19-story tower proposed for edge of Bay Village

A small parking lot next to a large parking garage on Stuart Street could be replaced by a 131-unit residential building, under plans filed with the BPDA this week.

Developers Peter Spellios, Neal Howard and Bryan Lee hope to succeed where two previous - and smaller - proposals, in 2006 and 2008, failed at 212 Stuart St.

Their plans call for retail space on the building's first floor. No parking is included in their plans, but they say they would have a lease for 50 spaces in the neighboring 200 Stuart St. garage.

The developers hope to begin 20 months of construction in the last part of next year.

In their filing, they say they'd be doing the area a solid by replacing a blighted parking lot with something worth having:

Located at the edge of Bay Village and Back Bay, the Project will be a part of the transition between the two neighborhoods, and frame the Church Street pedestrian gateway to the Bay Village neighborhood from the north. The materials and form of the building are proposed to connect to both neighborhoods, while being a unique focal point in the skyline. The ground floor will include retail space to activate the Stuart Street corridor. The plaza located to the west of the site is also proposed to be improved as part of the Project. This improved plaza is envisioned to include new landscaping and hardscapes to provide an aesthetically pleasing gateway into Bay Village. In order to respect the Bay Village neighbors to the south of the site, pedestrian access and the loading bay will only be accessible from Stuart Street. Furthermore, the Project’s housing component and single small scale retail space will blend with the existing uses of the predominantly residential neighborhood. As a true connector to its surroundings, the building will fill the void in the Stuart Street corridor bringing together the streetscape from west to east, and the neighborhoods from north to south.

From the BPDA filing:

Proposed 212 Stuart St.

The current view:

Current 212 Stuart St.

212 Stuart St. project notification form (73M PDF).

MBTA, Amtrak close to settling Northeast Corridor dispute that threatened to end Acela service to Boston

The two rail operators are telling a federal judge they're maybe a month away from resolving a $29-million dispute over the cost of Northeast Corridor service in Massachusetts.

US District Court Judge Mark Wolf today gave the two sides until next Thursday to either file a formal request to have him dismiss the case or explain why he shouldn't.

The MBTA sued Amtrak in January after an interstate commission voted to begin charging the T fees for service on the Northeast Corridor between Rhode Island and South Station, a similar arrangement to how Amtrak operates in other states along the Northeast Corridor.

The difference, though, is that, unlike in other states, Massachusetts owns the tracks rather than Amtrak.

The ruling would have superseded a cost-sharing agreement between the T and Amtrak, in which the T agreed to let Amtrak use its tracks at no charge and to control train dispatching - which gives Amtrak trains priority over MBTA commuter trains - in exchange for the T picking up maintenance costs for tracks and signals.

At one point, the court dispute grew heated enough that Amtrak said it would have to consider ending Acela service in Providence if the MBTA didn't start paying up.

Man who choked, punched and slapped girlfriend objects to being told he can never contact her again; court says too bad, the order stands

The Massachusetts Appeals Court today upheld a permanent stay-away order for a man who repeatedly abused his girlfriend, culminating in a 2013 incident in which, in a drunken rage, he choked her, stuck his fingers down her throat, punched her several times in the side and in the genitals, slapped her at least 15 times, asked her if she was ready to die and, when she managed to briefly escape and lock herself in the bathroom, broke down the door and pushed her up against the wall and held her there by her neck.

In the weeks following that incident, the man agreed to a restraining order. In the meantime was charged with domestic assault and battery - for which he received a continuance without a finding provided he stay out of further trouble during a five-year probationary period.

A year after getting the first 209A domestic-abuse order, his now ex-girlfriend applied to make the order permanent, and a judge agreed.

The man appealed that ruling saying he had stayed out of trouble and away from the woman, which meant the permanent order was invalid because she had failed to prove she had a "reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm."

Sorry, pal, the appeals court ruled today.

"Reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm" is only one of three possible forms of abuse and reason for a restraining order, the court said: Another is when the defendant is "attempting to cause or causing physical harm."

[T]he plaintiff sought protection because the defendant already had caused actual physical harm to her, which constitutes abuse as defined in G. L. c. 209A, § 1(a). We recognized this distinction in Callahan v. Callahan, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 369, 373-374 (2014). There we said that where the victim already had been subject to physical harm, "the 'abuse' is the physical harm caused, and a judge may reasonably conclude that there is a continued need for [an] order because the damage resulting from that physical harm affects the victim even when further physical attack is not reasonably imminent." ...

"[A]buse occasioned by physical harm may cause wounds that produce long-lasting fear in the victim without new incitements." Callahan, supra at 377. ...

Where there has been actual physical "abuse" within the meaning of G. L. c. 209A, § 1(a), and the victim is still "suffering from" that abuse in that the victim reasonably remains in fear of the abuser, the victim "may file a complaint
in the court requesting protection from such abuse."

And the woman provide sufficient proof that she was still suffering from that abuse - she testified she was reluctant to appear in court with the defendant, that Boston is a small town and that she serves on the board of a local alumni group for the out-of-state college the two attended - where the man's father is a trustee.

Although the defendant himself had not come to any alumni events that the plaintiff had attended, his name was on the list for one such event, and she testified that, as a "precaution, [she] had [her] parents be around the corner [at] every event."

The court also noted the nature of the sentence the man received:

The fact that the defendant here was at liberty on probation at the time of the extension, if anything, heightens the need to protect the victim from the impact of the violence already inflicted.