Police Briefs 06-13-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian


Missing Child Reunited with Parents

On June 4, Chelsea Police reunited a missing 10-year-old Chelsea girl with her parents on after the Kelly school student told officers she fell asleep on the MBTA bus she takes home from school. The juvenile told officers she ended up at the Maverick Square MBTA station where she became confused and proceeded onto another MBTA bus that she was unfamiliar with. At some point, she left the bus in the area of North Shore Road in Revere where she began to walk on the busy road. During this time, the parents responded to the police station to report their daughter missing. Officers used the young girl’s cell phone to “ping” her location in Revere. While Chelsea, Transit and Revere Police were searching the area the young girl was located by an MBTA bus driver who transported her to the Wonderland “T” Station in Revere. She was then reunited back with her parents at Chelsea Police Headquarters. Chelsea officers are working with the parents and the school in addressing future transportation options for the young girl who was unharmed in the incident.

Struggle Without a Shirt

On May 27, at 1:20 a.m., officers responded to the area 176 Clark Ave. for a report of a disturbance. The report to officers was that witnesses were reporting they saw a male who appeared drunk, with no t-shirt on, fighting with a female who was preventing him from getting into the home. Officers struggled with the male in attempting to calm him down. After a struggle to restrain him, he was placed into custody. The male was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation prior to being booked at CPD.

Eber Orantes, 33, of 176 Clark Ave., was charged with disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest.

Threated With Strange Weapon

On May 30, at 9:20 p.m., officers responded in the area of Normandy Road at Garfield Avenue for a report of a road rage incident involving a firearm. Officers were given the description of the vehicle in question. It was said to be a black Honda Accord operating on Normandy Road. CPD officers located the vehicle and found the subject to have a modified instrument that resembled a firearm. The victim in the other vehicle provided other information that led to the male being arrested.

Tanvir Zahir, 21, of Stoneham, was charged with violating the motor vehicle ordinance, violating the dangerous weapons ordinance, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swallowed Bag of Crack

On May 31, at 9:30 a.m., Officers observed a male party known to them from previous drug offenses walking with an unknown male on Chestnut Street near Fourth Street. The officers believed they then witnessed a drug transaction between the two. The subject admitted he swallowed a bag of “crack “ when he was approached by the officers. A search of his person uncovered more drugs and he was placed under arrest. The second male was identified and placed under arrest on the scene. The subject who ingested the narcotics was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation.

Argenis Felipe, 33, of East Boston, was charged with possession to distribute a Class B drug (crack), conspiracy, and distribution of a Class B drug.

Box Cutter

On May 31, at 11 a.m., officers were dispatched to the parking lot of 260 Clark Ave. for a fight in progress. Officers observed two tenants of the building in an argument. One tenant accused the second of threatening him with a box cutter. That item was retrieved and that male was taken into custody.

Jody Robinson, 59, of 260 Clark Ave., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swerved at Pedestrian

On June 1, at 9:10 a.m., an off-duty CPD officer was traveling on Hawthorne Street towards Chester Avenue when he saw a male party crossing the street. The officer noticed a Toyota Corolla laying on his horn and then began to intentionally drive towards the male party that was crossing the road. The victim had to jump four to six feet to his rear to avoid being struck by the vehicle.

The officer believed the operator swerved in his direction deliberately trying to strike the victim, which could have resulted in serious injuries. CPD officers responded to assist and the male operator was placed in custody for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Eduardo Garcia, 35, of East Boston, was charged with failing to slow, reckless operation, and assault with a dangerous weapon (car).

MS-13 Member Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

An MS-13 member was sentenced last week for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Nery Rodriguez Diaz, 19, a Salvadoran national who resided in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Diaz will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.

On May 22, 2018, Diaz and another MS-13 member, Elmer Alfaro Hercules, were arrested in possession of loaded firearms in Bremen Street Park in East Boston, a location where numerous MS-13 gang members have been observed and where gang-on-gang violence frequently occurs.

