This post is a recap of the February 10, 2014 monthly meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) held at the Nazzaro Center in Boston’s North End.
(1) NEWNC announced a new President, Philip Frattaroli, to replace Stephen Passacantilli who has stepped down now that he has taken a position as part of Mayor Walsh’s office in Boston City Hall. The council and several local dignitaries thanked Stephen for his seven years of volunteer service on NEWNC, including four as President. Frattaroli was formerly Vice-President on the council and elected to be President by fellow council members. Secretary John Pregmon has also taken on the Vice-President position.
(2) City Councilor Sal LaMattina addressed NEWNC and spoke about the following issues: (01:40 in video)
- Trash Hearing on Put-out, Pick-up Hours – On March 3, 2014, 6:30 pm at Boston City Hall (5th Floor), the City Council will conduct a hearing to change the hours that residential trash can be put out on the streets for pick-up. The hearing is the result of a North End petition, among similar efforts in other neighborhoods, to have a morning only time frame, such as 5am-9am, when trash can be placed on the street so that no trash will be left on the curb overnight.
- More Trash News – At LaMattina’s request, Public Works has assigned a hokey (manual cleaner) to the North End, starting immediately. Mechanical street cleaning will resume on March 1st.
- LaMattina was recently appointed Chair of the Economic Development Committee on the City Council. One of his initiatives is to add ferry service on Boston Harbor to better link East Boston, North End, Charlestown, Downtown and the Seaport District.
(3) Public Safety Committee Report (07:00 in video) – A review of the latest North End public safety meeting was provided by David Marx, NEWNC Public Safety Chair. He also announced that residents can call the 24 Loud Party Hotline at 617-549-7503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(4) Greenway Report (09:40) – Newly appointed Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury addressed the council with an update on the Greenway Conservancy. The Conservancy will be hosting a North End workshop, open to all, on March 11, 2014 at the Mariner’s House.
(5) Cycle Track on Commercial Street (14:00) – Vineet Gupta, Boston Transportation Department planner, presented plans for a Cycle Track around the North End moving the existing bike lanes from the street to sidewalk level along the waterfront side. The cycle track is part of the $23 million Connect Historic project. After listening to the presentation that was made at previous community meetings, NEWNC members questioned the expensive project in relation to other community priorities.
Concerns about safety, traffic and parking were raised regarding the cycle track, especially when the existing bike lanes are no longer available to buffer the curved and narrowed vehicle lanes. A specific safety trouble point was identified at the Charter and Commercial Street intersection where the cycle track ends. This was the location of a recent fatality. Questions were also asked about maintenance and winter snow clearing of the cycle track. Several meeting attendees also shared experiences about traffic backups on Commercial Street. NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli asked city officials to consider these comments as they modify the design.
(6) In its final agenda issue at the meeting, NEWNC voted 6 to 1 in support of an all-alcohol license transfer for Donato Frattaroli at 326-328 Commercial Street to open a new restaurant. Donato & Gianni, LLC has a pending purchase agreement with current owners of the Gesualdi Family who previously operated Davide Restaurant at the location.
Attorney William Ferullo explained that the current Davide license has four restrictions, including (1) 11:30 pm closing time, (2) no bar, (3) serving alcohol only with food and (4) no TVs or entertainment. Mr. Frattaroli is proposing to keep the 11:30 pm closing, but initially asked to remove the other three conditions. Plans include a 12 seat dining bar with 2 TVs / background music and to allow serving alcohol without food.
Speaking on behalf of residents at the 24-unit condominium at 328 Commercial Street were Attorney Merrill and condo trustee Mariellen Burns who expressed concerns that the space might turn into a “barroom” with noise and smoking outside. The proponent said he intends to run a “fine dining restaurant” and is “not interested in running a bar.” After an extended discussion, Mr. Frattaroli said he would concede to continue with the restriction of serving alcohol only with food to ease concerns of the building residents.
The council voted 6-1 to support the transfer of the all-alcohol license keeping two of the four restrictions, the 11:30 pm closing time and to serve alcohol only with food. The council supported removing the “no bar” and “no TVs/entertainment” restrictions from the license. (NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli recused himself due to his family relationship with the applicant.)
The application will also be presented at NEWRA on Thursday, February 13, 2014. The official hearing will be on March 5, 2014 at the Boston Licensing Board who will make the final decision.
Note: The embedded meeting video below is missing the first part of the last presentation due to a battery failure in the video camera. The video starts midway at 57:30 with about 25 minutes left in the discussion and NEWNC vote. My apologies for the partial video recording.