Two major topics were up for discussion at the Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA) Planning and Licensing meeting on May 20, including issues with traffic, trash, and patrons at the Mike and Patty’s sandwich shop on Church Street, as well as a proposal from Sanctuary regarding an adult-use marijuana dispensary proposed for Tremont Street.
BVNA member Sarah Herlihy said that people in the neighborhood were concerned with impacts of traffic and congestion, particularly on weekends, outside of the Mike and Patty’s restaurant. Neighbors were concerned about cars parking to drop people off, people parking in resident spots, and food delivery companies like Grubhub and Uber Eats parking where they are sometimes blocking fire lanes. She said they have previously discussed putting drop-off lanes on Tremont Street to ease congestion, and are trying to see if they can get the Boston Transportation Department down to “move people along,” Herlihy said.
The second issue, she said, is trash, as there are “significant concerns” that the amount of time that it is out on the sidewalk is causing a rat issue. “Trash is currently being left out on the street, which is not unlawful but is not particularly neighborly,” Herlihy said. She also said there are issues with patrons of the restaurant eating their sandwiches on people’s stoops, as there is little seating inside the restaurant.
“I don’t think these are issues that are unusual to other restaurants,” said Michael Gurevich, one of the owners of Mike and Patty’s. “In the city these things are going to happen.” He said he would like to take a look at how the North End and Beacon Hill have tackled similar issues.
Bay Village resident Anne Kilguss said she was extremely concerned about safety. She said she has not seen any signs in the window or on the restaurant’s website telling patrons not to park illegally. Kilguss suggested that the owners speak with their customers more.
“I wish I could be in control of the customers and where they should park,” said owner Ania Zaroda. “We only have 175 square feet of space inside. We always recommend that people take it out and go towards the Common or somewhere further.”
“The customers are your responsibility to a certain extent,” Herlihy said. She suggested that Gurevich and Zaroda put signage up telling their customers to make sure they are legally parked, as well as talking to the delivery companies like Grubhub and Uber Eats to make sure they aren’t blocking the fire lane.
“We try to tell delivery drivers to do certain things, but they don’t always listen,” Zaroda said.
“Your customers are sitting on the stoops of Fayette Street,” said another Bay Village Resident. He agreed that signs need to be put up, and added that he has never seen restaurant staff outside picking up trash. Gurevich said that he has personally picked up trash outside.
The resident told the owners that they have the power to tell their delivery company to come at a certain time or they will go with a different company. “You’ve got to make more of an effort,” he said.
Gurevich said they have tired to get other companies to deliver supplies, but they will not respond. “The company we have is the only company that will service us,” he said.
Another resident said that the people who sit on resident doorsteps are blocking access to the homes, and suggested that the owners hire a police detail on Saturdays and Sundays to discourage this. “We can’t afford that; it’s not an option,” Gurevich said.
“If they’re eating your sandwiches and trespassing on someone else’s property, you need to take responsibility for your customers,” Herlihy said.
“It sounds to me like you guys aren’t aware of the volume,” said BVNA president Bethany Patten. She suggested that the owners provide their cell phone numbers so they can be reached immediately when a problem arises. “The best thing you can do is be available to us and tell us you’re willing to work with us,” she said.
The owners agreed to put signs up in their window and on their website.
“We’ve identified the issues,” Herlihy said. She told the owners to send BVNA a list of what they plan on doing to remedy the issues, as well as what they would like help with, such as possible 15-minute parking in front of the restaurant during the day. “The biggest takeaway I’ve heard is you need to be around more, a lot more,” she said. “We’re expecting follow-up from how…how to address the issues.” She said they would be discussing this again at the Executive Committee meeting on June 3.
The next order of business was a proposal from Sanctuary, a company porpoise an adult-use marijuana dispensary at 253 Tremont St., the current site of the Abby Lane restaurant. Greg Henning of West Hill Associates presented the proposal, saying that the presentation has been given at many community meetings, and they have come up with ways to address common resident concerns.
The first is neighborhood enforcement, and working with the Boston Police Department, as well as local businesses, on locations for surveillance cameras that can view large areas, and will be able to detect people littering or publicly using marijuana. “We can ban customers if necessary and track issues coming into the neighborhood,” Henning said. There will also be private security patrolling the street, with the ability to go down to a park, for example, to make sure there are no problems. “We are taking responsibility for our customers,” he said.
An ID must be shown upon entry to the facility, which creates a record of every purchase. “We realize that company labeled trash is our responsibility,” Henning said. There will also be additional signage in the area reminding customers that they cannot use marijuana outside, as well as Sanctuary-sponsored neighborhood cleanups and a 24-hour hotline with operators to answer calls.
In addition, Henning said, personnel will be trained on things like cleanliness and traffic issues and there will be a 2-to-1 staff to customer ratio. Henning also stressed that this will not be an onsite use facility.
There was a resident concern that nearby Cure Loung has “been a nightmare,” and having this facility next to it will only exacerbate the problem. Henning said that while the hours of operation are not set yet, there will be no overlap in time or customer base with the club.
There was also concerns about immediate use near the theaters and clubs, and wondered if there could be a minimum purchase amount put in place, similar to the “no nips” policy BVNA places on liquor stores seeking to open in the neighborhood. Several community members were concerned about this being a “high risk” area with all of the nightclubs and theaters, as there are also a lot of kids nearby.
Joseph Giannino, Government Relations and Public Affairs representative for Sanctuary, said that people working the door of the facility get to make judgements about who gets to come inside. They will be trained to look for signs of people under the influence, and those people will not be allowed into the facility.
Before BVNA can vote to oppose or not oppose this location, “what we would like to see from you is a very detailed plan about how you are going to keep people out of Bay Village,” Herlihy said. “You’re going to need to decide what your hours of operation are. I think you need to put pen to paper and say ‘this is what we’re offering to you.’”