Ferry Street Grill Owners Regroup after Strange ZBA Meeting Feb. 4

The owners of the Ferry Street Grill, who are proposing a 30-unit mixed-use building on the corner of Ferry and High streets, said they are re-grouping after a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Feb. 4 that left them nothing but confused.

“I think a lot of what they were talking about had nothing to do with us,” said Richard Aversa this week. “We tried to propose a quality building and keep the Ferry Street Grill, which is part of Everett now.”

“We’re going to regroup and figure out what we’re going to do next,” said his son. “Hopefully we’ll get more constructive things about what they want us to do.”

The meeting began with them proposing their 30-unit building that has four stories on top of two levels of parking – with the first floor also retaining the Ferry Street Grill restaurant, which Aversa’s wife operates.

However, that quickly changed gears when Chair Joe DeSisto and developer Greg Antonelli got into an exchange about parking. Antonelli has recently had a project on Broadway approved with no parking, and DeSisto has frequently shown continued frustration with that approval.

The Feb. 4 meeting was no exception, as the two got into a disagreement again, observers said, that had little to do with the plan for the Grill.

It was continued until the March 4 meeting.

That said, City Planner Tony Sousa said his office has had some long-standing issues with the development, noting that the massing is just too big and dense for the neighborhood.

“They are taking every inch of the land,” he said. “The size and massing of the building is too much for that parcel. The zoning ordinances on that neighborhood should be adhered to…If they right size the project and observe the setbacks, it would be a completely different project…If they followed the setbacks, it would not be 30 units, but a smaller project that would match to the neighborhood.”

Aversa said the building is as large as it is so that he could put so many parking spots onto the lot, knowing that the ZBA has expressed an interest in projects having the required parking.

He said parking is expensive, and to get a return on the building, it has to have that many units.

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