Impending Popeyes in Codman Square could spark new regulations on resident notifications

The outrage of Codman Square residents who recently learned Popeyes was building an outlet where it had been denied permission two years ago could lead to new regulations that require companies to notify neighbors of even proposed projects that meet all zoning requirements.

City Council President Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) today asked the council for a hearing to consider how to require companies such as Popeyes to notify and then meet with nearby residents even if they don't need zoning permission - which would normally be the trigger for neighborhood notification.

The Board of Appeals denied permission for the fried-chicken outlet in 2016 after nearby residents cried foul over a place that would add fat-laden food to the neighborhood. Rather than re-apply for permission for a new restaurant, it said it was merely modifying an existing restaurant at 572 Washington St., which would not require zoning approval.

Campbell said today she would want to sit down with planners from BPDA to figure out how to keep this from happening again. She said she is also concerned about a Taco Bell proposed for American Legion Highway in the Roslindale end of her district.

Campbell added she might seek additional regulations on fast food after hearing suggestions from Codman Square residents that it might be time to let neighborhoods limit the total number of unhealthy food outlets in a given stretch. The city already has a similar geographic restriction for marijuana dispensaries and shops.

Fellow councilors supported Campbell, and voiced other complaints about how residents get notified about new projects. Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said the current city distance of 300 feet for abutter notification "is ridiculous." Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) said he's annoyed that developers who get deferrals from the Board of Appeals don't have to notify residents of new hearing dates, which leads to hearings where it seems like nobody opposes a project because residents didn't know of the new date and so did not attend.

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Comments

Great for Lawsuits

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Don't like the zoning ... CHANGE THE ZONING. Stop whining if you didn't.

So ridiculous - as of right should be AS OF RIGHT not conditional upon blackmail demands and "but I don't want THAT". Get stuffed.

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Voting is closed. 65

Equal protection

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Boston's (and other nearby cities') approach to zoning and land use approvals is someday going to get them in a heap of trouble in court. Like it or not, in a free society the rules need to apply to everyone equally. There is no law or ordinance against fast food, and Popeye's is following the zoning code of what owners can do with their property as-of-right. Would the same objections be raised to a locally-owned fried chicken restaurant, or another chain that donated money to a city councilor's campaign?

If Boston wants to pass a law limiting fast food restaurants or chain restaurants, let's have that discussion. But we can't try to enforce a law that doesn't exist by dragging down the land use approval process, especially when the property owner is operating entirely within the zoning rules.

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Voting is closed. 52

Well, At Least Ronald Embraced Racial Diversity

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These children can't possibly represent the demographics of people in New Orleans who frequent Popeye's Fried Chicken.

Pushing such food, it's no wonder the hostess grew more and more obese over the years.

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Voting is closed. 18

Look To Nashua

As much as I hate to praise Cow Hampshire, Nashua (Read: New Hampshire's Norwood - Good Parts, Nice Parts, some small Downmarket Parts- though Nashua has many more, Highway Commercial Parts, Old Mills, etc), posts 2 x 3 signs outside a location in town that is the subject of a variance or zoning change request. It gives the date of the hearing and a summary of the proposed changes. I am sure this could be done in Boston and other towns.

Boston usually advertises a hearing in the small print section of the Herald. Legal, but not public friendly.

That being said - Codman Square is worried about bringing in a fattening restaurant that meets all legal requirements? They should worry more about curtailing the Mario Kart level driving between Washington Street and Blue Hill Avenue on Talbot Ave that is caused by people zooming down side streets. Putting an effort into that might save more people from bodily harm in an area that already has a mass of take out joints and has (had) a McDonald's.

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Voting is closed. 40

Read Up

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That being said - Codman Square is worried about bringing in a fattening restaurant that meets all legal requirements? They should worry more about curtailing the Mario Kart level driving between Washington Street and Blue Hill Avenue on Talbot Ave that is caused by people zooming down side streets.

Can’t the community care about more than one thing at a time? Aso, you need to read up. Codman Square was one of the first areas to take part in the city’s slow neighborhood initiative to slow down traffic. So they’re already doing it. Don’t decry an area if yiu don’t know what’s going on there. Peace.

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Voting is closed. 39

Great post

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All around

Love the sign idea.

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Voting is closed. 19

?

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Is the issue that they were not notified or that the neighborhood does not want Popeye's? If so, y not?

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Voting is closed. 25

Sure -

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lets put a kale and quinoa restaurant on every other corner because those will be SO popular.

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Voting is closed. 40

It sounds like

the deadbeat city councilors in question need to find themselves a job.

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Voting is closed. 29

so don't eat there

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it might be time to let neighborhoods limit the total number of unhealthy food outlets in a given stretch.

