Letters to the Editor

Regarding the Center Business District

Dear Editor,

I will be out of state on July 15 for the upcoming Planning Board meeting.  I just wanted to express my concern about the corner I think our Town government is turning relative to involving everyday citizens in the government process.

My remarks focus on the recent June 27 Appeals Board decision accepting that 20 Cottage Park Road is not purely Residential A but that the same property is, to a small degree, in the Center Business District.  Consequently, there was no need to request a variance from the two and-one-half story building  restriction if that planned building abuts a residential property.  Now a four-story structure will be built.

My concerns, aside from the fact that real outreach to abutters, neighbors and small business owners did not happen in the 2014 effort to re-define the Center Business District; the following are specific concerns that I have:

1)  Neighbors put forth a petition on May 27, 2018, that was never heard or addressed.  Concerned about all forthcoming building projects in Winthrop Center; the petition dealt with concerns about height, density, side and rear distances from a residential home, and realistic parking. 

On Jan. 15, 2019, the Council, voted to indefinitely postpone the petition.  (Three Council members recused themselves from the vote, and Councilor Boncore voted to address the petition.)  Conclusion, resident petitions seem not to be taken so seriously anymore.

2)  In October, 2018, and again on Jan. 15, 2019, the Town Manager promised to “re-engage with the possibility for repeal or amendment of zoning.”  This has yet to happen except for the hiring of an outside consultant who’d like to include even more private homes in the Center Business District.

3).  Finally, the Town failed to provide a town official to verify that for the past 100 years the property at 20 Cottage Park Road has been residential.  My husband Tom Reilly and our Atty. Jacqueline Doherty were the only persons equipped with data to document that 20 Cottage Park Road is zoned as Residential A.  Maps from 1939, 1970, 1974, 1987, and 2006 were referenced to verify this important fact.  These maps were rendered in color by our own internationally known architect/illustrator Frank Costintino.

Instead, the Appeals Board dismissed any real map history and allowed a technologically devised power point presentation by the developer to determine their decision that 20 Cottage Park Road has a very small portion of business zone on the property.  After all the Town map references, Building Official Al Lagee’s  April 19 residence disposition, and then Town Manager Delehanty’s Jan. 18 definition that 20 Cottage Park Road was, in fact, Residential A; the Appeals Board voted otherwise.  Suddenly, after 68 years, 20 Cottage Park Road turned into a residential and part business piece of property?  Where was ANY official from the Town to present the true map and zoning data at that June 27, 2019 Appeals Board meeting? 

I’m left, and many of our neighbors are left with a disheartening feeling that, except for voicing our concerns at Public Forum, petitions are useless and not heard, promises for involvement will not happen, and 100-year zoning documentation means nothing.  Who’s representing the residents??  Is the Charter being upheld? 

I can only faintly trust that true resident inclusion and wisdom as to the far-reaching impact of any development, particularly in Winthrop Center, be part of any prospective building in the Town.

Thank you for your consideration.


Donna Segreti Reilly

The Appeals Board

Meeting of June 27, 2019 can be viewed on WCAT

The Future of Education Is Shifting

Dear Editor,

Kate Anslinger makes a number of valid points when it comes to contemporary college education, especially in stating that “the future of education is shifting nationwide” and that “…students are arming themselves with smart decisions”. (High school grads trending toward community colleges – June 20, 2019).

Beyond the affordability decisions related to the rising cost of a college education and mounting indebtedness are the equally important considerations of what type of college or university to attend, whether to relocate, and how to make the best of everything an education has to offer.  The good thing is that one size does not fit all.  The decision has become much larger than simply “going to college”, and families are rightfully seeking a positive return on a significant investment.  The reality today is that, regardless of what they study or where they do so, most new graduates from community colleges, state schools, and private universities will likely have multiple career paths and dozens of jobs during their working lives.  Furthermore, the marketplace now demands a simultaneous combination of focus and flexibility.  Beyond degrees and majors are the tangible skills that employers seek and the core competencies that are transferable among industries and professions.  Written and oral communication, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and decision-making are just a few of those lifelong attributes that will serve them well and equip young graduates with the tools and abilities to remain agile in a constantly changing world.


Louis V. Gaglini

Winthrop High School Class of 1977

Executive Director

Center for Career Development

Boston University

Thank You for Another Great Strawberry Festival

Dear Editor,

The Winthrop Improvement & Historical Association’s 107th Strawberry Festival was one of our best ever. The day was perfect and everyone raved at the delicious strawberry shortcakes.

There would be no Strawberry Festival without strawberries. On behalf of WIHA, I want to thank Paul Marks, II, at the Paul W. Marks Company for donating the wonderful strawberries and the whipping cream. The Marks Family has shown their loyalty to our organization for many years and we are humbled.

There could be no strawberry shortcakes without the delicious biscuits and we are thankful to Marc and Chris Wallerce at the Winthrop Marketplace for donating them to us. The Wallerces are always so supportive ofWIHA and we are in their debt.

Diane Blumenthal

Vice-President and Strawberry Festival Chair

Winthrop Improvement & Historical Association

Workshop for Teens

Dear Editor,

WCAT’s Video Production Workshop for Teens starts Thursday, Aug. 1.

Are you a Winthrop teen interested in producing your own TV programs for WCAT and YouTube?

Learn all you need to know to film, edit and produce your own TV shows. This 5-week course meets every Thursday in August from 5:30 – 7 PM at WCAT Studios. Learn how to use HD cameras, audio equipment and editing software to create your own video production.

This course is free to all Winthrop teens ages 12 – 17. Sign up at wcat-tv.org/production or call us for more information at 617-846-3400. Space is limited.

WCAT Staff

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