Civic & Improvement Association Tackle Redistricting and Quarry
The West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association meeting included potential redistricting of West Roxbury, Crushed Stone's new developments, and Speedy Mart's seeking to sell beer and wine.
Monday night’s West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association (WRCIA) meeting tackled several topics. The room was filled at St. Stephen's as the agenda included redistricting, an update on West Roxbury Crushed Stone’s new building, and Speedy's Mart seeking to sell beer and wine.
West Roxbury District Councilor Matt O’Malley opened the meeting by updating members on the City’s redistricting process. Every 10 years when there are new US Census tracks, the city council is ordered to do redistricting. Due to that, four of the city’s nine precincts - 6, 5, 4 and 3 – have to grow in population. This observation has inclined Boston City Councilor William Linehan, chair of City Council Committee on Census and Redistricting, to propose a redistricting measure.
In Linehan’s plan, Ward 20, Precinct 3 would be separated from the West Roxbury/Jamaica Plain district and go to the Hyde Park/Roslindale district, splitting West Roxbury into two districts. Also, if Linehan's proposed council map were to pass, the Beethoven and Ohrenberger schools, only within a short distance of each other, would be in separate city council districts. The schools are united by a K-8 merger system.
“One thing I am advocating for is to keep neighborhoods as whole as possible,” said O’Malley. “I see enormous value in keeping West Roxbury whole. It’s a great, vibrant part of the neighborhood that should be kept on the map.”
O'Malley has also proposed a different Boston City Council district map that would keep West Roxbury intact to one district. See attached maps.
West Roxbury resident Terri Halliday said redistricting the neighborhood would affect community's identity. “The neighborhood is already small enough as it is!” said Halliday.
O’Malley provided the contact information for everyone in the redistricting committee for meeting attendees. WRCIA President Oliva Waishek recently shared her opinion in a letter to Linehan, and encouraged other members to do so as well.
Following O’Malley’s update, West Roxbury Crushed Stone’s General Manager Ed Sonia updated members on the progress of a new onsite office building. He said he wanted to clarify two questions that spawned out of his last presentation in September: What will the building look like? And how will sound decibel levels decrease?
He passed out a sample photo of the proposed building. The existing building is 12 feet from the Grove Street sidewalk and Sonia cited an ordinance that requires such structures to be 75 feet away from the sidewalk. He plans on returning to the next WRCIA meeting to seek a variance for 50 feet, as to not lose 25 feet of rock near the 160-foot pit, which will be behind the building.
Sonia also shared handouts displaying sound decibel test results. All readings were taken at the top of the high wall, approximately 160 feet, to replicate the conditions that would exist when the new and more effecient crusher is installed into the pit. The numbers showed the decibel levels slightly decreased.
Lastly, Peter Patel, owner of Speedy's Mart came before the WRCIA to talk informally about the idea of seeking a beer and wine license. He’d like to expand his store into the adjacent space. Although Patel was present, attorney Michael Terry of Hill & Plakias, P.C. spoke on his behalf.
Members of the community were concerned about the business move for security reasons. Janet Palmariello is a resident on Washington Street and lives between Nick’s Liquors and Speedy Mart. She expressed her opposition.
“If this were to fall through, I’d be living in between two liquor stores, less than a mile away from each,” said Palmariello. “I don’t think the store is needed.”
James Abdelnour lives in the neighborhood behind Speedy's Mart. He said the area is changing for the worse with new problems arising, partially due to the clientele that patron the store.
“We used to have a nice community and now it’s going to hell,” said Abdelnour. “The man’s a nice man and he has a nice store. Unfortunately, his clientele are buying scratch tickets, throwing them in the street and creating other problems.”
It was clarified upon further discussion that Patel’s intention is to open a separate store next to Speedy's Mart, not necessarily connect the existing business. That spawned new questions about building codes. Those questions were not answered, but will be investigated for a later date.
Patel has yet to apply for the application to sell beer and wine. However, the Association voted 26-2, with some abstaining, to not support Speedy's Mart's desire to sell beer and wine.