State Representative Aaron Michlewitz spoke at the November 10, 2016 meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA), congratulating new NEWRA President Mary McGee who was presiding over her first meeting. Running unopposed on Election Day, Rep. Michlewitz will start his fourth 2-year term in the State House of Representatives.
Wearing a sling for a recent arm injury, Michlewitz addressed the NEWRA membership on three significant community topics:
1. (02:00 in video) There are currently four nursing home operators that have made proposals to take over the North End Nursing Home, according to Rep. Michlewitz. He credits the cooperation of Spaulding / Partners in response to the recent City Council hearing sponsored by Councilor Sal LaMattina as well as the neighborhood’s “Save the Nursing Home” efforts. An announcement is possible in the next few weeks, as Partners has agreed to delay its license transfer application to the end of November.
2. (08:30) Rep. Michlewitz will be introducing revised legislation in January 2017 to regulate AirBnb and short-term rentals. After a previous bill failed to gain traction last session, Michlewitz said that he is focused on the regulation and tax parts of the bill to preserve the housing stock as well as address public safety concerns. Coincident with the efforts of the State legislature, City Councilor Sal LaMattina will be holding a hearing regarding AirBnb and short-term rentals in the City of Boston.
3. (18:50) Owners of Mother Anna’s Restaurant will be offered an exclusive 6 month negotiation period to purchase vacant land in front of their Hanover Street building (at Cross Street), per proposed legislation filed by Rep. Michlewitz. The action comes after a failed RFP (Request for Proposal) by the land owner, MassDOT, the State’s transportation agency that owns the land. No bidders responded to the RFP that required a minimum $1.6 million price tag. The courtesy right of first refusal is “fair”, according to Michlewitz, because the family business suffered decades-long disruption from the Big Dig and the property has been vacant for 12 years. If an agreement is reached between Mother Anna’s and MassDOT, any new development on the property will go through the regular city Article 80 review process. The property cannot be built down because it is located over the tunnel and is zoned for a height of 55 feet. The land has most recently been used for outside tables, leased by Mother Anna’s restaurant for the past several years.
View the above video for more on these issues and the full NEWRA discussion with State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz.