Logic & Common Sense
I was driving down Ocean View Ave on May 9th at 10:10 in the morning and was delighted to see 25 Winthrop High Students playing tennis during a gym class. I pulled over in my car and watched for a while. I thought to myself just a couple of years ago a group wanted to move the high school tennis courts and turn it into a parking lot.
However there were a few citizens that immediately felt that moving the tennis courts was just not a logical move and was not educationally sound. I give great credit to the residents that worked so hard to eventually get town officials to have a forum at the Shapiro Auditorium. Their voices were heard loud and clear. The comments ranged from the tennis courts were used for gym class, away teams needed locker rooms and bathrooms, and it is common sense you should have tennis courts near your school.
The presumed need for additional parking was dispelled when there was a Winthrop High Football game and a theatrical school production on the same night. Residents attending either event found out there was plenty of parking.
Recently I watched the first place Northeast Conference Boys tennis team compete and thought of the thrill these students were having because logic and common sense were not thrown out the window.
Thank you to all the residents that took the time to band together and make a difference so our girl and boy student athletes can make a smooth transition from classroom to the courts.
I am sure this brought a smile to the face of former Principal John Domenico who has been playing brilliant tennis on this court for seven decades.
Driscoll Mahegan Invitation Track Event Is June 8
We are writing to invite young folks, older folks and all those people in between, families, singles, couples, groups of friends, to the 25th Annual Driscoll Mahegan Invitational Track Event on Saturday, June 8 starting at 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Miller Field in Winthrop.
This annual summer event celebrates local athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities. WINARC (Winthrop Advocacy, Resources, and Community) and the Winthrop Police Association sponsors this feel good event. This year is especially meaningful as we celebrate the life of recently departed Winthrop Police Detective Michael Delehanty who, 25 years ago, saw an opportunity to create a meaningful community partnership and led his department in hosting this day of fun, family and festivity.
Please note that because we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the WINARC/police partnership, in conjunction with honoring Detective Delehanty, the event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a parade from Winthrop High School to Miller Field to include the athletes, police on motorcycles, bicycles, ATV and Polaris, the Winthrop Veterans Color Guard, and the Winthrop Middle School band. High school senior Fiona McPhail will sing the national anthem, and special guest emcee, Council President Ron Vecchia, will host the event, which we anticipate will be broadcast on WCAT.
Following the track meet, Winthrop Police Association hosts a free barbeque with plenty of side dishes. With music and balloons, this is truly a great time for families and friends, so come on down and cheer on the athletes in an all-inclusive day of fun. You sure will be glad you did!
WINARC has been committed to enhancing the lives of individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities for over 50 years and serves individuals and families from Winthrop and neighboring communities of East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Lynn and we encourage all to attend!
Nancy Giuffre, Co-President, WINARC
Julie Mei, Co-President, WINARC
Mary Crisafi, Sergeant, Winthrop Police
Something to Keep in Mind with the CBD
I am disappointed that I was unable to attend this week’s meeting to discuss the suggestions that the Planning Board will make to the Town Council regarding the zoning lines in the CBD. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share my thoughts before any decisions were made by the Board or Council.
While it is frustrating that we are still having these conversations year after year, I am encouraged that this Town Manager’s administration is taking a serious look at codifying the redrawn district lines. I am also encouraged that the Planning Board will take a hands-on approach in shaping the future of the CBD. I know this goes without saying, but the way in which the lines are drawn are going to have long-lasting impacts on not just the immediate neighborhood, but the entire community.
In Winthrop, we have very few developable parcels, a poor reputation in the regional development community, and struggle to bring in reputable investors to contribute to our infrastructural improvements. The few times in recent history that someone did attempt to bring our derelict properties up to snuff, they were shut down, chased away, or threatened with so much litigation that the project died before it got started. I hope that our Master Plan, coupled with legally codified zoning boundaries, will help reverse some of the damage inflicted by our indecision and lack of predictable process.
When it comes to the boundary lines themselves, I encourage the Board to approach the process holistically. With a dearth of larger parcels in the CBD, each becomes more crucial to the overall development of the community. I hope that we can look past current and historic uses of individual parcels, and look to what the highest and best use could be. If this means including portions of current R1/RA uses in the CBD, then let’s get that done.
I understand the precarious situation that the Board has been put in, but I also know that it is going to take bold, brave, and thoughtful leadership if we ever hope to change the status quo here in Town. Right now is our opportunity to chart a new course.
Stephen C. Hines
Development on Somerset Ave.
On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Winthrop Board of Appeals will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. The owner of the building at 10-26 Somerset Avenue is appealing the denial of a building permit. The permit was denied by the Winthrop Building Commissioner due to noncompliance with the applicable height limit and the required minimum rear setback.
The Winthrop Zoning Ordinance makes a clear distinction for Center Business parcels that are adjacent to a residential homes. Under the provisions of the town’s zoning ordinance, buildings are limited to two and one-half stories and must have a minimum setback of 15 feet. The owner of 10-26 Somerset Ave., ENVELO Properties, is asking the Board of Appeals to reverse the denial and allow a four-story structure with only a 3-foot rear-setback from the next door home.
ENVELO Properties also disputes the fact that their property is adjacent to a residential district in spite of two clear rulings by town officials. The first was by the Town Manager in February, 2018 and an another was done by the Building Commissioner in April, 2019. Also, a simple visual observation confirms that the 10-26 Somerset parcel is next to a residential home on Cottage Park Road.
In 2014, the Town Council voted a new zoning ordinance for the Center Business District (CBD). It required only three-quarters (.75) of a parking space for each one bedroom unit and one and one-quarter (1.25) spaces for a two bedroom unit. The developer’s plan is for 30 units with only 29 parking spaces. There could be 50 cars or more cars in the proposed building. The tenants without a space would seek parking in an already crowded neighborhood.
If the appeal was to be granted, it would set a precedent for other developers to override the zoning protections for homes adjacent to the business district. These include homes on Cottage Park Road, Somerset Avenue, Bartlett Road, Woodside Avenue, Putnam Street, and Freemont Street.
If this appeal troubles you, please attend the May 23 hearing and voice your concerns. Thank you.