The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let Estelle's add twelve outdoor tables - six non-controversial ones on Mass. Ave. and six contentious ones on Tremont Street.
At a hearing this morning, a representative from the mayor's office asked the board to delay any decision until after she could schedule a meeting with the local community association to consider the Tremont Street tables, which would sit on a city sidewalk - and which still require a hearing before the city Public Improvement Commission even if the licensing board approves their use.
The local association wants the tables, which would have two chairs each, to be fully fenced in. Estelle's lawyer, James Byrne, said Estelle's engineer on the project has prepared plans for that, but that Estelle's would rather not have to put in a full fence, because that would block the patio off from the nearest restaurant door, making it more inconvenient for customers and staff to get to the tables. Instead, he said, Estelle's would rather have a more simple set of low barriers along the sidewalk.
After hearing that Estelle's owner Brian Poe, Byrne and Estelle's engineer have already met with neighbors six times over the issue of whether the tables should be fully fenced in or not, board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer said she was disinclined to force Poe to go through yet another neighborhood meeting.
"I don't know how much this attorney charges, but I'm sure it's not a penny an hour," she said. She said the Public Improvement Commission hearing will give any residents who really think the six seats should be fenced in another chance to air their grievances.
The Mass. Ave. tables do not fall under direct city purview because they'd be on privately owned land.