Community Event Notices

December 2013 Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee Report

Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee Report

December 12, 2013

Current Applications

The following applications were reviewed at the ZLC Committee meeting on November 19, 2013, and are scheduled for discussion and vote at NEWRA’s December 12 meeting:

263 Hanover Street, Modern Pastry Shop, owners John Picariello and Sara McGee have applied for Zoning Board approval to open a bakery and café with take-out service in the space formerly Piccola Venezia Restaurant.  The owners have also applied for transfer of Piccola Venezia’s Malt and Wine with Cordials License for use in the new bakery/café.  Modern Pastry Shop will operate both in the new location and in the separate existing location.  The Executive Committee questioned the appropriateness of there being two separate alcohol licenses for what is essentially one operation in adjacent spaces and whether the service of alcohol in the current pastry shop location must continue.  Once the larger space is operating, it seems that alcohol service in the existing space would be unnecessary and be a poor use of a valuable license.  The future of that license is therefore in question.  It was clear that Modern cannot break through at this time and that if they are to serve alcohol in each establishment they must hold separate licenses.  What’s not clear is why the service of alcohol cannot be limited to one location (the proposed, larger one).  NEWRA has had concerns with other licensees holding onto licenses and not using them, or having licenses that are not critical to the operation and success of the business.  We know that the family has had the license for many years, but if the family were now seeking a new license at the smaller location, NEWRA would question the purpose.  Now that the family will have the larger location, we question the business need for the license at the existing location.

340 Hanover Street, 7-Eleven is seeking Boston Redevelopment Authority approval of business signs for the new store that will open in the former White Hen Pantry space at the corner of Hanover and North Bennet streets. The store is scheduled to open before the end of the year.  Operating hours will be 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, 7 days, and the store does not plan to seek a retail alcohol sales license.  Plans provided by the owner’s representative show only the signs proposed to be installed on the exterior faces of the storefront just above the windows, as well as a “blade” sign at the corner of Hanover and North Bennet streets.  The plans do not show banners and logos that have already been applied to the lower edge of the windows surrounding the establishment, and they also do not show a lighted sign that now hangs just inside a window facing Hanover Street, close to the entrance door.  The ZLC Committee and residents in attendance raised concern that the proposed signs and logos lack form, craftsmanship and character and do not conform to the historical context of the North End.  The ZLC Committee asked that standard national chain signage not be used at this location, and that the appearance of the business reflect our unique and historical neighborhood.

Other Applications

124-126 Salem Street, Collin Yip, is seeking zoning relief to construct a 5-story building that will include nine residential units (condominiums) and retail store or restaurant on the first floor.  The parcel has long been used as a surface parking lot for up to 13 vehicles.  The owner presented plans at NEWRA’s November 14 meeting.  No hearing has yet been scheduled before the Board of appeal. The ZLC Committee will review the building plans to develop questions and comments for submission to the owner in advance of a possible NEWRA vote on the project at NEWRA’s January 9, 2014 meeting.

5 North Square, Gennaro’s Restaurant, All-Alcohol License TransferThe following message was emailed to Nicole Leo, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, on December 11, 2013, regarding a December 11 Licensing Board hearing on an application to transfer an All-Alcohol License to 5 North Square from a bar that operated at 181-183 State Street:  At its regular monthly meeting on February 14, 2013, NEWRA voted to oppose the application for an all-alcohol license at “Gennaro’s,” 5 North Square.  In the discussion before the vote, concern was raised regarding the proposed 1 AM closing hour.  Other concerns may also have been raised in the letter informing the Licensing Board of NEWRA’s position.  It is disappointing that NEWRA and the community were not informed about the new application for transfer of an all-alcohol license to 5 North Square, especially where the new application is materially different from the application reviewed by the community nearly a year ago.  The license to be transferred apparently has a 2 AM closing hour.  I assume the Licensing Board will consider a decision on this application at its meeting on Thursday, December 12. 

NEWRA requests that the Mayor’s Office seek a deferral of that decision to allow community review.

210 Endicott Street, Robert Dello Russo, plans to demolish the existing one-story building and construct a 5-story, four-family dwelling with a roof deck, as well as parking for 3 vehicles in a garage underneath.  The property is adjacent to the former gas station (now parking lot) at the intersection of Endicott and N. Washington streets.  The BRA is currently reviewing the plans and the related zoning appeal, and the owner has not yet approached NEWRA or NEWNC for community review.

Boston Garden Project and Supermarket

The BRA Board of Directors has scheduled a hearing to consider approval of the 600-foot high Boston Garden Project and the owner’s request for 121A tax relief.  Boston Properties and Delaware North, developer and owner, respectively, have announced that they have a preliminary agreement with Star Market to operate a 45,000 square foot supermarket at the site.

Next ZLC Committee Meeting:
Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 7:00 PM, Mariners House, 11 North Square

Tentative Agenda:

1 & 2 Hull Street Court, Robert Onessimohas filed appeals for zoning relief to construct fifth floor additions to the two 4-story buildings to increase the living spaces of the top floor condominium units.

10 Lewis Street, Melina DiPaolaproposes to operate a Spin Bike Studio and juice bar in the first floor space formerly occupied by the Armenis Olive Oil Company.

123-125 Salem Street, La Galleria 33 Restaurant plans to apply for a new C.V. 7-Day All-Alcoholic Beverages license as an upgrade from the existing Wine & Malt Beverages License.

340 Hanover Street, 7-Eleven:  The Committee will draft points for a letter to the BRA regarding plans for signage and lighting at the new store that has replaced the “White Hen.”

124-126 Salem Street Proposed Building PlansThe committee will review the building plans at 124-126 Salem Street, currently a 13-car parking lot, to develop questions and comments for submission to the owner in advance of a possible NEWRA vote on the project at NEWRA’s January 9, 2014 meeting.

Updates on Major Development Projects at Lovejoy Wharf, Boston Garden and Government Center Garage, including preparation for the December 19 BRA Board of Directors meeting at which the Board may approve the 600-foot high Boston Garden Project and the owner’s request for 121A tax relief.

NEWRA’s Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee can be reached at