Prior to the meeting, President Passacantilli, recused himself from the Council. Philip Frattaroli was voted as NEWNC's new President, while John Pregmon was voted as Vice President (Previously occupied by Philip Frattaroli).
1. Welcome: NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli
2. Call to order & Roll Call: NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli
3. Meeting Protocol: NEWNC Vice President John Pregmon
4. Report from the offices of local elected officials
Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina addressed the Council and audience. He also thanked the Council and past president, Stephen Passacantilli, for his service.
He also expressed a desire to extend ferry service into the NE as well as making the harbor more active. Councilor LaMattina also notified attendees of the meeting at City Hall to discuss trash pickup hours in the NE scheduled for 6:30 on March 3. (Street cleaning begins March 1.)
Maria Puopolo of Sen. Petrucelli’s office - no report.
Nicole Leo Boston Shines
Patrick Lyons present from Rep. Aaron Michlewitz’s office.
Jessie from Aryana Pressley’s office - no report.
5. Committee reports:
a. Resident Parking/Traffic Committee – Ryan Kenny. No updates
b. Public Safety Committee – David Marx. David Marx Chairman of Public Safety. Provided update on police report for previous month. He also reminded attendees the meetings take place on the first Thursday of every month in the North End.
Loud Party Hotline: 617-549-7503
c. Greenway Committee – John Pregmon. Jesse Brackenbury and Amy Dwyer present.
Brackenbury introduced himself and asked to keep an open dialogue between the Council and Greenway
Upcoming Event - Community Meeting, March 11, Mariner’s House
6. Cycle Tracks on Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenue: Boston Transportation Department will discuss plans for the construction of cycle tracks and other changes to Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenue as part of the Connect Historic Boston Initiative.
Power Point presentation provided.
Applicant presented project goals:
1) Create family friendly bicycle facility,
2) Will not affect traffic capacity or create loss/constraints,
3) No reduction in parking spaces,
4) Provide a better connection between the North End and other parts of the city.
They want to merge the two lanes (on separate sides of the street) into ONE 10’ lane on the harbor side of the street. This will put bicycles, peds, all on one side. They will also update crosswalks, hydrants, street lights, etc.
In addition, they want to look to re-time the lights so there’s a better traffic flow through the North End.
Traffic signals for bikes will also be incorporated into the design.
BTD will put a ‘buffer’ between vehicle travel and peds/bikes for safety.
They will keep all healthy trees and replace others with pendant lights.
Signs and roadway markings will be installed as needed.
Cyle path ends around Charter/N. Washington area and be diverted around the ice skating rink and connect on the other side.
BTD also clarified that the $23 million would be spread out throughout areas of the city.
Kenny expressed a desire to allocate these millions of dollars into a school or similar. He also stated he was concerned about snow removal during the winter with the elevated platform.
Gilardi asked for a clarification on the vehicle travel lanes. Applicants said the lanes wouldn’t change. Gilardi stated that traffic would be congested for vehicles making turns since they won’t be able to take advantage of the additional space to turn. Applicant said they are attempting to widen the travel lane itself to accommodate this concern. Gilardi said it still won’t be enough space and echoed Kenny’s snow concerns.
Mendoza asked why this $23 million project is presented AFTER it’s approved instead of prior to, during the design stage, when the neighborhood and NEWNC could express their opinions and concerns. Applicant said it’s federal grant money specifically for this purpose with 25% match from city. He continued that there’s still opportunity to give opinions as no project is finalized as of yet.
Gilardi asked who would maintain the tracks and applicant said Public Works.
BTD stated the underpass for the N. Washington street area (by Lovejoy) will be opened to connect this project to the others as well.
Marx asked if there were studies done in other cities that were comparable to this one. Applicant said there were plenty of examples in Baltimore, Philly, Chicago that are successful.
Gilardi asked if they discussed using the paths that already exist. Applicant said they’re not wide enough to do this.
Mendoza said the current lanes aren’t used now so this update won’t matter.
Verrocchi asked if bike racks will be installed along the path and BTD responded yes.
Mendoza again said they need travel lanes and parking more than we need bike lanes.
Gilardi asked if traffic study looked into the new projects in the area, i.e. Lovejoy, etc. and applicants responded in the affirmative.
