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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Police Briefs 02-28-2019

Police Briefs 02-28-2019

By Seth Daniel & Paul Koolloian

Blocking the Way

On Feb. 11, at 10:05 a.m., an officer on foot patrol in Bellingham Square observed a group blocking the foot traffic in front of 427 Broadway – forcing a family with a small child to walk onto the street. One male became agitated at the officer’s request to move and became load and disorderly while refusing to move. The officer with the assistance of other officers placed the male into custody after a brief struggle.

Michael Catino, 35, of East Boston, was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Crack Cocaine Bust

On Feb. 12 the Chelsea Police executed a search warrant at 90 Chestnut St. #3. The search warrant was the result of an investigation into a male subject for the distribution of crack cocaine from that address. During the course of the investigation, the CPD purchased narcotics from the address. The male subject was placed into custody.

John Venete, 33, of 90 Chestnut St., was charged with possession to distribute cocaine.

Squattin’ in the Cellar

On Feb. 15, officers were dispatched to 26-28 Spencer Ave. for the report of two unwanted individuals. The officers spoke to the landlord who led them to the basement of the property. Officer’s located two males in the basement. Next to the men was a handful of needles and drug paraphilia. One male was found to have illegal pills on his person. Both were arrested.

Jeff Bosquet, 36, of Everett; and Stephen Morgan, 30, of 55 Heard St., were both charged with trespassing and possession of a Class C drug.

Broke into Van

On Feb. 16, at 2:45 a.m., officers were on patrol in the area of the Bellingham Street Bridge by the Silver Line Overpass when they observed a motor vehicle in the middle of the road with its lights off, parked next to a van. As the officers approached the vehicle, two males and a female known to the officers exited the vehicle. The car had a broken rear window. The officers made contact with the owner who responded and told officers the window had no damage when he parked the car earlier. The victim also told officers that tools were also missing from the car. All three were placed under arrest.

Jeff Bosquet, 36, of Everett; David Kerns, 43, of Revere; and Jaclyn Doucette, 29, of Revere; were all charged with breaking and entering in the night for a felony and larceny/receiving stolen property under $1,200.

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Rep. Ryan Pleased with Assignments

Rep. Ryan Pleased with  Assignments

State Rep. Dan Ryan said this week he is pleased in what is considered a step up in becoming the vice chair of the Post Audit Oversight Committee – a powerful committee that runs investigations of government operations and actually has subpoena powers.

“I want to thank Speaker DeLeo for this appointment, and my House colleagues for voting to affirm his trust in me,” said Ryan. “I look forward to working with Chairman Linsky and other committee members in continuing to bring solid, cost-effective government programs to the electorate.”

Ryan said Post-Audit Oversight certainly isn’t a household name for most people in the Town, but said it has a unique mission and is a sought-after committee on Beacon Hill.
“The Post-Audit Oversight Committee is a select House committee that has a unique mission,” he said. “Members of the committee are tasked with ensuring that State agencies are abiding by legislative intent and the program initiatives put forth, by the legislature, through the budget process. When necessary, the committee will work with administrative agencies to propose corrective actions to best serve citizens of the Commonwealth.”

One of the most visible investigations conducted by the Committee came several years ago in the previous administration when the Department of Children and Families (DCF) came under fire for its handling and management of numerous cases involving children.

Ryan has also been assigned as a member of the Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery Committee, and as a member of the Transportation Committee.

•Just across the North Washington Street Bridge, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz came away with one of the biggest scores for the Boston delegation in getting assigned as chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee.

Rep. Ryan said that having such an important chair nearby will be very good for Charlestown as well as the North End. That will particularly be apparent with projects like the North Washington Street Bridge, which affects the North End as much as Charlestown.

Michlewitz told the Patriot-Bridge that he is humbled by the appointment, and that while he has to build consensus across the state, he will keep his district and Boston in the forefront.

“I am honored that Speaker DeLeo believes I can do the job,” he said. “The first order of business is creating and debating a $42.7 billion budget. A lot of work has been done in committee, but we have a short timeframe to get a lot done. The thing I was to stress is my district is my number one priority.”

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Appreciation – Remembering Joanne Tarason

Appreciation – Remembering Joanne Tarason

The city is mourning the loss of Joanne Tarason, a popular local business owner and highly respected community leader who touched the lives of many residents with her kindness and generosity.

Mrs. Tarason died on Tuesday. She was 77.