The investigation revealed that Diaz and Hercules each separately and unlawfully entered the United States in 2014 as unaccompanied minors. Both Diaz and Hercules were charged federally for being aliens in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Hercules previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Hercules will also be subject to deportation proceedings after the completion of his sentence.

Chelsea Gang Leader Sentenced to Over 15 years in Prison

A leader of the East Side Money Gang (ESMG) was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston on racketeering, drug trafficking and firearms trafficking charges.

Angel “Stackz” Mejia Zelaya, 24, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 188 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In January 2019, Mejia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, and one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.

Mejia was a leader in the ESMG, a violent, Chelsea-based street gang, which was responsible for various violent crimes, including multiple shootings, and drug distribution in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia, as well as other members and associates of the gang, were also actively involved in illegally selling firearms, including handguns and shotguns, in and around Chelsea.

Mejia participated in multiple, gang-related shootings.

On July 5, 2015, Mejia was involved in a shooting targeting a rival gang member on a public street in Chelsea, which did not result in the rival gang member being injured. On March 29, 2016, Mejia and his lieutenant, Josue “Superbad” Rodriguez, agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ESMG member, Brandon “Big Baby” Baez, so that Baez could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ESMG. On April 3, 2016, in Revere, Baez used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang as they sat in a vehicle. Both men were wounded, but not killed. Baez called Mejia immediately after the shooting to inform Mejia that Baez had just shot two men. Mejia further admitted to supplying other ESMG gang members with firearms, including a juvenile who then accidently shot another person.

While Mejia was the leader of the ESMG, the gang dealt substantial quantities of drugs, including cocaine and cocaine base (crack), in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia was responsible for the distribution of at least a kilogram of cocaine base. Mejia and his gang subordinates stored drugs at and distributed drugs from a residence on Tudor Street in Chelsea and another residence in the Chelsea area. The gang kept handguns at both locations to protect their drug operations, as well as for other gang activities.

The prosecution of Mejia arose out of an investigation of various street gangs, including the 18th Street Gang, ESMG and the Boylston Street Gang, which 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.

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Chelsea Night Market Inaugural Event Planned for June 8

How much awesomeness can be contained within Luther Place?

The people of Chelsea will soon find out as the first of a series of five monthly events takes place downtown on Saturday, June 8, with the launch of the Chelsea Night Market.

Presented by the City of Chelsea through its downtown initiative called Chelsea Prospers and local events production company Jukebox, the Chelsea Night Market is an ambitious undertaking for a hidden corner of the downtown that’s beginning to awaken.

Last year, GreenRoots took the lead in the block’s transformation by creating a colorful mural with Chelsea artist and one of the state’s top muralists Silvia López Chavez on the Chelsea Walk.

That pedestrian walkway provides the entrance to the next phase of the effort with activation of the space through the Chelsea Night Market.

Edwardo Chacon of Jukebox said, “Vendors are still being accepted for future markets and there’s always room for more artists and performers to join in. Our priority is to engage as much local talent as possible. We’re excited by all the energy growing around the market and the new connections we’re making. This is going to be epic.”

Here, in the large parking lot on Cherry Street behind the businesses on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets, event visitors every month will find the area transformed with activity and something new to discover on each visit.

More than a dozen booths will feature local businesses, artists, merchants and community groups. Merchandise includes both new, vintage, thrift and handcrafted items.

Jack’s Men’s Shop will highlight emerging brands for men’s fashion, while Allen’s Cut Rate features a selection of high-quality fragrances. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry by Beaded Inspiration and Sacred Soul Fire. Over at the booths for Dandelion District and High Energy Vintage there’s a variety of vintage items including old school video games, nicnacks and clothing.

At Jukebox’s booth, show off your local pride with swag that shouts your love of all things 02150. Among the offerings are T-shirts and totes emblazoned with Chelsea. All proceeds are dedicated to supporting the next projects to improve Luther Place.

A variety of other tents will feature community groups and artists.

Test your aim with Archery Games Boston, show off what you’re proud of with the Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, and play around with the team from the Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea.

