HVNA discusses abutters meeting happening Thursday

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

During its monthly meeting on Monday, the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) notified residents about and discussed an upcoming abutters meeting scheduled for Thursday regarding a proposed restaurant at 636-638 Bennington Street.

According to the city’s website, the abovementioned abutters meeting will occur on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. To attend, use the Zoom link provided on the city’s website — https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82990076836.

It should also be noted that the HVNA will be hosting a viewing of the meeting at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club for those who prefer that. For more information, keep an eye out on the group’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/harborviewna/.

The meeting will allow abutters and residents to provide feedback on plans that, per the city’s website, include a restaurant called El Parche, proposing 40 seats with hours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

The city’s website also indicates that the applicant is planning to apply for a beer, wine, and cordials license, common victualler license, and live entertainment with the licensing board.

Skip Marcella, an HVNA Board Member, notified attendees of the upcoming meeting and indicated that there is already a sign on the building that states “opening soon.”

“I think there are some questions that we still need to kind of clarify, but this is an important meeting, I think, for the neighborhood,” said Marcella, who mentioned that the HVNA was unaware of the project until abutters received flyers at their homes.

He also described the property and its whereabouts for those who did not know, saying that it is situated between Byron and Wordsworth Streets at the backside of the barber shop in the area.

“It’s been used for many different businesses over the years,” said Marcella, who described the building as a “small structure.”

As the conversation progressed, several attendees shared their thoughts and commented on the proposal.

One resident said, “The whole thing is ridiculous. That’s an extremely small space, and there’s no parking.”

Another resident commented on the proposal and believed it was “a done deal.” The attendee claimed that he had gone down to the property that day, taken photos, and saw new oven vents, cameras, and electricity.

“I’m going to join the meeting here, but I’m going to be skeptical that it’s going to have any impact whatsoever.” The same resident had concerns about where trash would be stored at the proposed restaurant, where a grease pit might go, and more.

While the abovementioned resident thought the restaurant was a done deal, Marcella offered a different point.

He indicated that while the restaurant use might be allowed, residents may be able to impact the proposed hours or entertainment request.

Another attendee echoed the trash storage concern, saying, “When will it get picked up? On a daily basis or a weekly basis? There’s nowhere for a dumpster; we already have rodent issues in East Boston.”

Before the conversation ended, Manuela Villa Gomez, East Boston’s Liaison, provided more information about the situation.

Gomez mentioned that the city is aware of the sign at the property advertising that the restaurant is “opening soon” and said it “is a little early. They don’t have any permission to do anything there.”

She also indicated that the upcoming meeting is public, and everyone is welcome to offer input, but she emphasized that abutters’ comments hold extra weight.

Gomez also spoke about plans she had seen that day, which were sent to the Inspectional Services Department. However, it should be noted that she was unsure if those plans would be the same ones presented on Thursday.

“From what I can see, it doesn’t have seating for 40 people. It looks like if the 40-person occupancy that they’re going to have — it’s going to be standing room — I think they have three tables and then a bar.” 

She also mentioned that she would check whether the proposal would have to go through the city’s zoning process.

Ultimately, residents are urged to attend the meeting, whether on their own through Zoom or at the aforementioned HVNA showing. The HVNA will convene again on August 5th as the group will take the month of July off.

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