member so he could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ES$G.
On April 3, 2016, the third gang member used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang.
One of the targets was shot but not killed.
On May 26, 2016, Rodriguez attempted to hide the .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver used in a shooting, as well as spent and live shells, after another ES$G member/associate attempted to shoot a rival gang member.
The East Side Money Gang was also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (crack) and heroin.
Rodriguez conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute at least one kilogram of cocaine base. Rodriguez further admitted that he stored drugs at, and distributed drugs from, his home in Chelsea, and that the gang maintained at least one firearm at the location.
Rodriguez is one of 53 defendants indicted in June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges following an investigation into a network of street gangs that had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and to generate violence against rival gang members. According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.
During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.
Parking is at a crisis point according to many in Chelsea, and Councillor Enio Lopez said at Monday’s meeting that matters are only made worse by some who park multiple commercial/business vehicles on City streets where parking is scant.
The matter passed the Council and was reported to the City Manager and Parking Clerk for review and suggestions.
“A lot of times you will see three or four commercial vehicles from one house parked on the street,” he said. “I think you can only have one van or one truck, but I have seen some people that are parking four cars or vans on the streets for their businesses. They should pay for a parking lot to park their business vehicles. These spots are for people who live in the City and may be coming home from part-times at night and can’t find a spot.”
Councillor Matt Frank said Lopez had identified a large and growing problem in the City that makes parking much more difficult.
“This is a serious problem when you have a small side streets and you have four or five vans operating there and parking there and there is nowhere for residents to park,” he said. “A lot of people are running small businesses out of their homes. That’s great, but if you start bringing in 10 or 12 employees and then you park your vans on the street, that’s a problem.”
Councillor Giovanni Recupero agreed, saying he sees it a lot in his district.
“There’s a loophole based on the numbers of axles, the difference is between a commercial vehicle and a commercial plate,” he said. “The way it is now, they can park all day long. Maybe we can go back and change this so it doesn’t have that loophole. We have to revise the regulations to accommodate residents.”
Councillor Dan Cortell agreed, saying that making the distinction between commercial vehicles and commercial plates might be a problem. Perhaps, he said, both should be included in the regulations.
For at least three years, Councillor Giovanni Recupero has been pleading for a pedestrian crossing light on Marginal Street so as to make getting to the new PORT Park safe.
With tractor trailers and vehicles of all types flying down the thoroughfare, reaching the new park is very dangerous, especially for a child or a mother with a stroller.
For all those three years, he was told to find the money and maybe he could get it.
Well, he did, and last Monday night, Sept. 25, the crossing area was voted in by the City Council.
“This is one of the best things I have done,” he said. “I worked very hard for this. It took me three years. There was no funding, they said. Well, I found the funding. Now we have it.”
With the money he found, and a significant amount of extra funds allocated due to cost overruns, the signal is now designed and ready to be installed in the spring, hopefully in time for next summer.
Recupero identified $145,000 in funds from the Eastern Salt mitigation fund that came in 2007 as a result of adding the second salt pile. Part of that money went to the Highland Park Field, and some was left over.
Recupero said that’s the money he found.
However, earlier this month, City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that a major increase in the cost had occurred. The design and construction had gone from $145,000 to $402,000 due to the signal being far more expensive that estimated.
However, Ambrosino still supported it.
“Although this is a major change in scope, I still feel this signalization is a worthwhile effort,” he wrote. “If we want pedestrians to get safely to the park from the abutting neighborhoods, the new scope of work is essential.”
The additional funding of $257,000 was voted in by the Council Sept. 25 as well.
For Recupero, it’s a double celebration as on Monday his opponent, Kris Haight, withdrew from the Council race.
Haight, a public transportation advocate, said his work was too demanding to also give attention to a Council position.
“After great consideration, I have decided to bow out of the Chelsea City Councilor’s race,” he wrote in a statement. “I am dropping out for a number of reasons, but time and effort is the biggest one. My day job has become a bear, to the point where I am going non stop most of the day. I’m just exhausted when I get home, let alone have to get on my feet to canvass for a few hours to meet the voters.”
He said the demands of his job would not allow him to be an effective councillor, and if elected, that wouldn’t be fair to the residents.
He said he is no longer a candidate.
Recupero said he is running and hopes the voters notice the things he’s done, such as the pedestrian crossing signal, and believe he’s doing a good job for them at City Hall.
“It would be my honor and pleasure to continue representing the people of District 6 for another term,” he said. “I will try my hardest, and I hope they will help me get back to City Hall for another term.”