Sold in Belmont: Million Dollar Townhouse on Trapelo (Yes, Trapelo) in Middle of the Action

Photo: I paid a million dollars for a house on Trapelo Road and all I got was a stinking common wall!

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316 Trapelo Rd., New construction condo townhouse (2015). Sold: $1,040,000.

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9 Summit Rd., Condo (2007). Sold: $1,230,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes”:

316 Trapelo Rd., New construction condo townhouse (2015). Sold: $1,040,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,900 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 85 days. 

9 Summit Rd., Condo (2007). Sold: $1,230,000. Listed at $1,289,000. Living area: 2,715 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 230 days.

How in demand is Belmont real estate? While not on the level of Boston’s Seaport District or East Cambridge, it’s hot enough to where you can sell a new townhouse condo on Trapelo Road, one of its busiest and bustling streets, for a cool million. 

And what do you get for seven figures, besides sharing a common wall – a million dollars can’t get you your own single family house … on Trapelo Road? – with the people who will purchase the adjacent townhouse? You’ll be good friends with the Belmont Fire Department as you’re a stone’s throw from the headquarters and directly across the street from the newest bank branch in town; TD Bank. On your right-hand side is the VFW (for now) and on the left a nice two-family appraised at $565,000. You’ll also be a minute’s walk away from Memorial Chapel and the always open LC Variety, the convenience store favored by people who hold up retail operations. With the traffic, fire engine sirens, traffic going into the bank and other events, hopefully the new owners are an adrenalin junkie.

One advantage will be soon-to-be-renovated tennis courts, and the likelihood PQ Playground (just out of your backyard) will undergo a sprucing up in the next few years. (As someone who lived next to open space – the Chenery playing fields – I can say there is far more upside than down living next to one.)

The original property was a quarter-acre vacant lot which was sold in October 2013 for $545,000 to Oteri Construction Inc. in Watertown, a good all-purpose contractor which will do jobs both big (like the Trapelo site) and small (repair a door lock) which is becoming a rare business in this age of specialisation.

The company then put aside $675,000 to construct a pair of townhouses – they probably couldn’t comfortably squeeze in two singles with setbacks and space between structures – on a good sized lot. Construction began last year this time. 

One place Oteri didn’t put much money into was the exterior, a design which is dank and uninspiring (Really? Grey for the shady side facing the street?) But what Oteri is known for is some outstanding interior work like his award-winning kitchen design and construction. The example here is from another project. The kitchen fireplace is a wonderful touch – referring back to the true nature of fireplaces in the history of homes. And what a smart way to incorporate skylights, grouped together in a single room. 

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(But I have to make down the plan due to the knee-jerk need for granite counters. It screams “Hello, 1982!” There are so many wonderful alternatives to ugly, cold granite; from Soapstone for around the stove top, to composites of stone aggregate and polymers, to my favorite, zinc, which is beautiful as it changes color over time.)

Back to the money: with purchasing the land, the material and construction costs (got to pay these guys with the hammers), think $1.3 million. You’ve just made all but $300,000 back and expect $900,000 for the second townhouse and you’re looking at $600,000 profit. And you get the sirens for free!

This Day, Monday, March 14: All Night With the Selectmen, Revere’s Disaster, PEEPS!

Photo: Book cover of Michael Greenburg’s The Court-Martial of Paul Revere: A Son of Liberty and America’s Forgotten Military Disaster.

  • The Board of Selectmen has a full and busy meeting that gets underway at 7 p.m., at Town Hall starting with an update on long-troubled Cushing Village, voting to approve a request of proposal for the Community Path feasibility study, the appointment of the building committee members overseeing the High School’s renovation, discuss the next step in tackling the pension unfunded liability and lots more. The estimated time for the meeting to end is 9 p.m. I say more like 10:30 p.m.
  • There will be a quick (!) meeting of the Municipal Light Board (made up of the Board of Selectmen) at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall to discuss the solar capacity limit now set at 1,000 kW. Increasing the number will allow more residents to install solar arrays, but that will cost money in lost revenue to Belmont Light. 

