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Southie Starbucks Community Meeting in a nutshell

More than 100 people filled the cafeteria at the Tynan School in Southie to discuss the proposed Starbucks at the corner of L and Broadway on Monday evening. Neighborhood Coordinator for the mayor’s office of neighborhood service, John Allison was on hand as moderator.

Starbucks was also on hand with two attorneys and two managers/community outreach. Irene (community outreach) from Starbucks presented to the crowd. She stated that they were at the meeting to address concerns and questions. She spoke about how Starbucks could basically be customized to fit community needs. She said is should be a positive addition to the community and couldn’t wait to be part of the neighborhood. The issues from the last community meeting were also addressed like trash, traffic and public safety.

The floor was then opened up to questions/concerns. Southie resident, Julie Galgay kicked off the concerns with fear of public safety at the intersection, traffic, and the lack of support Starbucks would give local organizations and charities. She also listed the lack of time between community meeting and hearing on Wednesday to address the issues.

Starbucks stated they have been meeting with our local elected officials since the last meeting to address concerns about traffic, trash and public safety.

Ryan Millerwho started the pro Starbucks petition – was up next. He stated that there are double parking and traffic issues all over South Boston , not just this intersection. He believes that is an issue for enforcement not Starbucks. He thinks Starbucks will be a great addition to the neighborhood since we lack a coffee shop with later hours and fast wifi.

Joanne McDevitt from East Broadway also brought up the issue of traffic, public safety, and congestion with all the buses. She believes adding a Starbucks to that corner will just magnify the issues. Southie resident Rich Evans from the Gate of Heaven Neighborhood Association said they were in support of the Starbucks and thinks the issues that Joanne brought up are not a businesses issues but the City of Boston’s issues.

Timmy Foley – attorney for Starbucks – states that maybe the traffic issues should be a separate meeting held by the City of Boston. Another Southie resident sited the Harvard Study that showed that a Starbucks in the neighborhood helps the community.

One resident who lives directly next to the proposed Starbuck is in support of it. He stated it’s always a bad idea when neighborhoods stop businesses from coming into town.

South End resident who lives directly next to a Starbucks for 17 years shares her experience with the coffee chain as a neighbor. “In 17 years, I’ve only had 4 or 5 issues and Starbucks always quickly addressed them.” She also went on to say they are great neighbors.

The topic of Mom and Pop shops being put out of business was brought up. One resident concerned that the chain will affect small independent coffee shops. She went on to say that those small businesses are the ones that support South Boston sports organizations, charities and local non-profits. She is concerned that Starbucks will not support those organizations and will impact the businesses that do support those local organizations.

Starbucks stated that it will work with these local organizations and support them in any way they can. This issues is brought up over and over again in different shapes and forms with always the same answer. “Yes, we will support local organizations, charities and sports in South Boston.”

Southie resident and owner of Mutts in the City, Sean Quirk mentions that he already has met with the local manager of the potential Starbucks at L and Broadway and the South Boston Mom’s Club.

One resident asks for a show of hands for support of Starbucks. John Allison quickly puts the kibosh on that and says it’s not a good judge of true support or opposition.

The meeting then quickly wrapped up. A hearing for the common victualler license will be held on Wednesday, August 17th at 10am. Meeting adjourned. Residents then gathered in groups and threw shade at the other side.  All in all this meeting was very civil and Starbucks seems sincere in their promise to work closely with the neighborhood and will work hard to be a good neighbor.

We shall see, Southie. But if I were a betting gal, I’d say the City of Boston will most likely approve the cv license.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Steve says

    Good summary. Well balanced. I think that the process seems to have worked out well in that all perspectives had time to be aired. Unlike in the initial decision that seemed to be influenced by a limited group of people. I think if broader input and discussion were included in the aesthetics of the parking area near the Post Office, it wouldn’t look as gruesome.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed for some ready access to Pumpkin Spice latte this fall.

  2. Joanne says

    Businesses have a responsibility to address parking concerns in front of their buildings . By ignoring resident and Abutters on Broadway concerns about safety and congestion is not being socially responsible .

    Ultimately BTD and BPD have to start enforcing double parking .

  3. Eric Kozlowski says

    FInally Michael Norton wins an event at the Tynan School. Years of frustration at the Tynan losing to Kids from the Point has led Norton to the brink of success with Starbucks. Only coffee bigots can object to this iconic company gracing our presence at L and B’Way. Maybe the tie ups at L street will keep the suburbanites from turning our neighborhood into an expressway. Norton is the Nostradamus of the caffeinated crowd. The “Better People” declare victory and head home to their condo roof decks. Norton beats the phoney baloney City Point Association once again like a drum. All,is right with the world, Southie Style. See you at Starbucks for a Chai Tea.?

  4. Charlie says

    I find it so hypocritical that many of the people of Southie have basically gotten BTD to be lenient (i.e. allow with no punishment) double parking all over Southie (they even got the city to scrap plans for bike lanes on Broadway because of it), but they then use “double parking and traffic” as a reason to oppose new businesses that don’t meet their liking. Guess what? When you don’t enforce double parking, it screws up traffic! You can’t have it both ways.

    (Also, if people are having to double park because they aren’t able to find parking to pop in and out of a business, that sounds like a problem with the parking regulations themselves, not the enforcement of them. Perhaps there needs to be more 15 minute parking zones in front of some of the businesses. Unfortunately, it seem like many people double park out of laziness rather than necessity, because much of the time there is a space available 3-4 car lengths away from where they are double parking.)

    Also, what’s the deal with extorting “donations” from businesses in order to move into a neighborhood. Even if Starbucks decided that they weren’t going to donate to any of these so-called wonderful local organizations, they are under no obligation to do so, and certainly shouldn’t have to promise to just to get a license to operate. Are they better neighbors if they do donate? Of course. But by no means should that be a requirement.