Joanne Tarason owned Coprico Printing (formerly Sir Speedy) at 40 Washington Ave., located across the street from Chelsea City Hall. She was also a long-time member of the Rotary Club and the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs. Tarason donated her services to many local organizations. Though she received numerous awards in appreciation of her generous contributions and volunteer services, she always deflected the praise to others and tried to stay out of the spotlight.

“Joanne helped out so many groups in a quiet and unassuming way,” said Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson. “She never sought recognition for her many kind deeds and generous assistance. Chelsea has a lot a great woman, community leader and friend.”

Councillor-at-Large Calvin Brown said Mrs. Tarason was “one of Chelsea’s unsung heroes.”

“Joanne did so much for so many and was admired by all,” said Brown. “It was always a pleasure to see her at local social events. We have lost a great friend to Chelsea.”

Mrs. Tarason was a goodwill ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, always lending her support at installation of officers dinners, community fundraisers, and the Chamber’s $10,000 Pot-O-Gold Dinners.

But her reign of kindness and premier platform of helpfulness was at her local business where residents would often stop in just to say hello. She was meticulous in her work and customers came from far and wide to have their printing jobs, large and small, done at her business.

Mrs. Tarason stayed ahead of the technological advances in the printing business, acquiring new skills and equipment to meet the requests of her large clientele.

The Chelsea City Council will pay tribute to Mrs. Tarason with a moment of silence at its Feb. 25 meeting.

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Bridge Operators Suspended After Couple Got Trapped on Chelsea Street Bridge

Bridge Operators Suspended After Couple Got Trapped on Chelsea Street Bridge

The operators working the vertical lift on the Chelsea Street Bridge Feb. 7 have been suspended at the behest of MassDOT after a couple in a vehicle got trapped on the bridge and lifted all the way to the top.

On Feb. 7, MassDOT said, a vehicle got caught between the safety gates on the deck of the bridge. Due to apparently not following procedures, the lift operators then lifted the bridge all the way to the top with the couple still on the deck in their car.

On Friday, Feb. 8, after learning of this incident, MassDOT directed the contractor responsible for operating the Chelsea Street Bridge to suspend until further notice the operators who were on duty on Thursday evening, Feb. 7.

“While fortunately no one was injured in this incident, the failure of operators to act according to safety procedures warranted their immediate suspension,” said a MassDOT spokesman.

MassDOT said it is unaware of any other instance of a vehicle being between the safety gates when the Chelsea Street Bridge has been raised and is continuing to investigate how this could have occurred on February 7.

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Suite Success Neecy Mechanical a Big Part of Second Street Hotel

Suite Success Neecy Mechanical a Big Part of Second Street Hotel

They are a fifth-generation Chelsea family that has been involved in every aspect of this city.

Bernice “Neecy” Dunn, current and reigning matriarch of the well-known Dunn family of Chelsea, just turned 91. Mrs. Dunn is not slowing down one bit. She is a regular volunteer at the Chelsea Soldiers Home, once again setting an example for a family that is intent on carrying on her legacy of giving and being a friend to all.

Jimmy Dunn, a son and a U.S. Navy veteran, is a dedicated business owner who founded Neecy Mechanical 32 years ago, proudly naming the company after his mother.

Jimmy grew the company from working out of his van to now working on one of the major projects in Chelsea, a new hotel springing up on Second Street.

The family recently gathered at the hotel construction site where they stood near the company sign, Neecy Mechanical Inc., Plumbing and Sprinkler. It was a celebration of sorts on a cold winter day, a nod to ernice “Neecy” Dunn for all she has meant to her family, and to Jimmy Dunn, a true American success story who has worked hard all his life, from his school days at Northeast Vocational where he specialized in sheet metal, to his service in the U.S. Navy as a catapult operator, to his decision to devote his mechanical knowledge to pursue a career in the plumbing trades.

“We all love the city of Chelsea and fell particularly proud to be able to live and work in this city,” said Nicole Dunn, the beautiful daughter of Jimmy Dunn who is the office manager at Neecy Mechanical.

Jesse Dunn, Derek Dunn, and Jessica Dunn also have positions at the company that does plumbing and sprinkler fittings.

Helping to build a hotel

Neecy Mechanical is beginning its work at the Second Street site, where a brand new 106-room Hampton Inn will join the other hotels in the city. The hotel is expected to be completed in 2020. It is one of Neecy’s biggest jobs to-date.

