Wednesday, March 30, 2011

B Street B Racks

Updated: According to Aldercritter Hess-Mahan in the comments, Beacon Street only reimbursed the city for installation and that the cost was covered by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Makes the condition a little more palatable.

As attentive readers may recall, as part of the absolutely correct decision to grant B Street (then Pie) a parking waiver, the Land Use committee extorted from negotiated with the owners a commitment to pay for installation of food-themed bike racks.

Here they are. Around the corner from the restaurant and in front of a bank.

Maybe it's wishful thinking. With the way things are going in Newton Centre, maybe the tide has turned and the bank will be replaced by a restaurant. Doubt it.

The likelier explanation is that there is no room in front of the restaurant. The sidewalk is too mean and narrow.

At a minimum, though, the B Street-supplied racks ought to have some permanent recognition that they were donated by bStreet.


Ted said...

Oy! "Extorted"? Really? Please!

The special permit laws provide that when a special permit granting authority (SPGA) approves a special permit, it may impose conditions that are intended to mitigate the impact of the project. That is exactly what the Land Use Committee and the Board of Aldermen, as the SPGA, did in this instance. The BOA granted a special permit waiving the requirement that B Street provide additional parking in Newton Centre for its proposed expansion. As a condition, Land Use proposed, and B Street agreed to require bike racks that were intended to encourage people to ride their bicycles to Newton Centre instead of driving their cars, thereby reducing the demand for parking spaces.

As the Chairman of the Land Use Committee, I have worked tirelessly with the planning department and my colleagues trying to erase the antiquated and incorrect notion that every special permit requires a "public benefit," which has no basis in the law and bears the indicia of paying "tribute" rather than providing mitigation for the impact of special permit projects.

Please do not unfairly malign our efforts to improve the special permit process. I am also working on amending the parking regulations. But until they are changed, we must apply the law as it is written.

By the way, I will look into having its contribution of the bike racks attributed to B Street. The owners only had to pay for the installation and shipping costs of these bike racks, the costs of which were reimbursed through a program under the auspices of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

Ald. Ted Hess-Mahan
Land Use Committee Chairman
Newton Board of Aldermen

Adam said...

It's slightly off topic, but these racks are located on recently reclaimed pavement. It's a small but smart improvement by the city.

Anonymous said...

Oh. I thought these were insouciant, frisky "public art." Glad to know they came with utilitarian and functional intentions. Warren

Ely said...

I have personally and publicly apologized to Alderman Ted. Hess-Mahan for the use of the word extorted. My intent was simply to comment on the fact that the donation to the city was a requirement of the approval of the special permit. Unfortunately, Mr Hess-Mahan has chosen not to accept my apology. Mr Hess- Mahan was a strong supporter of our new concept and for that I am grateful to him. I believe that his efforts to mitigate the parking congestion in Newton Center are are sincere.
EK, B Sreet Restarant & Bar