I have a lot of beef with capitalism, but at least in this case there's a very simple market solution for this problem.

meanwhile I would kill for another taco bell, the one on vfw parkway is always staffed by exactly one (1) indifferent teenager and it takes longer to get a chalupa than it would be to drive down to chipotle for actual food

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Voting is closed. 33

Advice for people who don't

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Advice for people who don't want it in the neighborhood: Don't go there. If they don't do enough business, they'll close. If they do, then it turns out the neighborhood actually wanted them. I'm tired of a handful of malcontents telling everyone else what to do.

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Voting is closed. 40

The basic problem is this concept of

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"the opposition is presumed to be right, and the proponent has to DISPROVE any and all claims they make." A basic premise of our justice system is supposed to be that burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused. When did this somehow get turned around?

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Voting is closed. 22

Sure, that's how the justice

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Sure, that's how the justice system works. That's not how zoning and the free market works though. Zoning says "you may open a business of type X in this location" which Popeyes is doing. The free market allows anyone to open a business who wants to. Whether that business succeeds or fails depend on how it is run and whether there is customer demand. If a community doesn't want to have certain types of businesses in their neighborhood, they need to proactively work with the city to change the zoning. The city cannot legally say no to specific business entities just because some people in the community don't like them. (Although in Boston it sure seems like they try to.)

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Voting is closed. 20

Happens A Lot of Places

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This is how some business got in to Roslindale.

Dominoes wanted to set up in Roslindale Village and the "healthy food" lobby got involved and the city didn't give them an OK to move in. Fast forward a few months and they buy out a restaurant a couple of blocks from there and simply move in. No one in the "village" cared because it was out of their zone of interest, yet it was still in Roslindale.

The Target move was similar. Again the "gentrifics" were all upset that the building was, AS OF RIGHT and a new commercial entity was moving in -- legally -- rather than getting their Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Let's frame that against Harvest just a mile from there that has been starving. And let's not forget it is the "gentrifics" that were anti-chain store except in the case of a Trader Joe's or Whol;e Foods. Hypocrisy. Don't think that this info, very accessible here and in social media, is escaping commercial developers. Indeed, they learned well from these venues.

Let's be frank here... the word is out. Commercial real estate agents know the score and are working around it. Roslindale people are in for a lot of disappointments as these people will circumvent the public process. Why? because they can. AS OF RIGHT means that setting up your business in a commercial zone is not a matter of a democratic decision by locals, many of whom don't even live within the abutter radius and act solely on personal politics or philosophies. Abutters who may be ok with such, be damned.

You only need to look at the so-called West Roxbury Council that sways a lot of 'who can do what' with people living on Washington Street voting as to what goes on at VFW Parkway. I mean.... really?

The whole "healthy foods" argument is very noble and an ideal to strive for but there could be some constitutional issues about limiting a person's freedom of choice (of what to eat). You don't tell people what grocery store to shop at or what they can buy there. Also does such a proposed regulation give neighboring communities an unusual advantage regarding business competition?

The CIty Council needs to do more than pay lip service to the constituency so as to keep their jobs for another 2 years. There are some very serious legal issues here that have to be well-thought-out by some sound legal opinions with case law to back it -- and case law is more than just comparing it to how another community got away with it, but has not seen any legal challenges yet. Lots of towns have regulations that would never stand a court challenge. They simply have yet to go that route for what ever reason, but eventually that day comes.

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Voting is closed. 29

Not to get into a Roslindale derail, but ...

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I didn't realize there were public meetings besides the ones I went to on both the Domino's and the Target.

Because in the case of Domino's the issue wasn't fast food per se (remember: it was going to go into the same building as the Subway) as traffic - both from cars and the fact that Domino's doesn't mean much foot traffic in a commercial district that really needs it. And as for Target, yeah, there are people in Roslindale who'd rather have a Trader Joe's, but the real issue was the impact on the Village Market and Sullivan's.

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Voting is closed. 23

I don't understand this at all

Why don't we want a Popeye's? It is not out of character for the area, there is a Subway, McDonald's and KFC in this area already. They don't need a takeout license, and they didn't ask for a zoning variance. Isn't some kind of violation of free speech to believe that a law abiding business can be blocked?

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Voting is closed. 28

If you want a diversity of local businesses ...

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... you can't do that by interposing lots of delays and hurdles for approval. It's not long before you have a situation where quite literally the only business that can wait out regulatory approval and pay for the necessary legal work are the big chains. That's why Harvard Square looks the way it does.

This Popeye's outlet will probably eventually get its way. If it were you or me, trying to open a store to sell our grandmother's recipe for fried chicken, we'd have to give up.

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What's wrong with Popeye's?

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What's wrong with Popeye's? It's deeelish. I schlep to American Legion when the craving hits bad.

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Voting is closed. 23

Oddly absent from the debate

Popeye's is, hands down, the *best* fast food. Come to JP if Codman Square doesn't want you (I'm sure the locals won't have a meltdown or anything).

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Voting is closed. 21

Chicken Outlet?

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Just one question...what the hell is a fried-chicken outlet? Is this where you buy the chicken farm 2nds or the damaged chicken?

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Voting is closed. 24