save_davis_sq (save_davis_sq) wrote in davis_square,

Stand up for Davis Sq. - Say NO to national franchises and help keep Davis Sq. uniquely independent!

The time has come to stand up for Davis Square and to say NO to the national franchises that are slowly taking over the square.  Davis Square is a thriving neighborhood because of the diverse and independent mix of businesses that have invested in the community.  Unfortunately this uniqueness is at risk because the multi-national franchises are starting to flex their muscles and push out the locals.  We have a Dunkins, McDonalds, Starbucks, CVS, Orange Leaf, and now the latest entry is Pinkberry, which has a Special Permit application for 263 Elm Street before the Somerville Zoning Board.  Pinkberry is applying for special permits to open a "Fast food establishment" as well as a special permit for relief from the required parking.  According to the planning staff report, In special permit applicaions for fast-order, take-out or automobile oriented food establishments, there shall be establishment of a need for such a facility in the neighborhood or in the City, and impacts on traffic circulation, parking and visual, physical, or historical characteristics of the particular location shall not be detrimental.  The Pinkberry application will negatively impact the square as they will not be providing the (6) parking spaces the change of use requires and moreover, there is no "need" for such a facility in the square with (3) shops (JP Licks, Orange Leaf, iYO cafe) with the same use all located within two blocks from each other.  A diverse retail mix makes for a stronger community.  Perhaps a flower shop or gift store?  We also have to ask ourselves if we want Davis Square to go by the way of Harvard Square and turn into a glorified urban mall?   If you want to help preserve the uniqueness that is Davis Square then it is time to make your voice heard.   Here are a few ways: (trying all 4 would be the loudest)

1: Attend the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing in person and speak your mind 

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, 06:00 PM

City Hall - Aldermanic Chamber
93 Higland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143

and/or

2. Call or send an email to the board by contacting the ZBA adminisrator: 

Dawn Pereira
617-625-6600 x2533
DPereira@somervillema.gov

and/or

3.  Contact the local alderman Rebekah Gewirtz

Rebekah.gewirtz@gmail.com
617.718.0792

and/or

4. Sign the online petition

http://www.change.org/petitions/somerville-ma-zoning-board-of-appeals-deny-the-special-permit-application-for-pinkberry-in-davis-square

This is the first step.  Please help start the public conversation on what kind of community we want Davis Square to be in the future.
Tags: community issues, development, froyo, local government, restaurants
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