The Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) met last Tuesday, June 2, for the last meeting before its two-month summer hiatus.
The meeting kicked off with two presentations from prospective business owners.
The first duo was in the early stages of planning a new brewery and taproom they hope to bring to Terminal Street. They talked through various planning points, including parking and employment. CNC chairman Tom Cunha explained that once the company sign a lease, a public meeting will be held in the property’s neighborhood to discuss finer details. Cunha also advised that the brewery commit to Charlestown long-term if they buy property here.
“I like to have businesses in town stay in town,” he said.
Next up was Nicholas Leo, a restaurateur in the final stages of proposing a new Dunkin Donuts in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Leo, along with his father and brother, own and operate 12 other Dunkin Donuts in Massachusetts, in addition to Sushi Rock in the North End and The Brickyard in Woburn.
“I know it’s a Dunkin Donuts,” Leo’s attorney Daniel Toscano said, “but it’s really a family business.”
Toscano ran through a list of solutions to previously expressed community concerns. The store will stay open until 9 p.m. instead of the initially proposed 11 p.m.; trash will be stored inside and will be picked up daily at closing time. He also addressed the community members’ distaste for the classic Dunkin pink and orange color scheme. Instead, Leo has selected “the highest end of the Dunkin Donuts themes,” which includes red wallpaper and a gold leaf wooden sign.
“We’ll do what we can to make it a little fancy, a little sharp,” Toscano said.
Like the earlier brewery proposal, Leo made a point to emphasize local employment.
“We’re hoping for some local interest,” he said. “We’d like to seek as much employment as we can from inside the neighborhood.”
While the new businesses are interested in creating jobs in the neighborhood, Neighborhood Liaison Tom McKay is interested in cleaning it up. He took the floor to discuss a new street sweeping pilot program slated for Charlestown.
Currently, people who don’t move their cars on street sweeping days are either ticketed $30-$40 or towed. The money that pays for the tow, however, goes to a Somerville towing company. The pilot program, which will run from July 1 to November 20, eliminates all towing and increases the ticket fine to $90. That way, McKay explained, all the money will go back to the City and also allow them to hire more hokies—workers that sweep and clean between cars that can’t be moved. The city hasn’t yet determined whether the program will be implemented on main throughways or just side streets.
After discussing various updates regarding old business, the meeting concluded with a debate among the Council members in regards to the reach of their power. A request was made for the CNC to endorse a letter in opposition to the demolition of a house at 16 Oak St., which the owner plans to replace with three new townhouses.
“I think this would set a dangerous precedent,” Cunha said. He suggested the Council not involve themselves in disputes that affect less than four units. “I don’t want to get in everybody’s backyard fight,” he said.
“The scope of the question is enormous,” another CNC member said. She pointed out that architecturally significant neighborhoods are undergoing extreme redevelopment across the country. The Council spoke further about whether this should become a legislative issue, and after some further debate, voted not to endorse the letter.
The CNC’s next general meeting is scheduled for September 1.