Donato Frattaroli asked for clarification on the buffer zone which would be an additional 2-3 feet
Councilor Sal LaMattina said there are more people in the North End that use than ever before.
Burns, Commercial St. Asked about bike racks and expressed concern about the traffic impact. Applicant said they’d install racks wherever they are requested to do so. As to the traffic concerns, applicant said moving the bike lanes like they propose would help travel flow solely due to the design update
Attorney Bill Ferrulo, Charter St. He expressed traffic concerns because of the clogged intersections. Applicant said they’d look at this traffic congestion.
NO VOTE REQUIRED - INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION ONLY.
7. 326-328 Commercial Street, Donato Frattaroli: seeking transfer of an existing full alcohol license from the Gesualdi Family former operators of Davide Restaurant to Donato Frattaroli who is in the process of purchasing the restaurant and the commercial condominium. (President Frattaroli recused himself from this agenda item.)
Attorney Bill Ferullo representing Frattaroli and provided an introduction to the Council and attendees. Ferullo then stated Frattaroli’s background and extensive experience which will make for a qualified candidate and business operator. He currently operates Lucia in the North End and Winchester.
Attorney Ferrullo also said there’s a full alcohol license in place right now with 4 conditions in place. They want to remove 3 of 4. (They don’t want to remove the closing time of 11:30). They want to remove the 1) no entertainment restriction (they want two TVs), 2) remove the no bar/bar seat restriction, and 3) remove the no alcohol without food service restriction.
*They amended restriction to remove alcohol with food requirement
He also expressed this won’t be a bar but will continue to be a fine dining establishment, but that those businesses still serve alcohol.
Mendoza asked about the Fairmont Battery Wharf’s hours of operation as well as other businesses in the area to show that this presentation/application wouldn’t negatively impact the area
Condo Board representative Attorney Merrill present who said the condo owners are OPPOSED to this change. He said expanding the license to include drinking without the requirement of also ordering food will lead to more drinking and therefore lead to more drinking.
Mary Ellen Burns, Pres. of Condo Assn., 328 Commercial Street, abutter, also opposes. She owns two properties and doesn’t want another bar in the area.
Jim Thompson, 328 Commercial Street. Echoes above statement and said he doesn’t want an increase in people smoking
Riccio said they’re setting up the building to fail.
Attorney Ferullo said the alcohol license is public and the fact that the condo assn. wants an office is moot. He also said that he requested to meet with the Condo Assn. but they would not agree to it. He also said people are smoking now so changing the makeup of the restaurant won’t change that. He also said that adding TVs also will not change the activities of the business. He then stated that the restrictions are 30 years old and now outdated. He said that the area itself has changed and that Frattaroli’s history of business management does not give credence to the claims that the drop in the 3 restrictions would be a detriment to the condo assn.
Burns said she welcomes a new restaurant, but does not welcome the change in restrictions requested.
Mendoza said he’s lived above restaurants before and he’s asking how the Condo Assn. bought their property with a restaurant already there which has failed and that they now against it based solely upon the requirements.
Riccio said that the addition of barstools does not turn it into a bar if the restaurant is fine dining.
Frattaroli said he’d change the name of the 12 seat ‘barroom’ if it meant that they would allow them to move ahead with the lifting of the restrictions.
Michelle, 328 Commercial. Expressed concern about the NEXT applicant if they open up the restrictions now.
March 5 – Licensing Board meeting
February 13 – NEWRA meeting
Anthony Gesualdi, Davide owner, provided background of the business and said there’s a buffer zone which restricts the noise and the view that it will turn into a bar is not practical.
Attorney Ferullo said they would be willing to lift the restriction on the no alcohol without food.
Gilardi said we need to make a vote.
Patricia Momer, 328 Commercial, also against lifting the restrictions and asked Council to think about the North End.
Mendoza said he understands the concern with the businesses in the area and he said the Condo Assn. is missing out on this opportunity to have a successful business in the area. He also said he wished both parties sat down prior to the meeting to alleviate some of these concerns.
Thompson, 328 Commercial, echoed the concern for the future as to what happens when the restraints are lifted.
Frattaroli said he wanted to talk to the Condo Assn. but they denied them the request.
Verrocchi moved to SUPPORT transfer of liquor license.
SUPPORTED 6-1 (Kenny)
8. Announcements/Open Discussion/Comments