Community Food & Drink Real Estate

NEWNC Supports Two Zoning and One Alcohol License Requests at February Meeting

Members of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council meet at the Mariner’s House in Boston’s North End

The Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) voted unanimously last night to support La Famiglia Giorgio’s all-alcohol license application and two zoning relief requests, one on Endicott Street and the other at Lincoln Wharf. All of the eleven voting council members were present, with the exception of Jorge Mendoza.

Before hearing the applications, several announcements and committee reports were made at the beginning of the meeting.

Street Sweeping
NEWNC President, Stephen Passacantilli, reminded attendees that the North End pilot program for extended street sweeping will resume on March 1st. The first two weeks will not have strict enforcement. After this grace period, cars parked on posted street cleaning days will be ticketed/towed. See this post for more information.

Hanover St. Traffic
Stephen Passacantilli, representing Councilor LaMattina s office, updated the audience on the Councilor’s remarks made at last week’s Residents’ Association meeting.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Parks
Donna Freni, a member of the Greenway Leadership Council (GLC), gave an update on the February 1st meeting of the Greenway Conservancy. Georgia Murray is the new chair of the Conservancy, replacing Peter Meade. In addition, North End resident, Jason Aluia, has been appointed to the GLC by State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, replacing Bill Lane.

Freni also reported that a recent community meeting sponsored by the GLC at the Marriott Hotel was not well attended. However, the GLC solicited ideas through a survey indicating interest in public art, non-food/craft vendors and summer programming.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz has introduced new Greenway legislation this term that would limit the State’s funding requirements, provide more transparency through open meetings and give the GLC more teeth via budgetary veto power.

Parking & Transportation
Ryan Kenny distributed a draft letter to the TD Garden from the council regarding parking issues that spill into the North end on game nights. Similar to a program at Fenway Park, the council would like TD Garden to fund extra parking meter enforcement on game nights in the North End. Before basketball playoffs begin, the council also intends to send a similar letter to Boston Police regarding traffic enforcement.

Zoning and Licensing Applications

Esmaeil Mahdavi (right) and Attorney Daniel Toscano

Esmaeil Mahdavi, 196 Endicott Street, presented his application to change the legal occupancy from a three-family dwelling to a four-family dwelling, creating a basement unit.

The developer was represented by Attorney Daniel Toscano with support present at the meeting from Landmark Realty that will be marketing the four condos after the renovation. Zoning is currently set as commercial for the first/basement unit level, having previously been a shoe repair store. The building has been unoccupied for the past five months since Mr. Mahdavi purchased the property. All four condos will be separately sold as a luxury product, according to the owner. Letters of support were noted from several neighboring families.

The building height will not change from the current 38 feet. There is no roof deck and there are no plans to add one as part of the project. The front facade of the building will be redone and upgraded.

Two abutters spoke at the meeting with their support, conditioned upon:

  • no roof deck
  • top floor sold without roof rights
  • construction vehicles not to block the driveway
  • construction from 7am-5pm Mon-Fri, light work on Saturday
  • developer to sign plans presented as final (changes would need re-approval)

The developer agreed to the above conditions. A hearing is scheduled before the Zoning Board of Appeals on February 22, 2011.

The Neighborhood Council voted by public hand count, 9-0 in support of the application with the abutter conditions noted.

Albert Giorgiio (left) and Attorney Michael Overson

Albert Giorgio of La Famiglia Giorgio’s at 112 Salem St. presented his application to the Licensing Board for a C.V. All-Alcohol Beverages License. The La Famiglia presentation was similar to that from the Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting.

The restaurant’s current license is for Malt, Wine and Cordials only. The application includes a request to condition the Licensing Board’s approval with the restriction that the existing Malt, Wine and Cordial license not be transferred by the licensee or reissued by the Licensing Board within the North End, thereby not increasing the total number of licenses in the neighborhood.

Closing hours on the current license are for midnight, 7 days, however, the applicant agreed to rollback their closing hours to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday – Thursday and midnight on Friday/Saturday.

The Giorgio’s have applied for an all-alcohol license twice in the past 20 years, only to be told that there are none available. Attorney Michael Overson, representing the applicant said, “We believe there is a license available now.” NEWNC President, Stephen Passacantilli, noted that if a license is not granted within 30 days of the decision, the owner would again have to re-apply to the Licensing Board.

The Neighborhood Council voted by public hand count, 9-0 in support of the application.

215-221 Hanover Street, CVS, seeks zoning relief to install additional cooling units on the roof as part of their interior renovation of the store.

CVS was a no-show. No action was taken by the council.

Nasser Buisier (left) and Attorney Howard Speicher

357 Commercial Street (Units 712 and 713) Nasser Buisier, discussed his application to enclose two adjacent outdoor decks to increase living space. The presentation was similar to that heard at the last NEWRA ZLC Committee meeting.

The Buisier family live at Lincoln Wharf and are moving to a new unit on the top of the building, a triplex encompassing the 7th-9th floors. As part of the renovation, they wish to replicate what three other units have done by enclosing the interior balconies of the two adjoining units. The enclosure would have 6 windows creating a sun room. The enclosures face the interior and are not otherwise visible from the exterior. The proposed modifications do not impact the periphery roof decks on the North and South sides of the building. Dimensions of the area to be enclosed are approximately 30’ x 12’.

Attorney Howard Speicher said there has not been any opposition and no comments were made by meeting attendees. He said an abutter had previously asked questions at the NEWRA ZLC meeting and verbally indicated he was “probably ok with it.” The Zoning Board of Appeal hearing is scheduled for April 5, 2011.

The modifications have been approved by the Lincoln Wharf Condo Board. The applicant is also a trustee of Lincoln Wharf. The Trustees support the enclosure because it helps resolve drainage issues on the roof. In answer to my question regarding ongoing speculation of balconies on the exterior of the building, Mr. Buisier said there is a petition going around but it would require a change of the deed and a 75% owner vote.

The Neighborhood Council voted by public hand count to unanimously to support the interior enclosure. Luciana Burdi asked if fellow councilor Giancarlo Tiberi should abstain because he is a Lincoln Wharf owner and trustee. After consulting with the council, Tiberi withdrew his vote making the count 8-0 in favor of the application.

With no further business, NEWNC President Stephen Passacantilli adjourned the meeting. The next Neighborhood Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 14, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the Nazzaro Center. NEWNC meetings are open to the public. View more upcoming meetings and events on the Community Calendar.