Several local restaurants are on board with menus of street food as well.

Get a sandwich hot off the grill from the chefs of Broadway House of Pizza, nibble savory Chinese food from Chung Wah, or sink your teeth into an empanada from Pan y Café.

On the main stage a variety of performers will entertain the crowd.

MC for the night is comedian and actor Chase Abel. Host of the podcast “Ready Set Blow” with Randy V, he’s a regular at Boston’s top clubs.

Among them is a band headed by Bengisu and Tuzcu.

It’s impossible to describe their mix of Turkish-funk-rock, but it will definitely get a groove going.

DJ Tempo Sauve’s upbeat house electronica is gathering a strong following, and he’ll keep the energy going throughout the night. There’s a rumor some comedians from the recent show at Tu Casa may stop by too.

The performance highlight, however, undoubtedly will be the crew from the Boston Circus Guild. They’ll be roaming among the crowd to show off their amazing skills and costumes and then at 9:30 p.m., will take the stage for a 20-minute fire performance that will top off the night.

Serving as a backdrop to the main stage and to provide a tangible reminder of the market through the summer, the wall of 456 Broadway will serve as space for temporary mini murals with new designs appearing each month by local artists.

The Chelsea Night Market team is grateful for the support of the Chelsea Record as a media sponsor helping them to spread the word about the upcoming event and to highlight the new happenings of downtown Chelsea.

For additional information check out the Chelsea Night Market’s website at www.chelseanightmarket.com, the facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/529915294079626/ or contact at Mimi Graney, at mgraney@chelseama.gov

Future dates include:

•July 13 (raindate 7/20)

•August 10 (raindate 8/17)

•September 21 (raindate 9/28)

•October 5 (raindate 10/12)

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 301 · Chelsea, MA 02150

Phone: 617.555.1708 · Fax: 617.658.6725 · Email: deptemail@chelseama.gov

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

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Chelsea Mensches The Jewish Journal Newspaper Honors Lubarsky, Medros at Awards Breakfast

The Jewish Journal newspaper honored members of its community who have made special contributions through their volunteer efforts and philanthrophy.

Jewish Journal Publisher Steve Rosenberg (second from left) congratulates Todd Levine, Adele Lubarsky, and Ed Medros on being named “Mensches” in recognition of their volunteer efforts and philanthropic work.

Adele Lubarsky, principal of the Hooks Elementary School, and Ed Medros, president of the Walnut Street Synagogue, were honored as Mensches at the breakfast held May 19 at Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody.

Lubarsky, a Chelsea High School graduate, thanked the Journal for the honor in her acceptance speech.

“And it is an honor as president of Temple Ner Tamid to host this event,” said Lubarsky. “In my mind there are few higher Jewish compliments to pay someone than to call them a mensch.

“A mensch is a person who can be relied on to act with honor and integrity. The Yiddish term means more than that: it also suggests someone who is kind and considerate. For me, the term mensch does not come easy.

“When I thought about my definition of mensch, I went to my favorite source: Google. Brigitte Nicole in “Lessons Learned in Life” provided me with the framework of what I consider I needed to do to be considered a mensch.

“Surround yourself with people who are kind, caring, who are growing and want to learn. People who don’t mind saying sorry or thank you and will ask you if you need anything. These people will keep you positive. To find these people is to be one,” said Lubarsky.

The popular school administrator added, “For me, this honor belongs to everyone in my family and Temple life who have supported me in the past and helped me become a mensch.”

Medros, who has done an outstanding job maintaining the history of the Walnut Street shul, also humbly accepted the prestigious award. “I am truly honored to be recognized as a mensch by the Jewish Journal and to walk in the same steps as all the other mensches here and everyone in attendance. I thank you very much. It is a labor of love for me to be president of the Walnut Street synagogue.”

Medros concluded his remarks by inviting guests to take a tour of the landmark Jewish house of worship.

Also honored was Todd Levine, whose family formerly owned Levine’s Meat Market on Central Avenue. Todd is now the proprietor of Levine’s Kosher Meat Market in Peabody.

