Eight Streets Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes, 2 July 2003
Greeting, Introductions & Announcements.
The razing and replacement of 296 Shawmut Ave. (reviewed in our 5/1/02 meeting) has been delayed by a title problem involving the boundaries of the property. The developer hopes to begin work within a month with a planned eight month schedule to completion.
The ZBA approved an increase of occupancy at The Franklin Cafe last November without neighborhood review. The attorney for the restaurant informed us of the decision and requested the following letter be sent.
South End Neighborhood Coalition: SENC hosted Andrew Rapp (editor) and Susanna Baird (reporter) of the South End News who gave an overview of the paper's operations and received input on issues of interest to the community.
SENC reviewed issues around the proposed 7-11 for Rollins Sq. with a representative from the Old Dover NA; it was agreed to send a letter to the BRA asking that ODNA's concerns be weighed during the current due diligence period. (See more, below).
Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods: The meeting needed to end by 8:00 (Ballet closing) so not all reports were filed.
Police Report: The meeting needed to end by 8:00 (Ballet closing) so not all reports were filed.
Presentation on Proposed Rollins Sq. Business by Representatives from the 7-11 Corporation: Messrs. Carl King, Matt Smith & David Michael asked to be given a chance to appear before the Eight Streets Membership to update us on the progress of the proposed 7-11. They are still in the "due diligence" period and are working out an agreement with the BRA (since Rollins Sq. is in a "U" (development) Zone, the BRA is the only government entity with auspices over the businesses there). They do not need, as some residents had previously believed, a common victualers license. They are finishing the "first round" with the BRA and plan to continue to meet with the community to explain how resident concerns are being addresses. Eight Streets NA is the last abutting group to which they've made a presentation. They hope to have the business operating by year's end. 7-11 plans to expand significantly in the greater Boston area over the next few years.
Illustrations of the proposed back-lit green canvas awnings with the 7-11 logo were shown, as well as floor plans for the indoor space. The storefront is approximately 2700 sq. feet. They hope to have an "architecturally pleasing interior" and to keep blocking of windows to a minimum. Restrooms will be for employees only (a change from the original plan). A lift will be installed in the Rollins St. loading dock to overcome an insufficiency in the dock's design; one delivery per week would be made on the street by a truck which the loading dock could not accommodate. They do not yet have a franchisee and until one is acquired the business would be run directly by the Corporate office (under Mr. King).
Members expressed concerns over loitering, blocking of traffic (and the Silver Line), noise, litter, aggressive pan-handling and the increased crime which often plagues convenience stores. 7-11 hopes to act to mitigate these issues. Other comments indicated, if not strong support, then acceptance of such a business existing on a major urban thoroughfare. Mr. Jim Young and Mr. Cary Raymond, co-chairs of the Old Dover NA sub-committee opposing 7-11 at this site and residents of Rollins Sq. and Wilkes Passage, respectively, attended and echoed the above concerns as well as adding their feelings about the suitability of a 7-11 at this site and it's impact on the character and property values of the areas of Washington St. which have been redeveloped.
While no clear consensus was reached, an email was sent to the appropriate BRA person (Randi Lathrop) with a CC to Old Dover NA and Mr. King indicating that Eight Streets hopes that the BRA will continue to consider the issues which ODNA has around this business.