The Charlestown Neigh-borhood Council (CNC) met on Tuesday night for their monthly meeting and, right off the bat, discussed what looks to be a major residential development at the former James Duffy Building on Main Street.
Chair Tom Cunha said he had been contacted by the potential owners of the site about the preliminary plans they have for a 32-unit building on the site. He also said other abutters, including the Charlestown Gardens, had been in on the discussion.
Cunha said the plans at the moment are rough and call for a 32-unit building that would also include the construction of a new two-bay Boston EMS ambulance bay – something that is desperately needed for the Town.
“They haven’t finished the interior design, but they have put together and showed us plans for a 32-unit building,” he said. “It came down a lot, from well over 80 units to what we have now. They have more than ample parking there.”
He said the building would be 34 feet high, and would include two entrances from Mishawum Street and two entrances from Main Street. It would be clapboard on the exterior and would match the surrounding residential homes. While the potential owners have not yet closed on the property, they have made efforts to be good neighbors and will meet with the community on April 11 in the Knights of Columbus building.
The Duffy Building, in the 500th block of Main Street, was demolished earlier this year after the family business moved to the Chelsea Produce Center. It has frontage on three sides, including Mishawum Street, Main Street and Rutherford Avenue.
- CHAPPIE STREET PLAN GETS OK
The CNC gave unanimous and enthusiastic approval to a plan presented by Tom and Kathy Murray for 60 Chappie St.
Jesse MacDonald presented the plan that includes demolishing the existing home and re-building a home facing Chappie Street for the couple. The corner lot, dissecting Chappie and Medford Streets, currently has a large piece of vacant land. The remainder of the land not used for the Murrays will be constructed into three townhouses facing Medford Street.
MacDonald said the intent is to sell those townhouses, but that the Murrays would continue to live in the fourth structure.
The look of the townhomes would be similar to the new construction now at Baldwin and Medford Streets, with brick, and they would be 33 feet tall. The Townhouses on Medford Street would have three garage bays, each one with a curb cut onto the street.
There was a concern from the CNC that the curb cuts would take away parking in a highly competitive parking environment, but there was nothing that could be done.
The plan requires a subdivision of the vacant lot and must go to the Zoning Board of Appeals. A hearing date has been set for May 8. The CNC said they would fully support the plan at the ZBA.
- COMMERCIAL ROBBERIES A CONCERN
Several members of the CNC have asked that the Boston Police pay more attention to commercial robberies that have been happening at convenience stores – particularly on Medford Street and Thompson Square.
“The new store on Medford Street has been robbed twice since opening,” said Cunha. “The store in Thompson Square, it’s like the eighth time in 34 months that one has been hit. It’s a real concern I have…It’s a troubling pattern in our community right now. I do not want to be a one or two-store community, a total bedroom community.”
Karson Tager, who lives near the Medford Street store, said he agreed that the latest robbery was scary. He said both robberies were with a firearm and the most recent happened at 9 a.m. in the morning. Two teens were allegedly arrested and charged with the robbery.
“It was scary because they did have handguns and they were teens and did this in the morning when kids were going to school and kids were in Charlestown High School,” he said.
Cunha suggested having police station themselves at certain times in both areas to help protect the stores.
A report from the Public Safety Committee showed there had been three business robberies in March.
- ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD
Chair Tom Cunha said he had been contacted by the MBTA for plans to put a digital, electronic billboard in front of Sullivan Square Station. The matter was referred to the Charlestown Preservation Society, as they have a history of fighting billboards on and near I-93.
- BUNKER HILL DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATION
Member Karson Tager and several other newer members of the CNC called for the body to reach out to the Bunker Hill development to see if they were interested in sending a representative to be on the CNC.
“I think it would behoove us to have a representative on the CNC from the Bunker Hill Development,” he said. “I think we should reach out to them.”
Older members explained that there was a long history between BHA tenants and the CNC, having once tried unsuccessfully to have a member on the CNC.
However, many said the tenants have new leadership and maybe the timing is better now.
- PRESENTATIONS FROM THE COMMUNITY CONTINUE
One of the new popular features of the CNC meetings are presentations made by individuals and organizations from around the community. In previous meetings, the CNC has hosted Charlestown High School and other groups.
On Tuesday, Kathy ‘Cookie’ Giordano of ‘Charlestown & Beyond’ presented the low-down about her new show, based on her old column in the Patriot called ‘Not for Nothing, But Have You Heard…’
She said it was going to be good, clean gossip and positive things about the Town, and “nothing I’m going to get arrested for saying,” she said with a laugh.
Others who presented were Terry Kennedy of the Kennedy Center and Ellen Kitzis of the Charlestown Preservation Society.
- OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
…The CNC reported that they would be evaluating proposals for the Spaulding Rehab mitigation money imminently and planned to have check presentations in May…The CNC discussed Courageous Sailing once again, as they have many times before, with the same results: heated exchanges…