The publisher of the Jewish Journal is Steve Rosenberg, whose family owned and operated Murray and Eddy’s Delicatessen on Broadway, Chelsea, for many years.

A former reporter for The Boston Globe, Rosenberg congratulated the honorees in an inspiring speech to begin the program. Rosenberg and a special committee of the Journal’s Board of Overseers, including Chairman Matthew Schwartz, Neil Donnefeld, Donna Lozow Pierce, and Susan Garnick, planned and organized the annual breakfast.

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Finally, Some Good News On the Environmental Front

Every few weeks — or even more often, it seems — we learn of some new, looming catastrophe for our planet because of the combined effects of climate change and the degradation of our environment by human activity.

Everyone agrees that the climate is changing, and that it will have far-reaching consequences that we only can imagine. So too, the activity by the seven billion persons with whom we share the earth is destroying the natural world at an unprecedented and ever-accelerating pace.

So it was with some degree of relief that we read the annual report by the organization Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, which informed us that our major metropolitan beaches never have been cleaner (in terms of water pollution) and safer for recreational swimming and other activity.

As lifelong residents of this area, we always are amazed that the beaches with the cleanest water every year are the M Street Beach and the City Point Beach in South Boston — go figure — but we’re sure there is a logical and scientific-based reason for why these two beaches have achieved ratings of 100-percent for the past six years.

However, almost all of our metropolitan beaches, from Nantasket Beach on the South Shore to Revere and Winthrop beaches on the north, improved their ratings in 2018 compared to their six-year running-average. Winthrop Beach, for example, attained a 100-percent rating in 2018 compared to a 97-percent rate for the previous five years.

There are many factors that contribute to a beach’s water quality. There are natural effects, most notably the amount of rainfall over the course of a season or over a short time period. The diligence of government agencies at the state and local levels in assuring that sewer connections are working as intended are a vital part of the equation.

We as individuals also play a key role in assuring that our water stays clean by making sure we don’t dispose of our trash and hazardous waste into our waterways, by using the pump-out services for our boats, and by picking-up after our dogs.

The clean and healthy beaches that we enjoy today are the product of three decades of hard work, effort, and great expense by officials and the residents of the Boston Metro area. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. We must commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes in the years ahead to ensure that our region’s greatest resource — our beautiful coastline — remains clean and useable both for ourselves and for generations to come. So we wish to thank Save the Harbor/Save the Bay for issuing their annual report card on the state of our beaches — and for giving us some good news, for a change, about our environment.

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Police Briefs 05-23-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian

No Identity

On May 11, at 6:50 p.m., a CPD officer observed a vehicle speeding on Eastern Avenue. The vehicle was pulled over and the operator refused to provide his identification to the officer. He was placed into custody after his repeated refusal to identify himself. He was later Identified and learned to not be properly licensed.

Bryan Nunez, 30, of 63 Shawmut St., was charged with refusing to identify himself, negligent operation, and unlicensed operation.

Breaking and Entering

On May 18, at 1 p.m., officers responded to an apartment at 77 Library St. for a report of a past breaking and entering to the residence. Upon arrival, Officers spoke with the reporting party who stated that an unknown male party had broken into their apartment and fled after her younger brother confronted the male and chased him out of the residence.

The victim was able to utilize her find my iPhone app that led the victim, and police, to a Shurtleff Street address. The victim identified the suspect, and he was placed under arrest.

Ariel Melendez, 42, of 61 Shurtleff St., was charged with breaking and entering in the day, and larceny from a building.

Driving under the Influence

On May 18, at 8:44 p.m., a CPD officer was dispatched to 92 Clinton St. for a report of a motor vehicle accident with no reported injuries. The officer observed two motor vehicles involved in a minor crash. As both were exchanging information, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol from one of the drivers. The officer formed the opinion that the operator was driving under the influence of alcohol and the driver was arrested on the scene.

Marvin Mancia, 39, of 109 Clinton St., was charged with OUI Liquor.