“We’re proud to be working on such a large project,” said Nicole Dunn, noting that Neecy previously worked on a 36-unit building in Boston and currently on a 19-unit building in East Boston.

And when it comes to hiring employee, Jimmy Dunn hasn’t forgotten his vocational school roots. He has brought on board several graduates of Northeast Regional to work at his company.

Honoring his mother

Once he founded his company, Jimmy Dunn made an immediate decision to name it in honor of his mother, Bernice.

“Growing up, my father and my mother owned a couple of pieces of property and they called it Neecy Realty,” recalled Jimmy. “It’s a very unique name so I said, ‘one day, I want to name my company after her and honor her by doing that.”

Jimmy said he can’t put a price on the love, support, and guidance he has received from his mother.

“Being so proud of my mother and my city, and having the opportunity to do a big job like the one at the hotel in my own city – going to the site on her 91st birthday, I thought that would be a great way to celebrate the milestone,” said Jimmy.

Dorothy Hamilton, Bernice’s friend and a lifelong Chelsea resident herself, took part in the photo opportunity on Second Street. Interestingly, Dorothy’s grandson, Richard Fallon, works at Neecy Mechanical.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, a cousin to the Dunn family, also braved the frigid conditions on that day to offer his birthday wishes to Bernice and his congratulations to Jimmy for building such an outstanding company.

“It’s just a great Chelsea family and Bernice is a great lady who symbolizes the goodness of what Chelsea is all about,” said Councillor Robinson.

Bernice Dunn has five sons and four daughters, 22 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. A son, Patrick Dunn, was an outstanding football player at Chelsea High and president of his class.

Memories of the old Chelsea

and a look ahead to the new

Jimmy Dunn has vivid memories of his days growing up in a home at 61 Crescent Ave., not far from the old Chelsea High School building.

He was a just a kid when the entire city almost burnt down in the Chelsea Fire in October, 1973.

“I remember being where the new train stop is, where the City Yard used to be, and looking at the bricks on the buildings on Arlington Street, and they were actually melting because the fire was so hot,” said Dunn. “The wind was crazy. The firefighters did a great job because it looked like the whole city was going to go up in flames. They say if the Williams School wasn’t there, the fire would have taken everything.”

Jimmy Dunn said the city made significant strides in development and stature under former City Manager Jay Ash.

“The city is moving in the right direction and I see a bright future under [City Manager] Tom Ambrosino,” said Jimmy.

Hard work pays off

at Neecy Mechanical

Nicole Dunn said any story about her father has to pay tribute to his incredible work ethic. Jimmy grew up working next to his father and raised his own family working next to him.

“When I think of my father, I have to touch on his work ethic, how hard he works, what a good leader he is, and how much he’s guided all of us,” said Nicole.

According to Jimmy Dunn, his mother Bernice’s family arrived here via Nova Scotia. His father Joseph’s family came here through Ellis Island.

“My father lived on Blossom Street and my mother lived on Albion Place,” said Jimmy. “They were married for 50 years.”

Bernice Dunn was a cafeteria worker in the city of Chelsea. Joseph Dunn worked in the boiler room for the Chelsea School Department.

Today Jimmy Dunn and his family are carrying on that legacy of hard work, dependability, loyalty, trustworthiness, and pride at Neecy Mechanical, a fitting tribute to Bernice “Neecy” Dunn, for whom this company is proudly named.

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New Senior Transportation Ready to Serve Senior Center

New Senior Transportation Ready to Serve Senior Center

Celebrating the new service were City Manager Tom Ambrosino, Councillor Roy Avellaneda, John Keegan of Door2Door by SCM, Director Tracy Nowicki and Health Agent Luis Prado.

Getting to the Chelsea Senior Center has never been so easy.

The Senior Center held a grand opening of their new shuttle service on Friday, Jan. 11, to highlight the service that loops around Chelsea and brings seniors to the Riley Way facility.

Tracy Nowicki, director of the Center, said they started the service in November.

“We really hope that people will start using it and that it will really take off,” she said.

The shuttle is operated with Door2Door by SCM, which provides the shuttle and driver.

They make five stops around the city, including:

•Admiral’s Hill

•5 Admiral’s Way

•150 Captain’s Row

•260 Clark Ave.

•14 Bloomingdale St.

•154 Pearl Street.

The service is available five days a week. For more information, call the Senior Center.

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