On 10/21/98, SAND members attended the following hearing and addressed Ms. Nancy Lo, Director of the Boston Licensing Board (comments presented follow). Subsequent to this hearing, the applicant's permit was not granted - it was suspended with a request to the applicant to seek community participation and support. SAND will be working with the applicant to improve his business proposal and to work in conjunction with residents and business owners in the Fort Point Channel community.
A public hearing will be held on Wednesday October 21, 11:00 AM at Boston City Hall (Government Center) in Room 801. The hearing is an invitation for the public to speak on the following permit application.
The applicant is: James Concannon
- The permit is for: The M/V Chelsea
- [the stationary red ferry and attached dock in the Fort Point Channel, near the Tea Party Ship]
- 300 Congress Street
The application is:
To operate and maintain a radio, cassette/compact disc player, jukebox, four TV's, four widescreen TV's, VCR, instrumental/vocal music (not to exceed 11 performers), disc jockey/karaoke, dancing by patrons, exhibition/trade show, 3 movie screens, stage play, floor show (to consist of a comedian and dance performances) and athletic event (to consist of rowing contests).
Said entertainment will be operated and maintained daily until 2:00 A.M.
Anyone wishing to speak on this matter is invited to attend the hearing. Written comments may be made prior to the hearing by writing to:
- Nancy Lo, Director
- Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing
- Room #817, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA 02201
- Tel 617-635-4165
- Fax 617-635-4174
SAND Comments to Licensing Board
- Nancy Lo, Director
- Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing
- Room 817, Boston City Hall
- Boston, MA 02201
- Dear Ms. Lo:
- Our community group, the Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) requests that the Licensing board deny a permit to the following applicant:
- Mr. James Concannon
- The M/V Chelsea, 300 Congress Street
- [stationary red ferry moored in Fort Point Channel basin]
- The application is:
- To operate and maintain a radio, cassette/compact disc player, jukebox, four TV's, four widescreen TV's, VCR, instrumental/vocal music (not to exceed 11 performers), disc jockey/karaoke, dancing by patrons, exhibition/trade show, 3 movie screens, stage play, floor show (to consist of a comedian and dance performances) and athletic event (to consist of rowing contests).
- Said entertainment will be operated and maintained daily until 2:00 A.M.
What is SAND's relationship to the Fort Point Channel?
- SAND is a community group based in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood, representing hundreds of area residents and business owners in the South Boston Seaport District development dialog. SAND is governed by a volunteer group of 10 core members and our community meetings regularly attract from 40-200 attendees. A visit to our website at www.seaportalliance.org should serve to you as an indication of our efforts to make the South Boston Seaport District a richly diverse, Boston-scale neighborhood.
- In our efforts to energize the public dialog regarding the future of the Fort Point Channel and Seaport District, SAND has opened discussions with many Seaport District property owners and developers (McCourt, Pritzker, Lemle, Massport, MBTA), the Boston Redevelopment Authority, political representatives (Sen. Lynch, Rep. Hart and a number of City Councilors), the Boston Society of Architects' Seaport Focus Team, the Children's Museum and many other interested constituents.
How has the M/V Chelsea served the Fort Point Channel neighborhood in the past?
- In general, Mr. Concannon has maintained the red ferry as an attractive, well-kept and character-rich neighbor.
- More recently, SAND members have discussed the expansion of Mr. Concannon's activities in the Fort Point Channel basin. These activities included the startup operation of a water taxi service, the installation of a mooring for a second cabin cruiser within a few yards of the M/V Chelsea, addition of submerged fountains in the Fort Point Channel basin, the slight adjustments to the M/V Chelsea's dock to accomodate changes.
- Whether or not the Boston licensing board had permitted these recent changes, none were addressed by SAND because Mr. Concannon and the M/V Chelsea continued to be perceived as a welcome complement to the community.
Has Mr. Concannon addressed the neighboring community with this new plan?
- At his request, Mr. Concannon met with a delegation of SAND core members and guests on October 14th, one week prior to the Licensing Board hearing. At this meeting, Mr. Concannon presented a business plan for converting and expanding the M/V Chelsea into a private rowing club.
- At our meeting on October 14th, Mr. Concannon did not mention his October 21 hearing with the Boston Licensing Board. With the exception of rowing, Mr. Concannon did not mention any of the activities stated in his permit application, nor were these activities included in Mr. Concannon's printed business plan distributed at this meeting (attached).
Mr. Concannon's proposal uses treasured public resources exclusively for private gain.
- As documented in Mr. Concannon's printed business plan for the M/V Chelsea, his plans do not expressly include any public amenities or public access. This dock and the M/V Chelsea already occupies a significant portion (roughly 1500-2000 square feet) of the public basin adjacent to the Tea Party ship and would -according to Mr. Concannon's business plan, expand to include a second, 'L'-shaped dock along Congress St.
- The club would be open to members who, after acceptance through an interviewing process and payment of an initiation fee ($250.00), would pay monthly dues - starting at $65.00/mo. At our October 14th meeting with Mr. Concannon, SAND expressed its concern about further use of the Fort Point Channel as a private playground for club members and corporate sponsors. We agreed to continue our discussions with Mr. Concannon regarding the future of the M/V Chelsea.
In summary, our opposition to this permit application is for the following reasons:
- The M/V Chelsea is one block from a residential neighborhood (Fort Point Channel). This neighborhood will be affected by all activities stated in the permit application, yet Mr. Concannon has made no attempt to apprise area residents of these plans.
- The future activation of the Fort Point Channel basin must be carefully planned in conjunction with immediate abutters (Children's Museum, Tea Party Ship), neighboring residential and business communities, and interest groups (Boston Harbor Association, WalkBoston, Conservation Law Foundation). These plans are vital to the success of the Boston Redevelopment Authority's South Boston Seaport District Master Plan scheduled for publication in November.
- The Fort Point Channel is a treasured public resource and Mr. Concannon's plans for activating the Fort Point Channel basin are exclusive, private and provide absolutely no public accommodation or benefit.
- The M/V Chelsea occupies space in the Fort Point Channel and should not be regarded by the licensing board as a private land owner.
- Mr. Concannon has applied for an activity permit to be approved without consideration of the full context -a nightclub including alcohol consumption. In fact, alcohol is to be provided and served on the M/V Chelsea by a caterer - allowing Mr. Concannon to circumvent a permitting process typically required of Boston nightclubs. We are opposed to the haphazard integration of Fort Point Channel waterside activities (rowing, dockside dancing, etc.) with alcohol consumption.
- We are concerned that during a meeting with community leaders one week prior to this hearing, Mr. Concannon was not forthcoming with his plans for the M/V Chelsea as a nightclub. He requested our group's support but did not present any information about activities presented in the permit application or notice of the hearing.
- Mr. Concannon's lack of regard for public process and its resources are best summed up by his own business plan for accepting members onto the M/V Chelsea. It states:
- "In most cases, fees have been set below the competing downtown sports facilities, but not so far below to lose an air of exclusivity which is important to the Club's character."
- The people of Boston deserve a better proposal for activation of the historic Fort Point Channel and we at SAND look forward to working with Mr. Concannon to help formulate such a plan - one that makes sense from both a business and a community perspective.
- Steve Hollinger
- On behalf of SAND
- The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design
- General Address and Info:
- SAND, c/o FPAC, 300 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210, 617-423-4299
- cc: City Council President James Kelly
- Senator Stephen F. Lynch
- Representative Jack Hart
- attachment: Boston Harbor Rowing Club Business Plan