Outdoor Dining Continues To Be a Hot Topic

The continuing debate on the city’s outdoor dining is still a hot topic for many as was demonstrated at the NEWRA meeting that was held March 9 at the Nazzaro Community Center.

Local residents applauded the regulations that will severely limit the number of outdoor dining establishments on the sidewalks in the North End. “I am glad that we do not have it this year,” said Darlene Romano, adding, “the quality of life was going down the tubes. we want a normal neighborhood.”

One resident pointed out that last year neighborhoods like East Boston had nine dining establishments taking part in outdoor dining while the North End had 64 dining establishments.

“This is not only about parking,”  said another resident, “but about safety.” He then showed pictures of double-parked trucks that made driving and walking across Hanover Street very treacherous.

A restaurant owner and resident noted that he believes the present population of the North End is about 10,000, while in the 1970’s there were more than 32,000 people in the same neighborhood. He used these numbers when residents pointed to current congestion on neighborhood streets.

Also on the agenda, in an unanimous vote, NEWRA members voted to send a letter to the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) “to seek additional information to pursue the completion of the Historic District designation process,” that was started by a group of residents in the 1980’s, but was never completed at that time.

Also in the letter that was sent to the BLC (see below), there was a request for a 90 day Demolition Delay for the building at 149 Salem Street. If the designation as a Historic District were approved, demolition applications would need to be considered differently. According to Dave Kubiak, this could be one of the oldest wood frame buildings in Boston. Construction on the building is believed to have taken place around 1795 and the building has always been an apothecary. The application filed by the owners seeks to raze the building and with the new construction increase the height from 40 feet to 55 feet and have a mixed use purpose.

The monthly meeting agenda included several updates, an update on the Summer Tunnel schedule change of closure, and a report by the North End Historical Society relating to turning the North End into a historic district.

The next NEWRA monthly public meeting will be held on Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 PM at the Nazzaro Community Center on North Bennett Street. Agenda to be announced.

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