Eight Streets Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes, 3 September 2003
Greeting, Introductions & Announcements.
The Berkeley Community Garden has added a handicapped accessible garden plot.
The water mains on Milford St. (which have failed three times in the past few years) are scheduled to be replaced at the end of the month.
The South End US Postal CAC continues to meet quarterly, to meet with Postal officials, and to make sure South End postal delivery goes smoothly. The next meeting is open to the public. You can attend yourself, or drop an e-mail with a complaint/concern to ESNA VP John McLachlan (see eightstreets.tripod.com). Next meeting is scheduled Tuesday 9/16, 5-6:30pm, South End Library.
Members are reminded that the Zip Car car-sharing service has two vehicles available at the parking lot on the corner of Shawmut & E. Berkeley (and others very close by). This is an excellent alternative for city dwellers who have a limited need for an automobile. More information is available at ZIPCAR.COM.
South End Neighborhood Coalition: SENC did not have an August meeting.
Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods: Our delegate to ABN has recently relocated so we need to find a new one.
Annual Elections: Current officers (Tim Kozlowski, President; John McLachlan, Vice President and Peter Chin, Treasurer) ran unopposed and were re-elected for another one year term. Any multi-millionaires who wish to fund a recall election in order to change these results are welcome to do so.
Discussion of Issues Associated with the Recent Ban on Smoking in Bars: Members have expressed concerns around problems caused by the number of people now standing in front of area bars in order to smoke. Trash (in the form of cigarette butts), noise and even harrassment are cited as issues (during the City's hearing process earlier this year these were predicted as effects of a smoking ban in bars).
These being legitimate issues, Members are advised to take the appropriate actions at the appropriate times. That is, if there is excessive trash in front of an establishment then this should be reported to the City's Inspectional Services Dept.; if there is excessive noise or harrasment, the police should be called immediately. If these problems persist, Eight Streets as an organization would then be able to better address the issue once there is documentation that there are on-going problems (i.e. should we go directly to the City with issues at this point the understandable and proper response would presumably be "If there is noise, then call the police," etc.). Establishments with a documented history of causing problems may have their liquor license revoked.
Members requested that letters be sent by Eight Streets to area bars requesting the courtesy of posting signs reminding their patrons to be considerate of the surrounding residents.
Presentation Requesting Support to be Licensed for Outdoor Seating at 550 Tremont:
Mr. David Haddon and Mr. Garrett Harker (representing B&G Oysters Ltd. (550 Tremont) and The Butcher Shop (552 Tremont)) requested Member support for their application to be licensed for outdoor seating. The newly constructed seating space (approx. 42' X 22') is in a sunken back-yard area behind their establishment. Seating would be for 22 people and follow the City's seasonal constraints (April to October). Access to the outdoor area as well as to the internal section of the restaurant would be via a gate on the Waltham St. side of the building rather than the front door on Tremont St. (this surprised many Members). Both lunch and dinner would be served, with the outdoor seating cleared by 11:00 PM. Some canopies and umbrellas may be used.
Member concerns centered around the obvious issue of noise. This would be exacerbated by the "canyon effect" of being surrounded by brick walls. Members voted to not oppose the license for outdoor seating with the stipulations that: after 11:00 PM patrons would be encouraged to exit the restaurant via the Tremont St. door rather than on the Waltham St. side; that Licensing have a condition where the permission for outdoor seating can be revoked if after a one year trial period the Eight Streets Membership finds that the practice is causing problems for the abutting residents.
Mr. Haddon had a separate request around clarification of an issue which Eight Streets voted on earlier this year. We had supported transfer of the beer/wine license "as is" from the former owners of Le Gamin (550 Tremont) and Rave (552 Tremont) to Mr. Harker, Mr. Haddon and Ms. Barbara Lynch. The actual licenses "expired" and are not now available; the application for "new" licenses misstated the closing time as 11:00 PM when the intent was to request a 1:00 AM closing. When a request was made to the Licensing Board to correct this, Licensing made the approval conditional on Eight Streets Members clarifying for them that they actually approve of this time. Mr. Haddon had promised to present documentation that the "old" licenses were until 1:00 AM but was in fact unable to do so. A letter will be sent to the Licensing Board indicating that if the "old" licenses were indeed for a 1:00 AM closing, then Eight Streets does support the "new" license being amended to agree with that time.