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Investigators Found a Culture of Secrecy, Failure to Follow Policies for Steve Wynn Complaints

Investigators Found a Culture of Secrecy, Failure to Follow Policies for Steve Wynn Complaints

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) unveiled its long-anticipated investigation of Wynn Resorts and Encore Boston Harbor and reported they found a company culture that did not follow policies when allegations were made against former CEO Steve Wynn, and also used extreme secrecy to hide allegations and settlements involving him in several cases.

That, however, was tempered also by a laundry list of changes that the company has made in the last 14 months, including ousting Steve Wynn and implementing a robust corporate governance structure.

“However,” said Karen Wells, MGC Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) director, “the past cannot be erased by these changes.”

That set the tone for the unveiling of what had been found over the last year by the IEB using thousands of pages of information, conducting hundreds of witness interviews, and traveling to six states to produce the report. That report had been held up with a lawsuit from Steve Wynn last November asserting attorney-client privilege, but that suit was recently settled and that allowed the unveiling to go forward Tuesday morning.

“In evaluating the IEB investigation, it showed a pattern of certain employees, including the Legal Division, disregarding policies when it came to allegations against Mr. Wynn,” she said. “It showed they made great efforts at secrecy so that it made it difficult if not impossible for gaming regulators to uncover these incidents.”

Earlier, she also said, “The investigation actually revealed a culture in the company where employees hesitated to report sexual misconduct allegations against Mr. Wynn. We found the company failed to safeguard the well-being and safety of its employees.”

At the outset of the investigation unveiling, Loretta Lillios, of the IEB, said what happened at the company mattered. She bookended the impending report with the idea that a gaming license is a privilege and not a right – noting that companies have to always keep proper policies and conduct in place or risk losing the license.

It was a warning that all things were on the table, including the loss of Encore’s license.

“The IEB’s investigation revealed the company’s adherence to these criteria has been called into question,” she said. “What happened at the company matters. It matters to the women who have been directly affected by the allegations of sexual misconduct. It matters to the workforce and employees here. It matters to the Commission. It matters to the people of Massachusetts… After all the evidence and testimony is presented, you will have ample information to apply the law and make a sound determination.”

Wells detailed for most of her presentation the allegations against Steve Wynn, using a timeline to go through the allegations and the response to them. She started in 2005 with the settlement paid to a manicurist at Wynn Las Vegas who claimed she had been raped by Steve Wynn and was now pregnant as a result of two such encounters. That allegation was detailed in the original Wall Street Journal article in January 2018 that opened the entire sexual misconduct situation.

A main issue, Wells said, was to not decide whether the allegations were true, but whether the company responded correctly and whether it should have divulged information to the MGC in 2013.

“The Commission is not evaluating whether the allegations are true or false, but it is evaluating the company’s response to the allegations,” she said. “A key question for the Commission to consider is whether the company’s failure to divulge derogatory information may have a role in suitability or the suitability of a qualifier…We now know in 2013 at least three Massachusetts qualifiers had knowledge of these allegations. They were Steve Wynn, Elaine Wynn and Kim Sinatra…A key question for the Commission is whether this relevant information should have been divulged on the front end rather than us having to investigate this now.”

The IEB also indicated that they tried to interview Steve Wynn several times, and he declined. However, he did release a statement that was read by Wells to the Commission.

“I had multiple sexual relationships during my tenure at Wynn Resorts and made no attempt to document them,” the statement read. “I do not believe any of the specific details of these relationships are material to the issues I understand are being reviewed by the special committee. I recognize some of the names obtained in the witness questions, but have no memory of ever meeting or having relationships with the women whose names are in your questions. I deny having any relationship that was not consensual. During the time I was employed by Wynn I was aware of a code of conduct and other policies. I was not however familiar with the details of those policies.”

Many of the key questions in the investigation included information garnered during discovery in the case of Elaine Wynn vs. Steve Wynn, as well as in a case known as the Okada case. Much of what was brought out in regard to the allegations and the response to them came from that case.

