The North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) held its monthly meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2018.
President’s Report – Mary McGee highlighted the recent article on short-term rentals and Airbnb that appeared in Commonwealth Magazine. (Also, see below for an update.)
Membership – NEWRA membership renewals are also due at the beginning of the year. Members can renew online, by mail or in person.
Treasurer’s Report – Sue Benveniste reported that some funds will be used to update the NEWRA website this year that is currently under construction.
Parks and Open Space Committee – Robyn Reed said that for Valentine’s Day, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park will have a “Tunnel of Love” under the trellis. See FOCCP.org for more.
NEWRA VP David Goggins announced that RUFF North End has opened the DeFilippo Dog Park in the flights section of the Gassy. [See opening celebration.] Hours are 6am-9pm daily. More water features will come online in the Spring.
Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee – Victor Brogna reported the ZLC committee will send a letter of no objection regarding the application by The Juicery to move from its current Cross Street location to Salem Street. Brogna also reviewed the language regarding “conditional use” in zoning, emphasizing the discretion the Zoning Board of Appeal has in identifying whether a site is appropriate for various activties.
NEWRA members voted 18-6 to support a request at 3 Snelling Place by Rochelle Luongo, for the Snelling Place Family Trust. Attorney William Ferullo, representing the owners, said application to the Boston Zoning Board of Appeal will confirm the occupancy of 3 Snelling Place as a three family building and allow the construction of a fourth floor addition including two roof decks for the exclusive use of the top unit. The living space of the ground floor unit will also be expanded to the basement. Units 1 and 3 would each become duplex units with a one level unit between on the second floor. Total height will be 43 feet and will use a hatch rather than a head house for roof access. The owners’ daughter is expected to occupy one unit. Short-term rentals (i.e., Airbnb) were said to be prohibited in the rental leases.
At 283 Hanover Street, NEWRA members voted to support new owners Frank and Karen Pellino that intend to renovate the former Pinkberry location to open a 30-seat Italian restaurant with fresh pasta made on premise. Attorney Daniel Toscano and Mr. Pellino spoke at the meeting regarding the plans that will require a zoning use change to allow a restaurant with seating. They also intend to apply or purchase a beer and wine license. Hours were stated to be 11 am (serving lunch) through 11pm during the week (Mon-Thurs) and closing at 12am on weekends (Fri/Sat/Sun). The space is approximately 700 square feet and will have trash stored in the basement before daily pickup and monthly pest control procedures. A handicap bathroom will be installed along with a new vent to the roof. The applicant has met with the neighboring dentist building on some concerns as well as other abutters. The upper 3 floors will be residential apartments with intentions to continue the current 1-year leases with residents living in the upper 2 units. In two motions, NEWRA voted 20-4 to support the required zoning use change and 20-2 in support of the expected beer and wine license (no bar) with the stated hours above. Although he has no intention to stay open past midnight, the owner clarified that he would not look to change the hours on a purchased liquor license that would negatively impact the license value. NEWRA VP Goggins noted that Maurizio’s liquor license has already been sold outside the neighborhood.
A+J Art+Design, Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier, gave a brief update on the North Square public art project. In particular, the team are spreading awareness via a new website that is now live. This website provides in depth information about the project in progress and allows the community to give feedback and participate in the process. The four bronze sculptures are scheduled for installation in the Fall of 2018 after the reconstruction of North Square by Boston Public Works. The artist team expects to present details to NEWRA at an upcoming meeting.
Short-term rentals (Airbnb) – Chairman of ADCO (Alliance of Downtown Civic Organizations) and NEWRA Past President Ford Cavallari gave an update on impending negotiations regarding regulations between the short-term rental companies and the City of Boston. Cavallari warned that “the time to say something is now” and encourages residents to contact the Mayor’s Office and their City Councilors.