The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved plans by Giacomo's, 355 Hanover St., to add tables with a total of 20 more seats on the second floor, and by Fortella in North Square to expand into a neighboring space and add 12 seats.
The space Giacomo's will use for new tables was already part of the restaurant but had been used for things such as storage and food preparation.
The Northeast Waterfront Council supported the proposal. The North End Waterfront Residents Association, however, opposed it, partly over safety issues related to the roof, partly because of concerns about adding still more restaurant capacity in what could be Boston's most restaurant-dense neighborhood.
The mayor's office and the offices of City Councilors Lydia Edwards and Annissa Essaibi-George and state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz supported the proposal.
Both local organizations supported plans by Forcella owner Nino Trotta to expand into a neighboring storefront - which had been vacant for some 20 years.
His plans call for a doorway to connect the two sections. Because the buildings share a party wall, that raised fire safety issues, but Trotta's engineer came up with a solution: A fire-safe door normally kept open that would slam shut should a fire or smoke alarm go off - through a system in which the alarm would automatically disable the magnet that would normally keep the door open.