Here are the highlights from the February 12th North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting.
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz announced that Governor Patrick signed the Green Ticket Bill into law. This issue was the subject of his maiden speech in the State House of Representatives. NEWRA’s Clean Streets committee, along with Councilor Sal LaMattina, strongly supported the bill’s passage to improve the cleanliness of the streets of the North End. The law will add unpaid green tickets to the property owner’s next tax bill and is expected to greatly improve compliance with existing trash ordinances. With only 45% of current green tickets having been paid, there is more than $5 million of revenue due to the State since 2006.
North Bennet Street School Executive Director Miguel Gomez-Ibanez spoke of the school’s plans to expand, preferably within the North End neighborhood. The school is looking at options including the soon to be vacant printing building on Richmond & North Streets, the VFW building or the Knights of Columbus. The school knows the neighborhood is sensitive to what happens to its existing building on N. Bennet St. and speculated on the space being used for expansion by the Eliot School.
District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina spoke of his work toward improving trash disposal and rodent problems in the neighborhood.
As he starts his full second term, he has been appointed Chair of the Council’s Neighborhood Services Committee which works with agencies such as Public Works, Transportation and the Parks Department. He wants to come up with a plan to reduce the time that trash is on the streets which is currently over 42 hours. He has proposed a morning-only pickup of 6am to 9am. David Kubiak suggested starting at 5am instead to allow for early risers.
The Councilor said he’s looking for help on the subject and will continue to work closely with NEWRA’s Clean Streets Committee. The head of Code Enforcement also attended the meeting and explained to residents how they give out green tickets and enforce trash ordinances. The Councilor believes the Green Ticket Bill will help and discussed his work on the Beacon Hill/North End Problem Properties Task Force that holds property owners accountable, whether it be for trash violations or loud parties. (More in a recent interview with Councilor LaMattina.)
Segway Tours/Boston Gliders – 75 Commercial Street: Allan Danley presented his application for a C.V. license to serve non-alcoholic beverages to his tour customers. (The license includes food, although his focus is on water and a coffee bar.) He expects 120-150 customers per day in the season. Abutter Francine Gannon questioned the zoning which is labeled as “neighborhood shopping retail” noting this is a tourist business. Several other abutters spoke in opposition based upon concerns about the future of the operation and its disruption on their quality of life. Publc safety issues were also raised about the use of segways in the North End. Boston Gliders defended their safety record and said the operate in accordance with existing laws. After a discussion with several additional statements of opposition, a motion and vote were taken.
Vote: 4 support, 34 oppose. NEWRA opposes the application. This vote joins the NEWNC vote earlier in the week to oppose the license to be considered by the Licensing Board.
Historical Photo Presentation – Local history buff, Vito Aluia, gave an engaging presentation with slide photos of the North End, highlighting nearly every major street as it appeared in past and current generations. The packed house enthusiastically praised the history tour!
More information about the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association can be found at www.newra.org.