For Sinatra, who left the company in July 2018 with a multi-million dollar severance package, it became clear she knew of the allegations against Wynn during the 2013 suitability hearings. Yet, she did not divulge them, and the investigation seemed to suggest she wasn’t clear as to what she remembered knowing.

One such exchange involved an e-mail chain where a letter detailing a hostile working environment was described. That letter in that e-mail was up for dispute as to whether Sinatra read it, read all of it, or if she even really knew about it.

Much of her responses, according to the report, were that she didn’t recall a lot of information.

“I don’t recall if I knew in `14,” she had responded when asked if she knew the original 2005 case included a rape allegation of the manicurist.

Also in question was how the company responded after the Wall Street Journal article, including putting out an immediate statement of support letter for Steve Wynn to employees. That statement also included a reference to the article as being the latest strategy in Elaine Wynn’s legal case against the company.

Wells said that was put out before any investigation into the matter and without consideration to employees that may have been affected by Steve Wynn’s alleged behavior.

Wynn Communications Director Michael Weaver said he would not do that again if he were to do it over.

“Mr. Weaver stated to investigators that if he was to do it over again, he would do it differently,” Wells testified.

Maddox also told investigators that he simply believed Steve Wynn.

“As ridiculous as it looks now, we believed it,” Wells summarized. “We believed it. I know it’s tone deaf.”

The letter to employees went out with the input of Steve Wynn and others in the organization, but was under the signature of Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden – who indicated he was uncomfortable with the letter in his name but felt he had no choice in the matter.

That letter was followed up by what turned out to be an ill-advised Town Hall style employee meeting tour by Steve Wynn and other company officials. It had been reported in media accounts that employees at the Town Halls were asked to raise their hands if Steve Wynn had assaulted or abused them. That had not been confirmed before, but the IEB investigation revealed that Wynn Attorney Stacy Michaels told investigators that she was present and that did happen.

• • • •

The remainder of the first day of hearings focused on the new Board members and the new members of the corporate hierarchy.

The MGC listened to detailed presentations about each new Board member and each new employee. Each told the story of how they had been recruited – some by Matt Maddox – to serve on the Board in the aftermath of the crisis at the company.

All of them were being reviewed by the MGC for suitability, and if they were qualified to serve on the Board or work in their positions.

The testimony by Wynn attorneys was to begin on Wednesday, where they would present their case and ask questions regarding the IEB report.

• • • •

The MGC did remind everyone that there would be no vote at the end of the proceedings, nor would there be any sort of discussion of the report or testimony.

Instead, when all of the information had been gathered, the MGC would deliberate in private – with the option of asking for more or additional information.

At some point in the near future, they would issue their findings and their remedies – including the possibility of stripping the license – in a written report.

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Broadway Affordable Housing Project Back Before ZBA

Broadway Affordable Housing Project Back Before ZBA

A revised affordable housing development at the corner of Broadway and Clinton Street is back before City boards, and now it features fewer units with all at affordable rates.

Late last year, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) narrowly denied the 42 unit affordable- and market-rate residential development at 1001 Broadway (Midas site) in a vote that was based on creating more homeownership opportunities in the City. The project included nine units of market-rate housing and enhanced access to the Mill Creek waterfront.

The Suffolk County Land Court remanded the controversial Zoning Board affordable housing denial on Broadway back to the ZBA with a revised plan.

Monday night, the revised version of the development, a partnership between the Traggorth Companies and The Neighborhood Developers (TND), was back before the ZBA. The revised plan is an attempt to address the concerns of the board and neighbors, according to Dave Traggorth of the Traggorth Companies.

“Our goals have not changed,” said Traggorth. “It is to create affordable homes for Chelsea residents and to provide public access to Mill Creek.”

The major revisions to the proposed $15 million project include cutting the total number of units from 42 to 38, making all the units affordable, and eliminating the fifth story of the building that had been proposed for the Broadway side of the development.

The commercial space on the first floor in the initial proposal has also been eliminated.

“We have reviewed the plans based on the ZBA recommendations, and the commercial space will now be a community room,” Traggorth said.

The project needs special permits due to a slightly larger than allowed lot coverage, and for not meeting City parking requirements. The Broadway housing will have 42 parking spots, where 52 are required by the city.

Thirty one of those parking spaces will be available for the public to access Mill Creek from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, Traggorth said the developers will give the city $15,000 for intersection improvements in the area.

With the decrease in units and the elimination of the commercial space, TND Project Manager Steve Laferriere said there will be less of an impact on parking in traffic in the area than the initial proposal.

District 3 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda, who represents the area where the affordable housing will be built, said he is still opposed to the project, citing a burst of recent development in the city that will increase parking and traffic.

Perlatonda said the parking and traffic issues around Broadway and Clinton Street are already a nightmare for neighbors, and that the Traggorth/TND project will only make it worse. He said the City should take a look at other uses for the property, such as a new public library on Mill Creek.

But the majority of people who spoke during the public hearing said they supported the creation of sorely needed new affordable units in Chelsea, and praised the efforts TND has already made to create safe and modern affordable units in the city. A recent affordable housing lottery in the city saw more than 3,000 applicants for 34 units, with more than 1,200 of those applications coming from Chelsea residents.

“There is a clear need for affordable housing as rents continue to go up in the Chelsea area,” said resident Sandy Maynard.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he continues to support the TND/Traggorth partnership.

“The number one complaint I receive as City Manager from residents is the lack of affordable housing,” said Ambrosino.

Ambrosino said he understands the concerns about traffic and parking, but said the impacts of any project has to be weighed against the benefits, and that the benefits of affordable housing at Broadway and Clinton tip the scales in favor of the project.

While state law prohibits the developers from offering the affordable units to Chelsea residents only, the developers said they would work to make sure the maximum units allowable are for Chelsea residents. The Planning Board will take up the project at its March 26 meeting, and then it will come back to the ZBA at its April 9 meeting for a possible vote, according to ZBA Chair Janice Tatarka.

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Boston to Install Dedicated Bus Lane on North Washington Street, Helps 111 Riders

Boston to Install Dedicated Bus Lane on North Washington Street, Helps 111 Riders

In a move that could dramatically reduce the commute times for Chelsea 111 bus riders, the City of Boston announced they are planning on installing a dedicated bus lane on North Washington Street from Causeway to Haymarket – a key clogging point for riders heading into Haymarket from Chelsea.

It would be a move that would accommodate the 111 bus routes and two Charlestown bus routes, and Boston officials said the new lane could reduce travel times by as much as 25 percent.

“We are planning on building an exclusive bus lane on North Washington Street from the intersection at Causeway Street after the bridge to Haymarket,” said Vineet Gupta, director of planning at the Boston Transportation Department (BTD). “It would be a dedicated bus lane 24/7 on the inbound side. Right now, we’re working with the MBTA to install that bus lane.”

BTD Director Gina Fiandaca said they have been working closely with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the MBTA on the North Washington Street bus lane, and hope that they can get it done as early in 2019 as possible. She said that stretch of the bus route is often the most congested, and riders often find themselves waiting longer on the bus for the last leg than it would take them to walk.

“This inbound bus lane will have the opportunity to move along at a quicker pace than the rest of the traffic,” she said. “Another good part of this is in the future when the North Washington Street Bridge is completed, it will have a bus lane as well. That will provide a connection with this new lane to have one unbroken exclusive bus lane from Charlestown when the Bridge is done.”

In order to accomplish the new lane, the City will have to remove some metered parking spaces and a commercial parking space, but a large chunk of the stretch is a large bus stop and ‘no parking’ zones.

Gupta said they have no clear data yet on the time it could save commuters going inbound – though they will begin keeping that data very soon. However, in Roslindale where they installed a bus lane last year, commutes were shortened by 25 percent. The same data also presented itself in Everett two years ago when they put a dedicated bus lane on Broadway Everett.

The announcement was one of several made by Boston Mayor Walsh at the Greater Boston Municipal Research Bureau meeting on March 7. The North Washington Street bus lane would be the first one in effect 24 hours a day in Boston.

