Eight Streets Neighborhood Association Meeting - February 7, 2007
South End Buttery – The South End Buttery, located on the corner of Union Park and Shawmut Ave. Richard Gordon, owner, and his lawyer presented to the association. They would like to get the neighborhood’s support for expanding their space and to get a liquor license.
Karen McMayo (sp?) – from the law firm working with Mr. Gordon on the proposed expansion presented the concept. Mr. Gordon would like to expand the restaurant with the theme being an extension of what it is now. Mr. Gordon is applying for an “all alcohol” beverage license, not a beer/wine/cordial license. Mr. Gordon lives in the community and owns the business. From a technical standpoint they are looking to expand next door where there is currently an architect office. This expansion would need to get approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals to for use as a restaurant. This expansion area would accommodate dining seating and the space below would be expanded for cooking space. Mr. Gordon would like to turn this into a breakfast/lunch/dinner place.
Schematically, the theme would be an extension of what it is now and would not change to become an expensive price point. Entrees would range from $12-15 where someone could have a glass of beer/wine/cocktail with dinner. Mr. Gordon would like to close at 1AM with kitchen closing at midnight. The current business operation would continue and Richard would continue to be a large part of the business. Number of additional seating spaces would go from 27 to 54. The architect who he would like to do the expansion work with knows how to work with unique buildings in the south end and feels confident that it will be a nice addition to the neighborhood. He would like to also have a small counter with 4-6 stools to eat. Mr Gordon felt that it was not viable for them to go ahead with the expansion plans without a liquor license.
They would go to the ZBA looking for “conditional use” of the space, meaning that the zoning code would add a proviso to “this applicant only” so that if The Buttery closed or Mr. Gordon sold the restaurant, the new owner would need to get approval for the usage. 3 letters of support were submitted to the NA.
Mr. Gordon is applying for one of the NEW liquor licenses being issues via new legislative rules. These licenses are which is NOT transferable should the business be sold.
Neighbors at the meeting expressed their concerns about:
1) Parking: parking is already at a premium and this will bring in more cars
2) Alcohol being served too late: this has been problematic with the Franklin Café (which has a full liquor license) where there are a lot of loud drunk people out on the street late at night. Some of these people have been known to vandalize property including: ripping names off the mailboxes, pulling plants out of the planters and throwing in the street, throwing cigarette buts on the sidewalk.
3) Concerned about value of house: neighbors are concerned that if it becomes too popular with late night restaurants, that there will be more drunk people on the street and could adversely affect their property values
4) Rats: more restaurants could increase the amount of rats in the neighborhood due to increased trash.
The neighborhood voted to not oppose the expansion into the architectural space.
There was a motion to support the liquor license, but to request liquor stopped being served earlier than the requested 1AM time frame. ESNA will work with Mr. Gordon to arrive at a better time to stop serving liquor. We had no issues with late night food service. The neighborhood did not oppose this motion.
Franklin Café – The Franklin Café would like to expand their business space to include the second floor of their existing Shawmut location. Dave Dubois presented the concept and potential floor plan. They need to go in front of the zoning board and liquor license in order to increase the total occupancy up to 90. He plans to put an emergency egress in the back.
Neighbors were concerned about:
1) Parking: parking is already at a premium and this will bring in more cars which are already double parked in front of the restaurant. Mr. Dubois said he understands this concern and he does have a relationship with exclusive valet which he could offer if neighbors wanted this.
2) Direct abutters were concerned about noise from the second floor including music, patrons sharing the same stairwell as resident. Mr. Dubois said he was looking to add an air barrier for noise concerns for neighbors.
3) Concerns from neighbors about an increase in the amount of people drinking until 2AM in a residential area. Mr. Dubois feels that if there is more seating there will be less people in the bar and this shouldn’t increase the amount of people coming to drink there. He said there will not be a bar on the second floor and that it wouldn’t be used for anything more than dining. He sees the second floor as “extra seating”.
4) Concerns about noise outdoors. There are a lot of people who stand out on the street smoking cigarettes, talking loudly, talking on their phone. They don’t want to see 2x the amount of people out there.
While neighbors like the Franklin Café and many are patrons, most felt strongly that increasing the capacity and expanding to the second floor of a residential building sandwiched between others was not appropriate and did not want to see an increase in the amount of drunk people at the end of the night which often disrupts people’s sleep. Neighbors felt like the Franklin already causes problems in the neighborhood (double parking, noise after patrons leave, etc) and unfortunately most of the problems are out of the control of what Mr Dubois can do. Neighbors felt that doubling the capacity would only exacerbate the existing problems. ESNA received one letter of opposition prior to the meeting.
The neighborhood unanimously voted to not support Mr. Dubois’ expansion of the Franklin Café.