The Winthrop Town Council voiced its unanimous support Tuesday night for a proposal by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation to build new senior housing units on the site of Temple Tifereth Israel on Veterans Road. The plan also includes the construction of a smaller synagogue at the site.
The Council voted unanimously to advance the proposal to the next step in the process, which is a review by the Planning Board.
Several members of the temple congregation, led by President Sandra Pellegrino and the building committee, attended the public meeting.
Attorney James Cipoletta, Adam Berman, chief operating officer of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, and David Ennis, director of Affirmative Investments, outlined the plans for the site and the reason for the partnership between the temple and the Foundation.
“The temple membership has sought the assistance of Mr. Ennis and Mr. Berman and Chelsea Jewish Foundation to partner in a rather and exciting new concept to rebuild the temple and also, more importantly, to provide age-restrictive, social security eligible type housing,” Cipoletta told the Council.
Cipoletta said the project would be a plus for the neighborhood. “It would bring the property up from the doldrums and the disrepair from which it suffers now; it will fill a need for some of the citizens in Winthrop; it will also be harmonious to the surrounding neighborhoods, blend with the residential character of the zoning district, and would qualify and satisfy all of the elements for an SDOD inclusion.”
Pellegrino elaborated on how the partnership evolved with Chelsea Jewish Foundation.
“We had many people come to us with offers to buy the land,” said Pellegrino. “It’s important to realize that we don’t want to do anything in any way that would be negative to the community. Our members live in the community and care very much for the town of Winthrop.”
Pellegrino said after talking with Adam Berman, the membership decided that the project would best serve the senior citizens of the town and improve the Shirley Street area.
“The Chelsea Jewish Foundation is recognized throughout the state for the way they keep their buildings and maintain their buildings,” said Pellegrino. “This organization is a class act and that’s important to us.”
Several councilors had attended an earlier public meeting at the temple to hear the plans for the site.
“One of things that has always impressed me from the beginning was that the Temple could have sold this property for anything just to get the money and they didn’t,” said Jeanne Maggio. “They really thought about this community and how could they better the community. The whole concept was so well thought out. I’ve been in favor of this project from the first time I heard it.”
Councilor Russell Sanford said he was familiar with the facilities that the Chelsea Jewish Foundation operates in Chelsea. “They were always very professional,” he said.
Councilor-at-Large Joseph Boncore said, “I’ve been in favor of this project since they first proposed it and I think it’s an excellent project and something the town needs.”
Vice President James Letterie asked about the approval process for residents seeking to live in the new housing units.
Tara Mizrahi of Affirmative Investments said a lottery would be conducted. She also indicated that 70 percent of the residential units would be reserved first for Winthrop residents.
Pellegrino was happy about the unanimous vote by the Council to grant the group the petition it sought.
“I’m very pleased the way the vote went for the membership and the whole Winthrop community,” said Pellegrino. “Everything will be brand new at this site.”