November 27, 2018 Meeting Minutes

St. Mark’s Area Civic Association

Minutes of the November 27, 2018 Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 PM.  There were 31 souls present. 

Officer Mike Keaney reminded us that the C11 annual holiday party will be held on December 14 at the Elevator Union Hall.  People are encouraged to donate toys at C11 on Gibson Street.  Volunteers to help wrap the gifts are also needed.  The party is by invitation only and flyers are being distributed in English, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean Creole.  The party is limited to 275 kids in what Officer Mike calls “controlled chaos”.  For crime statistics he reported that drugs, robberies, and domestic violence is down.  Homicides are up, but other crimes have been trending down.  There had been an uptick in B&E at commercial establishments, but with the arrest of 2 people, that is now going down.  Mike said that cars have been going slower.  There have been complaints about cars going faster, but the electronic signs don’t show that.


Supt. Richard Sullivan of the MBTA spoke about the T.  He reported that crime is down 64% from last year at Shawmut Station.  On November 7 a cell phone was robbed from a 45 year old and the robber knocked over a 65 year old woman.  A 14 year old kid was apprehended and is now in a diversion program.  There were 4 larcenies in the last 12 months.  The difference between larceny and robbery is that robbery constitutes a threat of force.  However, in Fields Corner crime is up 65%.  Larcenies are up 300%, mostly mikes not locked or secured with cheap locks.  Supt. Sullivan recommends using “U” shaped locks.  Sadly, Ashmont is up 100% in aggravated assaults, mostly among 14-18 year olds going after younger kids.  During school start/end times, there are an extra 6 or 7 officers on duty, but some kids still get away.  A Haitian group called the Back Black Money Gang has been problematic.  There is a “See Say” app in stores for phones.  This See Something Say Something app can be used to monitor online.  Take pictures and send them via the app.  Supt. Sullivan noted that there are now 65,000 kids between the 6th and 12th grades riding the T, whereas there used to be just grades 10-12.  If you are an adult, don’t engage the kids, they’ll attack you.  Use the app and give the T car number if you can see it.  Otherwise indicate where the train is located.


Firefighter Kenny Doneghey spoke about fire safety, especially during the holiday season.  He noted that people 65 and older are more apt to get burned in a fire.  His advice?  1) Don’t smoke in bed.  If you’re using oxygen?  Don’t blow us up! 2) Watch electrical items.  Keep heaters 3 feet away from drapes and don’t use extension cords or put wires under rugs.  3) Watch your food when you’re cooking.  If you live in an apartment building, stay away from elevators – use the stairs.  Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector and clean the filter in your dryer and in the outside vent.  If you have a Christmas tree, don’t overdo the extension cords or plug in too many lights into each other.  Feel the wires.  If they’re warm, you’re using too many.  At night close the bedroom door. If there is a fire, call 911 and say “I’m on the third floor and I can’t get out”.


Vice President Maddie Ribble read a letter authored by Mass Affordable Housing Alliance to UMass that we as a civic association would like to send regarding development.  The guidelines in the letter are similar to our own development guidelines.  The letter is general in nature and indicates that we would like to sit down with them and be part of the discussion.  A motion to sign the letter was made and passed with a vote of 19 Yes and 0 No.  


Joseph D. Feaster spoke on a proposal for 80-88 Welles Ave.  He had met with the Ashmont Hill Civic Association and the Greater Ashmont Main Streets.  The proposal is for 9 condos with 8 parking spaces at the rear.  Bill Paquette is the project architect.  There were a number of questions including the volume of trash generated and where it would be stored.  There were also concerns about parking since there would be less than 1.25 parking spaces per unit as stated in our guidelines.  The cost for the condos range from $500 to $550 thousand per unit.  When asked about the abutters’ view, it was reported to be “a resounding ‘no’ ”.  When asked if there were any affordable units, there are none, because they’re not required and there are no plans to provide one.  Development Committee Chair reported that the developer had made improvements to the original proposal, but there are still too many units for the size of the property.  A vote was taken and rejected with a vote of 3 Yes and 16 No.


Since SMACA does not meet in December, the Development Committee was given the authority to make a decision on the liquor license for Zia Gianna, especially since the consensus is that it is a good idea and Nino Barbalace (owner) has been a good neighbor.


Stephanie Acquodo gave a brief update on the plastic bag ban.


The meeting ended at 8:45.

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St. Marks Area Civic Association
The St. Marks Area Civic Association is a group of community conscious residents who want to improve the quality of life in our section of Dorchester. We meet in the lower hall of St, Marks Church, at 1725 Dorchester Ave on the last Tuesday of each month