Villa Mexico Café failed to win the support of the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Zoning and Licensing Committee last week for the restaurant’s proposed move to a new location at 12 Grove St.
The committee decided by a vote of 12-3-3 Wednesday to oppose the applicant’s request for the zoning relief and licenses that would allow it to open a small take-out and delivery restaurant in a residential district at Cambridge and Phillips streets.
At the new location, Villa Mexico would occupy approximately 320 square feet on the street level and offer no on-site seating. Proposed hours of operation would be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with an opening time of 8 or 9 a.m.
Attorney Richard Lynds represented Julie King and her daughter Betsy, who have operated the business at Grampy’s gas station at 296 Cambridge St. for approximately five years.
“The desire is to stay in the neighborhood to serve the many customers and clientele that Judy has served over the years,” Lynds said, adding that the applicant would enter into a five-year lease for the space, with the option of renewing for an additional five years.
Betsy King said the restaurant would be equipped with an internal, state-of-the art ventilation system to mitigate impacts on neighbors, including the residents of five apartments also located in the building.
Trash would be stored behind the property at 5 Grove St. and picked up twice each week.
“The fact that trash is coming into the alley is a major issue,” said one resident of 5 Grove St. “I love your restaurant and want to see it succeed, but not on that part of the Hill.”
Others expressed concern that the operation could result in increased foot traffic and rodents in the area, as well as decreased property values for nearby homes.
BHCA President Steve Young encouraged the applicant to look at other options, including the possibility of sharing a retail space with another business.
“There’s not a lot of encouragement for moving the restaurant into that location,” Young said. “I hope the owners could work with the Civic Association to find creative ways for them to work with other retail spaces. Let’s work together to find the right location for this operation.”
Meanwhile, Lynds said Villa Mexico would soon be forced from its current location and cautioned that an interruption could prove detrimental for the business.