Community Food & Drink Real Estate

Local Residents File Legal Challenge to Proposed Long Wharf Restaurant

In a legal filing to the Massachusetts Superior Court, a group of ten North End/Waterfront residents have turned to the court to challenge a proposed restaurant at the end of Long Wharf. Potential issues raised by the residents include excessive noise, damage to public open space/parkland and impairment of scenic quality on the wharf.

Water’s Edge at Long Wharf, proposed spot for outdoor cafe tables.

In 2007, the Boston Redevelopment Authority announced a lease to “Doc’s Long Wharf,” for an enclosed 4,655 square-foot waterfront restaurant with outdoor cafe tables. The BRA was granted a license by the State’s Department of Environmental Protection under Chapter 91 laws. In response to opposition by a resident group, the DEP subsequently denied an appeal on January 15, 2010, clearing the way for the proposed restaurant. At this time, it is unclear if “Doc’s” is still the intended operator of the restaurant. The BRA and DEP are expected to respond to the legal challenge in the next 30 days before the court hears oral arguments on the case.

“The park at issue is located at the seaward (eastern) end of Long Wharf … extensively used by residents and visitors to enjoy marine sights and sounds and for other passive-recreation purposes,” per the legal memo. “It is unique among the wharves and parks in the downtown/waterfront area in the combination it provides of expansive harbor views – surrounded on three sides by water – and a spacious, quiet public space in which to enjoy them.”

Proposed structure to be expanded for new restaurant.
Proposed structure to be expanded for new restaurant.

The ten residents, as plaintiffs, say the BRA-owned space on Long Wharf is “public waterfront parkland” and therefore protected by State law Article 97 which states that “agencies shall not change the control or use of any right or interest in Article 97 land” without approval by the State Legislature. In addition to Article 97, they cite “errors of law” in the DEP decision regarding the protection of views of the water, compliance with the Municipal Harbor Plan, the water-dependent use zone, and the proper public purpose requirement.

The plaintiffs are listed in the legal memo as Sanjoy Mahajan, Victor Brogna, Stephanie Hogue, David Kubiak, Mary McGee, Anne M. Pistorio, Thomas Schiavoni, Pasqua Scibelli, Robert Skole and Patricia Thiboutot.

Other restaurants/bars already operating on interior/city-side of Long Wharf include Tia’s, the Chart House, the Landing and the Oceana in the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel. There are also several mobile food carts adjoining the wharf near the New England Aquarium and Christopher Columbus Park.

9 Replies to “Local Residents File Legal Challenge to Proposed Long Wharf Restaurant

  1. Long Wharf is used primarily by tourists, skate boarders, homeless people, teenagers and others "hooking up", drug users and sellers and hookers hooking up for a profit. After dark it is a scary wasteland. The addition of the proposed restaurant where tables for use by non restaurant customers was agreed to by the proposed owners and bring a different kind of life to the very area claim they want to protect. It's not like the restaurant will be taking up all of the space and blocking anyone's access to the water. The people who filed this lawsuit are a group of malcontents who have been appointed by themselves and no body else to " protect the waterfront and the north end. If the condo associations at Harbor Towers support the restaurant who are these people top object to the noise?

  2. What a waste of time, money, etc. on this petty lawsuit by a small group of NIMBYS though this area isn't even in their backyard, This proposal is a GOOD thing for anyone who has any sort of common sense! Nothing is being taken away; actually good things are being added, food service, tables and chairs, tourists, residients, energy! Selfish, Selfish, Selfish, are the only words to describe this lawsuit!

  3. Do we really need another restaurant in the North End? Hardly. And we don't have enough tourists already? Please. We don't even have enough liquor licenses left for new restaurants now.

  4. Heather. This restaurant is not in the North End. It is at the end of Long Wharf and personally, I think we should have MORE restaurants on the waterfront. As to alcohol pouring licenses…. there is no such legal animal in the city of Boston as a cap on alcohol licenses in the North End no matter ter what what NEWRA would like everyone to believe. NEWRA and NEWNC are ADVISORY groups of residents only. The licensing board, the ZBA, the BRA etc take into account the positions of the neighborhood groups but can pretty much do what they want within the constraints of their authority. For many years, the residents had a sympathetic Chairman of the licensing board. Now that Dan Pokaski has retired, it is anyone's guess as to where the new Chairperson's sympathy will lie. Could be someone who favors business.
    As to the situation now, there are no NEW alcohol licenses available from the state to be used in the city of Boston. There are however, alcohol licenses for sale by former restaurant owners which are more expensive then a new one. If Cafe Nuova wants a license he will probably have to spend $25,000 instead of $2500. It is called supply and demand.
    Doc's Long Wharf would probably qualify for one of the pouring licenses that have been set aside for establishments on the waterfront anyway.

    This lawsuit is a silly. They lost the appeal and are now going to court. None of the people doing the suing live anywhere near Long Wharf or walk way back there to get to work or probably even spend much time there anyway. These people should devote their time and money to something more important then trying to block a business from opening in a NONRESIDENTIAL area.

  5. As a commercial wharf owner, I commend this group on looking out for protecting our beautiful waterfront. I am concerned about the noise and that it will become a party zone. For those that want something there, how about a coffee or ice cream shop instead of a massive restaurant with over 100 tables?

  6. I'm not a member of the committee. However I think it's good that a citizens group raises concerns. This general area is over-saturated with restaurants and bars already – from Quincy Market up to Salem Street. It seems that any vacant land in Boston is under attack by people who want more revenue – from Mike Ross' insistence that the Boston Common needs a restaurant, to this issue now.

    Preserving the waterfront is far more important than one more restaurant, one more place to get drunk.

  7. I totally agree with 'you've got to be kidding' and 'Dennis' Development of this space would be a good thing. There is no question that the placement of an appropriate restaurant at the end of Long Wharf would be a vast improvement over the present abuse of a wonderful spot. During daylight, the rude and obnoxious skate boarders whose boorish behavior prevent locals and tourists alike from enjoying what should be a lovely venue. Then as night falls, this is clearly a favorite destination for the homeless and other troubled/addicted. It smells like a urinal. To block a reasonable development is insane.

  8. I live in Harbor Towers and applaud those who are bringing this lawsuit. It would be nice to be able to have this unique site kept as it is. We don't need another restaurant.
    Such a significant change should not be allowed to a public space.

  9. Interesting that not one single person who filed this lawsuit lives anywhere near the waterfront or Long Wharf. All of you people who are so in favor of keeping this an open space have obviously never gone there to be terrorized by the obnoxious skate boarders who come in from the suburbs or smelled the stench of urine that permeates the place or seen the condoms that litter the area. great place to save. An urban wasteland that could be made more attractive to residents and tourists if there was some activity other then skate boards, homeless peeing and other things. Save out open spaces. What a joke!

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