The outrage of Codman Square residents who recently learned Popeyes was building an outlet where it had been denied permission two years ago could lead to new regulations that require companies to notify neighbors of even proposed projects that meet all zoning requirements.
City Council President Andrea Campbell on Wednesday asked the council for a hearing to consider how to require companies such as Popeyes to notify and then meet with nearby residents even if they don't need zoning permission - which would normally be the trigger for neighborhood notification.
The Board of Appeals denied permission for the fried-chicken outlet in 2016 after nearby residents cried foul over a place that would add fat-laden food to the neighborhood. Rather than re-apply for permission for a new restaurant, it said it was merely modifying an existing restaurant at 572 Washington St., which would not require zoning approval.
Campbell said today she would want to sit down with planners from BPDA to figure out how to keep this from happening again.
Campbell added she might seek additional regulations on fast food after hearing suggestions from Codman Square residents that it might be time to let neighborhoods limit the total number of unhealthy food outlets in a given stretch. The city already has a similar geographic restriction for marijuana dispensaries and shops.
Fellow councilors supported Campbell, and voiced other complaints about how residents get notified about new projects. Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said the current city distance of 300 feet for abutter notification "is ridiculous." Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) said he's annoyed that developers who get deferrals from the Board of Appeals don't have to notify residents of new hearing dates, which leads to hearings where it seems like nobody opposes a project because residents didn't know of the new date and so did not attend.