• A great talk from the Belmont Public Library’s Books and Bites Series: Author Michael Greenburg will discuss and read from his book The Court-Martial of Paul Revere: A Son of Liberty and America’s Forgotten Military Disaster, at 11 a.m. in the library’s Assembly Room.

Selected as a 2015 nonfiction “Must Reads Book” by the Massachusetts Book Awards, it is a riveting chronicle of Paul Revere’s only military service during the American Revolution in 1779, when certain victory quickly descended into a quagmire of arguing, disobedience, and failed strategy that was known as the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor. Revere spent the next several years of his life actively pursuing a court-martial, in order to resuscitate his reputation.

Michael M. Greenburg is an attorney and is also the author of The Mad Bomber of New York:  The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt that Paralyzed a City. All are welcome to attend this free program. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Refreshments will be provided. Sponsored by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library.

  • Do you look after young children during the week? The Belmont Council on Aging and Recreation Department are teaming up to offer free intergenerational activities on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 14-18. Monday’s event is a Magic Show for all ages at 1:15 p.m. Residents of Belmont and surrounding towns, age 60+, are eligible for lunch at the Beech Street Center, and are welcome to bring guests of any age with them. Please call 617-993-2970 by 11 a.m. to reserve lunch.

  • Easter must be near as the Belmont Public Library is the location for the assembling of Peeps dioramas from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the Flett Room.
  • Girls Who Code will be coding in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
  • Belmont Boosters will be meeting at 7 p.m. in Room 113 of Belmont High School.
  • Belmont Storm Water Working Group’s monthly meeting is taking place at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

Sports: Belmont Girls’ Hoop Dreams End to Watertown in Sectional Finals

Photo: Belmont players listening to Head Coach Melissa Hart as Watertown receives the Sectional trophy.  

The hoop dreams of Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball team came to an end at 8:37 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, as the final buzzer ended a brilliant two-week run of upsets and spirited play as arch rivals Watertown (once again) walked off the court at Woburn High School with their second consecutive Division 2 North title.

And as the Raiders swept onto the floor to accept its trophy, Belmont’s girls – many in tears –  circled arm in arm around their coaches, to hear why this loss did not define their season. 

“I think we tried our hardest, but the calls were not on our side in the second half, to say the least,” said Sarah Stewart, the senior co-captain who was its leader on and off the court.

After a first half in which Belmont executed its game plan to near perfection against the four-time consecutive North finalists (the past three years in Division 2 and the first in Division 3) to enter the half with a five-point lead, 26-21, the second half saw the Marauders slip from “drive” to “neutral” scoring just 20 points, five in the third quarter.

“Obviously, Watertown made and shots and we didn’t. Our defense was really good in the half, but we struggled with scoring,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart, who praised Watertown’s senior forward Katelyn Rourke, her division’s MVP, who along with junior center Shannon Murphy, scored 12 points, both making only two baskets while scoring eight points from the free throw line. 

“[Rourke] showed today why she’s the MVP. We should have adjusted better in the third quarter when she started to take command,” said Hart. 

The Raiders would also benefit from 16 minutes of generous officials whistles. While the free throws were slightly in Belmont’s favor in the first half, 18-13, the second half saw Watertown go to the line 25 times to Belmont’s nearly non-existent 6. At one point early in the fourth quarter, the team fouls benefited the Raiders 10-3.

“It’s tough when both teams are playing physical, and the fouls are so one-sided,” said Hart.

While reluctant to speak of the reason for the five-to-one margin in the second half, a seven-year-old son of a friend came to Hart to ask “Why didn’t they call the penalties?”

“What he said,” said Hart. 

If the game ended in heartbreak, it started as a mirror of the Marauders’ final five games in which the team played an aggressive defense that led its offense.

“We had been with each other since 10:30 [in the] morning, so we were like so sick of each other. But when we entered this gym, we were like sisters. And in the first half, we were like a family on the court,” said Stewart.

After allowing a quick basket, senior co-captain Samari Winklaar (5 points) hit two from the free throw line and sophomore Jenny Call (game-high 10 points) sunk the first of two threes to give Belmont the lead. 

