[responsive_youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwFW01MB0_s]

Batting 0-2 with the neighborhood groups, the property owner at 420 Commercial Street did not receive the support of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) to add Segway rentals / tours as part of his zoning use. Owned by Frances Lauria, the current zoning use at the location of the former Mobil site is for a gas station, parking lot and offices.

In a 0-9 vote to deny the request, NEWNC focused on the long-term status of the zoning change despite the expectation that the lease to the current Segway tour operator (Boston by Segway / Boston Gliders)  is likely to terminate in the next year.

On February 14, 2013, the Residents’ Association (NEWRA) also voted to oppose the request.  Both neighborhood groups are advisory to the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal that will hear the request on March 12, 2013, Room 801 in City Hall.

The above video has the full presentation by Attorney Daniel Toscano and Lauria family representatives at the NEWNC meeting held on February 25, 2013.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Zoning gets changed for an entire neighborhood at a time. If somebody wants to get an exemption from those rules, they can apply for zoning relief. This was not for a change of zoning, but for relief from the existing zoning rules. Important, but subtle difference.

  2. I dont understand the residents’ opposition to the seguay tours. Have never taken one myself but dont see the problem with them. They bring tourist $$ to the hood. Wonder if these are the same residents that don’t like bicyclists and other “undersireables”.

    • Agreed. It is the “old school” “life long” North Enders that are really harming the business climate here. The gentifriers just want a nice neighborhood with increasing property values.

  3. #1…the only time property values mean anything is when you sell. If not, higher property values mean higher property taxes…a lot higher. So the whole raising my property value as being a good thing is bogus.

    #2..in general, I really don’t care about Segways one way or the other. But the owners of the busines take no responsibility. More than once, I’ve been in the cross walk trying to cross Commercial Street and a string of 15 Segways goes whizzing by…they NEVER stop for pedestrians in a cross walk. I had more success w/ cars stopping for me than Segways. (Bicyclists never stop either). Once, I yelled at the “tour guide” at the back of the line and he proceeded to swear at me while he flipped me the bird. So please stop the nonsense about people being anti-business. This is about doing the right thing and common courtesy…which the Segway owners have proven time and time again that they are sorely lacking.

  4. It sounds more like both groups have been negative. The neighborhood groups and the segway company.

    The neighborhood groups don’t seem to gather facts and present them. They simply blow a few one off situations out of proportion. They don’t seem to also weigh the number of incidents against the amount of volume. (1) out of 50k, it seems like anything can be said for that. It’s like getting 50 meals from a local take out and then receiving one bad meal and saying that restaurant is bad.

    This does not seem like a case of public safety or lack of respect for the neighborhood. It seems more like no matter what is done there will be no way to bridge the gap between what these neighborhood groups want and how to operate a successful business on Commercial St. or Hanover St. that is not a restaurant. Which to that point seems crazy that the local restaurants are not voicing their opinion.

    So the neighborhood board wants the segway’s off the Sidewalks. Which seems like that is happening. Now they want to control where the Segway Tours go because there is to many people on the street and not on the sidewalk.
    They continue to talk about Public Safety however in all of Boston there where 10 people who fell off a Segway and had to go or decided to go to the hospital 2011 the 2012 data has not been published yet so I would gather the amount went down in 2012. So are facts really being applied here or is it just prejudice and a self motivated platform by small minded people.

    Now no one is saying that the Segway Company is perfect. They have contributed to neighborhood events, attended fund raisers, and donated time and money to improvements.

    It seems more like a few loud complainers that keep carrying the same torch. The right thing is to validate, and identify the correct information to correctly address issues.

    I hear people talk about this our neighborhood and our sidewalk, and our park. Sorry but it is not, you simply live near it. Do you go into Mike’s, and complain every day when you can’t walk down the sidewalk “because it is being used as a waiting area” Or board members who walk their dog, and believe they have a greater right to the sidewalk than any other person. All open spaces where paid for in State and Federal Tax dollars.

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