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City to Get Mitigation from MassDot for Viaduct Project

City to Get Mitigation from MassDot for Viaduct Project

The City might have to put up with traffic backups for nearly three years on the Chelsea Viaduct, but there will be a mitigation package for the City when the dust all settles.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have received a mitigation package to go along with the Viaduct project, which starts on April 1.

“We got what I thought was a reasonable mitigation package from MassDOT,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day it was reasonable.”

One of the major improvements will be two new, fully constructed public parking lots under the Tobin curves when the project is done.

Ambrosino said it will include 135 public parking spaces just a block from downtown Chelsea, something he hopes will help alleviate some of the parking crunch in the area.

There will also be parking constructed under the curves at Carter Street too.

One key piece of the puzzle that will remain as part of the package is the Arlington Street onramp by the Williams School. MassDOT had toyed with the idea of eliminating that ramp in early designs, but pushback from the community seemed to keep that idea at bay.

Other pieces of mitigation include:

•A robust snow fence for noise mitigation.

•Money for community engagement to inform everyone of the project over the three years.

•Repaving Fourth Street. •lighting improvements under the Bridge after the project is completed.

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Licensing Commission Disciplines Several Establishments

Licensing Commission Disciplines Several  Establishments

If one is looking to hit the local bars this Cinco de Mayo, the options are going to be a little more limited than usual.

At its March 7 meeting, the Licensing Commission disciplined two local restaurants for a variety of infractions that will result in them losing their liquor licenses for the Cinco de Mayo weekend on May 4 and 5. (The restaurant Cinco de Mayo in Chelsea was not disciplined or called to the Commission).

In addition to losing its liquor license for that weekend, the Commission voted to roll back Acapulco’s hours of operation indefinitely, forcing the Fifth Street establishment to close at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m.

The Acapulco punishment stems from an incident last November when a security worker at the restaurant struck a customer over the head with a police baton.

The Commission also enforced an hours rollback from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. – along with the weekend suspension – for Bar La Cueva at 802 Broadway. That punishment was enforced for an incident where several patrons were overserved, as well as for past concerns about noise and unruly patrons at the bar.

In addition, Commission member James Guido requested a hearing next month to consider revoking Bar La Cueva’s entertainment licenses.

The attorney for Acapulco said the issue at his client’s establishment is systemic of a larger issue in the city, where security at bars is handled by companies that act almost as paramilitary or law enforcement agencies.

Several commissioners agreed that there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed in the city with bar and liquor establishment security, but noted that Acapulco deserved a more forceful discipline than simply firing its current security contractor.

“You say security is a problem, but you’ve had the same company for a decade,” Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said.

The issues at Bar La Cueva seemed to extend beyond the recent incident where two people were overserved, as several commissioners noted that there have been noise and unruly patron complaints at the bar for years.

In a letter, one neighbor stated that the “karaoke singing by drunks is terribly loud and they overserve their patrons.”

John Dodge, the attorney representing the bar, said for the incident in question, his clients acted responsibly and asked the patrons who appeared to be intoxicated to leave.

But Bongiovanni noted that the bar has been a problem in the past, including racking up a 14-day liquor license suspension about two years ago.

“They have been a complete nuisance and annoyance to the neighborhood; you can roll your eyes all you want, counselor,” she said to Dodge.

Both the bars got off relatively easy compared to Fine Mart, a liquor and convenience store at 260 Broadway. The Commission suspended the store’s liquor license for a total of six weeks for three offenses, including an incident where an employee struck a woman who was intoxicated in the store, for selling nips after the enactment of the City’s nip ban, and for the sale of alcohol to a minor.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino, an ardent supporter of the City’s ban on 50 ml bottles of alcohol, said there needs to be consequences for businesses that violate the ordinance.

“The ban has been important in the city’s efforts to try to make Broadway a more attractive place to shop and dine,” Ambrosino said. “We’ve spent a lot of money to make it a better place. Having the nip ban in place is an important part of that. “(Fine Mart) has a prominent place in the corridor and has to comply with its license.”

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