Watertown’s senior Felicia Korte (11 points) made her own three to up the Raider lead by one, 7-6, only for Belmont sophomore all-star guard Carly Christofori (9 points) to hit her own three to recapture the lead, 9-7. Senior Irini Nikolaidis (3 points) drove the baseline to make the basket and hit the foul shot to increase the Marauders lead to 12-7. Finally, Stewart (7 points) threw in a long two to up Belmont’s lead by 7, 14-7, at the 2:20 mark. Belmont would take a 15-11 result in the second quarter.

On the defensive end, Belmont freshman center Jess Giorgio (2 points) made life miserable for Murphy, playing the Holy Cross-bound even up including stuffing the league all-star once (for a jump ball), causing a turnover and causing her to pick up three first half fouls. 

Watertown would knot the game up at 16 before Call hit a contested jumper to put Belmont in the lead again, 18-16.

If there could have been a turning point in the game, it occurred at the 4:20 mark when it appeared Christofori was fouled as she was making a driving basket. But the referee said the violation happened before the shot and disallowed the chance for a three-point play. 

On Watertown’s next possession, the gym erupted when it clearly appeared the Raiders’ guard was guilty of a carrying violation. The sequence ended with Watertown scoring to reduce its deficit to two, 20-18.

Belmont sophomore Greta Propp (2 points) and freshman point guard Meghan Tan (3 points) each hit a pair of free throws while driving Giorgio was fouled by Murphy. She made her two and Belmont would match its largest lead of 7 points, 26-19, and then take a five-point lead at the half.

“We were trusting on the court which was not the case in the regular season,” said Stewart. “Coming to the tournament, we really learned to trust each other. So when someone has the ball, they are going to do something best for the team, not just them,” she said.

The third quarter saw both teams up the defensive pressure with Watertown attempting to go inside at every chance while Belmont kept firing from the outside. Soon, Watertown was heading to the charity stripe while Belmont’s shots were rimming out. 

Watertown would take the lead when senior Nicole Lanzo (9 points) knocked in a straightaway three to give the Raiders’ a 29-26 lead. 

Then a Winklaar three followed by a Winklaar-to-Giorgio-to-Stewart jumper saw Belmont with the lead with 48 seconds remaining in the quarter. But a free throw each from Rourke and Murphy tied the score game up at 31 entering the final eight minutes. 

Rather than a free-flowing last quarter, the game was reduced to a seemingly constant trip to the free throw line for the Raiders as they went 11 for 15 from the line. Watertown would only make four baskets in the final 16 minutes, one less than Belmont.

An NBA-styled move in the lane from Christofori got Belmont within a single possession at 40-37 with three minutes to go. But even when Murphy fouled out with 1:40 remaining, Belmont could not come closer than Call’s final points, a three, to cut the lead to the final score. 

For Stewart, the team came one game short of its goal of making it to the TD Garden for the Eastern Massachusetts. But the past fortnight, the girls created a unique experience in defeating three higher seeds and came together as a group.

“This team, this year, was definitely a huge challenge to be a captain because there were so many players (18 during the season). We were scared at first but having a big team changed us because everybody brought something to the table, and that’s what made us-us. And that’s what brought the team this far,” she said, finally flashing a smile. 

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Marauders Sets Sight on North Championship vs Rival Watertown

Photo: Head Coach Melissa Hart at practice.

During a short break at Thursday’s practice, Belmont High Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Melissa Hart points to a team title banner high on the wall of the Wenner Field House, as her team searched for the last time the girls won a sectional championship.

“State Championship Girls Soccer” the banner reads. Hart knows it’s up there because she was the team’s goalkeeper.

“And we also started against Marblehead,” said Hart, referring to the first playoff game her team won, just like the team she now coaches.

Soon afterwards, it was back to practice: running plays, three-on-three full court games, and running “suicides.” The drills have a lighthearted feel as the girls demonstrate a comfortable comradery found on teams with a special chemistry.

After practice ended, Hart looked back at the wall.

“I want these girls to have a banner up there,” she said,

That wish continues on Saturday night, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the Woburn High School gym when Hart’s Marauders will battle traditional and historic rival, neighboring Watertown High School for the Division 2 North championship which the Raiders won last year.

