Controversy Erupts at Local Meeting on Factory Variance

Residents turned out in force to denounce the eff ort to locate a tortilla factory in a small commercial space in Chelsea’s Historic District. Shown above is the meeting being held in the Chelsea Police Station with some of those who attended.

About 15 members of the Lower Broadway community exchanged sometimes heated and passionate feelings about the proposed tortilla factory, which seeks to move into the old Kayem property on Winisimmet Street if the city’s zoning board of appeals allows it.

The meeting was held Tuesday night in the community room at the Chelsea Police Station.

Fourteen residents firmly against the proposal expressed their beliefs that the tortilla factory in that building on that street at this time is clearly ill-advised.

Richard Smigielski, a powerful voice in that community for a lifetime said he was baffled by anyone supporting such a use for the property.

“We have fought for years against odors, trucks, smells, and rodents in this neighborhood. Why, after decades of hard work by the neighbors to fight objectionable elements would we want to grant multiple special permits to take a giant step backward?” Smigielski asked.

Two residents in favor of the factory made brief comments but the evening was largely left to the opponents, who dominated the discussion and who complained about the planned extended hours of operation, noise from truck traffic, smells, rodents and pests, fire hazard and lower property values.

Every resident opposed to the project said they believed the project would lower property values.

“I’m out of here if that factory comes to be,” one resident said her tenant informed her last week.

Another resident said she would never have bought here if a tortilla factory were operating in that location.

Many property owners in attendance said they would file for tax abatements en masse if the use is granted.

A Pembroke Street resident, Howard Basinger, called the Chelsea Record Wednesday morning.

“I have many complaints about this factory that is coming. I live right across the street from it. I don’t want the noise, the heat, the rodents. I’m against it all the way,” he said.

A list of those in attendance is as follows:

Marc Hagelstein, Beacon Street, Lisa Tansey, Medford Street, Johnny Chiro, Washington Avenue, Linda Stefanowitz, Tremont Street, Michael Scola, Renee Drive, Wakefield, Richard Smigielski, Medford Street, Miriam Pancatore, Beacon Street, Darryl Smith, Beacon Street, Judy Parisella, Beacon Street, John Kennard, Chelsea, Taura Summit, Beacon Street, Nancy Cohn, Pembroke Street, Alan Cohn, Beacon Street, Matt Phelan, Beacon Street. Gina Malvarosa, Pembroke Street, Carol Brown, Beacon Street and Arnold Jarmak, Pembroke Street.

Also in attendance were the brokers seeking to sell the property.

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