Pizza 19 plans to open this week, neighbors not happy

Pizza 19 owner Pedro Franco told selectmen last night he hopes to open his new pizza shop at 150 Framingham Road later this week. That may make pizza lovers in town happy, but it doesn’t please some of the residents who live nearby.

Franco was before the Board of Selectmen seeking his Common Victualler’s license. The board ultimately granted it to him, but not before a lengthy discussion with neighbors who don’t want a restaurant in what is primarily a residential area.

While the mint green 2-story house at the corner of Framingham Road and Newton Street is zoned residential, a variance issued in 1967 has allowed restaurants to operate there for more than 40 years. But neighbors say the nature of the restaurants has changed in recent years.

“I would not be happy to see a pizza place there,” Cross Street resident Joanne McCandles said. “It changes every six months. It just seems like it’s gone really downhill.”

“They’re not part of the neighborhood,” Newton Street resident Joanne Pearson told selectmen. “They have no stake in the neighborhood.”

The site has a spotty track record, with a number of businesses coming and going over the years. Before Pizza 19, the property was home to Town Line Deli for about a year. The popular Benchmark Deli operated on the site for 15 months before that. And before Benchmark it was home to Bar-BQ-Express, Monk’s Cafe, and Elliot’s Restaurant to name a few.

Many who opposed the pizza place are longtime residents of the neighborhood, and they recalled when the family who lived in the house was the one who operated the restaurant there.

Selectmen voted to approve the operating license for Pizza 19, saying the business wasn’t substantially different than others that have operated on the site before it. The approval paves the way for the pizza place to open later this week.

But the battle is not over for Pizza 19 owner Franco. Newton Street resident David McIntire said neighbors have appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, claiming the site and the business is in violation of a number of zoning regulations.

The ZBA is expected to hold a hearing on the matter at their meeting on March 2. If they rule in favor of the neighbors, Pizza 19 could be forced to close.

Selectman John Rooney urged Franco to seek counsel in preparation for the hearing with the ZBA. He also had a bit of advice for the business owner.

“The success of your business is not dependent on the number of pizzas you sell. You don’t have to be just a good neighbor, you have to be a great neighbor,” Rooney said. “You need to partner with them to be successful.”

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Jim Tobin
12 years ago

Interesting situation. Perhaps it is time for the town to address the question of the curb cut on the property facing Newton Street. Was it authorized by the town? If not, why hasn’t the town forced the owner to fix it? Recall the prior business had to keep a yellow tape barrier up to prevent patrons from leaving onto Newton St because it is dangerous.

Also, perhaps it is time for the town to address the many different people living in that building that was once a single family residence over the breakfast restaurant. Was it called Maureen’s? Does the current use constitute a rooming house and is that allowed under the zoning and town bylaws?

The neighbors have put up with a lot over the years and the town should look into this situation.

Cant wait to leave
12 years ago

We need to remember Southborough is a community of opportunity, if we can’t keep this in mind we are not a solid town. Lets give new businesses a chance, and see what they have to offer before we shut them down or hinder them in any way. Everyone one else has had a chance to show what they have to offer, not every one has the opportunity these days to open a business in this town due to difference of opinion. In these difficult times everyone should have a chance to shine regardless of the failures in historic pasts of this location. Southborough Needs this and we should all be supportive of ANY New ventures coming to town. Although regretfully this has hindered my open mind ness, to want to open any business in this area.

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