For 20 minutes today, a meeting of the Boston Licensing Board became a battleground for the very soul of Allston.
In one corner, a Domino's franchise owner who wants to be able to deliver pizza until 3 a.m. every night of the week and the night owls who vow to consume its food. In the other corner, the Allston Civic Association and residents who say they just want to be able to sleep through the night. In the middle: The three members of the licensing board, who vote tomorrow on whether to let the franchise extend its hours to 3 a.m. every day, rather than just on Fridays and Saturdays.
Willam Mohan, a consultant to Domino's, said the issue was not really pizza but the benefits late-night pizza delivery would mean for the neighborhood: The extra hours would mean 12 new jobs - and he specifically cited single moms wondering how they would pay for doctor visits as an example of the sort of people Domino's would hire. More drivers would mean safer streets because they would call 911 if they saw any shady characters lurking about. And last pizza at 3 a.m. would mean fewer drunks roaming the streets of Allston because they'd be calling Domino's to deliver.
Mohan said it's not the 1980s anymore and people have to realize that Allston is a changed neighborhood, full of people who are up in the wee hours and who need something to eat. Residents who supported the application said Allston is now full of residents who work late shifts who need what one called Domino's "healthy" food and who should be afforded the same conveniences as residents who work more traditional hours.
Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association, countered he is tired of people telling him he has to accept noise and inconvenience as part of living in a city. City residents deserve the quiet enjoyment of their homes as much as anybody else and every time somebody like Domino's extends their hours, that's more time that commercial enterprises intrude on residential spaces.
Berkeley was supported by a woman with a young child:
Both sides stumbled on contradictions. Mohan said Domino's is already legally delivering at all hours of the night in Allston - but from stores in Fenway, where it closes at 3 a.m., and Mission Hill, where it never closes. If so, why is an Allston outlet so vitally important? On the other side, Berkeley did not answer why, if Domino's is already delivering so late in Allston, moving the delivery site closer to customers will make that much of a difference.
The mayor's office and city councilors Mark Ciommo and Steve Murphy opposed the proposed license extension.