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NEWRA Meeting Report: North End Beautification, Capping Alcohol Licenses, Support for “Bottles” and 5 Tileston St.; 92-96 Salem St./3 Wiget St. Withdrawn

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The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association, NEWRA, held its monthly membership meeting at the Nazzaro Community Center on November 8, 2012. The following is a summary of the issues heard and votes taken.

NEWRA President Jim Salini took the gavel for the first time after October’s annual meeting and elections. He said that among his priorities are working toward the long-awaited supermarket, bringing better decorum to meetings and improving late night noise and trash problems. Although the Clean Streets Committee has disbanded, the Good Neighbor Recognition Awards will be re-established. NEWRA will also work with the expanding number of neighborhood groups including the North End Beautification Committee, Friends of the North End Parks and Responsible Urbanites for Fido, RUFF. He also recounted some of the successes that NEWRA has advocated for in the recent past, including the Eliot School and North Bennet Street School expansions, the HazMat truck ban during the day and the completion of the Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway. Recognizing past NEWRA President Stephanie Hogue, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz presented a State House citation for her service to the community.

The North End Beautification Committee presented its plans at the November 2012 NEWRA meeting.

The North End Beautification Committee’s Dave Grant and Stephen Passacantilli presented their recent efforts, plans for the holiday season and new projects for the coming year. Passacantilli said the committee hopes to build a partnership of residents, landlords and businesses to fill in the gaps left by the city. “The City can’t handle the North End the way we want it. This is us taking ownership of the neighborhood,” he said. Through a membership program, the committee hopes to hire workers to take on cleanliness and special projects similar to the Downtown Crossing Business Improvement District (BID) and groups established in New York City. However, the committee is not proposing a formal BID with taxation such as Downtown Crossing.

Zoning and Licensing Applications

372 Commercial St. “Bottles,” – Daniel O’Conner plans to purchase the wine and beer shop and has applied to the Boston Licensing Board to transfer the existing license to operate a similar business at the same location. NEWRA voted 29-2 to support the application.

5 Tileston Place, Nigel Jacob filed for zoning relief to add third floor living space, moving the headhouse and roof deck to the fourth floor. NEWRA voted 24-7 to support the application.

92-96 Salem Street, Nicholas D’Amore has applied for zoning relief to replace the 1-story structure at 3 Wiget Street to construct a new 5 story building extension on the back of 92-96 Salem Street. Legal occupancy would change from 2 stores (“The Wild Duck”) and 6 apartments to 2 stores and 11 apartments. Mei Fung, architect, said the applicant is expected to withdraw the current request and will re-apply after talking to neighbors about concerns that have arisen regarding the project. He mentioned that the height could be lowered to 4 floors, matching that of abutting properties. Meeting attendees raised current issues of trash around and on top of the existing building. No vote was taken.

Strategies for NEWRA’s Review of Alcohol License Applications

NEWRA voted 22-8 to no longer take membership votes on future pouring alcohol license applications while the number of existing and pending licenses remains at or above its 91 cap. Instead, letters of opposition will automatically be sent to the Boston Licensing Board. In addition, NEWRA voted 20-6, to amend its policy so that “NEWRA’s support for or opposition to a license application shall be in effect for no more than 1 year from the date of NEWRA vote or decision.”

For more information leading up to this vote, see “North End Alcohol Licenses Reach 91 Cap of Residents’ Association.”

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