The road to the championships has been a thriller as the 10th-ranked Marauders have upset the 7th (Marblehead), 3rd (Arlington Catholic) and the 2nd (Newburyport) seeds, twice on the road and the last game on a neutral site. It’s a run that many outside of Belmont didn’t really see happening coming into the tournament at 11-9, having badly stumbled in the middle of the season.

But over the final two weeks of the regular season and during this run, the team has begun to come together, working confidently on both sides of the ball. Unlike earlier in the season, including it league game with Watertown, the girls are unlikely to panic or play scared when pressured by good players and teams.

In each of its playoff games, Belmont has faced deficits – in the last two, falling behind in the second half – only to continue to play their game and pull the game out.

“The girls have the confidence now that they are as good as they are,” said Hart. “They know they’re good enough. They’re in a good place,” said Hart.

Hart said the familiarity of Belmont with Watertown – the squads are in the Middlesex League and many of the players are on the same or rival AAU teams – takes away the element of surprise when approaching the game as a coach.

“It’s basically the same team they had last year,” said Hart, referring to last year’s sectional semifinals in which Belmont could not overcome a double-digit shortfall to fall 49-40.

“We’ve seen plenty of [Watertown]. We know what they have and they know us to a certain extent,” said Hart.

Watertown’s All-Star Junior Center Shannon Murphy usually leads the scoring. Other big contributors are senior forwards Katelyn Rourke and Felicia Korte – who is also a good defender – and senior guard Nicole Lanzo. Senior point guard Michaela Antonellis brings up the ball and plays tough D, as she did in the Raiders’ semifinal win against Triton.

“[Watertown has] got good players like  Antonellis. They’re tough. Their two posts (Murphy and Rourke) are tough and they are legitimate threats.”

“But we’ve seen a lot of great posts in the last week and a half, a lot of big girls who are all-stars. We were able to stop them from hurting us. We know what to do,” said Hart.

Belmont’s heart and soul is its three senior co-captains – Sarah Stewart who takes on the center or tall forward, Samari Winklaar who led Belmont in scoring against AC and Irini Nikolaidis who hit five straight free throws in the final two minutes vs Newburyport.

The Marauders is also a young squad. The point guard is sophomore all-star Carly Christofori who works with sophomore Jenny Call in the back court. First off the bench are freshmen who in the past two weeks have become steady contributors: guard Meghan Tan and center Jess Giorgio who is becoming a real stopper down low. There could be times when Belmont will have three sophomores and two freshman on the floor.
Watertown Head Coach Patrick Ferdinand told the Watertown News that “Belmont, [has] a lot of good basketball kids out there. The coach, Melissa, is extremely smart and they work really, really hard.”
The Raiders will not come into the game expecting a repeat of the past two games against the Marauders.
“It doesn’t matter (what happened in the first game). It’s 0-0. We don’t look at what happened before. We just look at some stuff that happened that game how we can fix it or go off it,” said Ferdinand.
 Hart believes that Watertown will enter the game with a positive outlook to the contest due to its past success in the tournament including last year’s trip to the state semifinals and a 23-1 record.

“Watertown has built confidence over their years of success,” said Hart, noting it’s Watertown’s fourth time in the North finals.

“When teams win a lot they expect it a little more. That’s how [Watertown] carries themselves,” she said.

Hart said Belmont is beginning to feel that same self-assurance during its impressive three-game run.

“And now our girls are starting to realize that they can carry themselves that way too,” said Hart.

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School Committee Candidates QW: The One Issue The Board Should Focus On

Photos: (from left) Murat Bicer, Kimberly O’Mahony, Andrea Prestwich.

Welcome to the first QW (Question of the Week) for the three candidates seeking to fill to two open three-year seats on the Belmont School Committee at town election on April 5. The order in which the candidates answered this week is by alphabetical order. 

Name the one issue you believe the board should focus on in your tenure on the school board?

Murat Bicer

I believe the most important issue facing the school board over the next three years is increasing enrollment. Families with school-age children are moving to town as housing comes to market, and new multi-unit developments are likely to bring additional students. A growing number of students require mandated English language learning and special education. These two factors put pressure both on our school budget and on our facilities.  

In the fall of 2012, the town convened a task force to study the issue of increasing enrollment and recommend strategic solutions. While a number of viable solutions were proposed, there was little budget to affect the changes. Since that time, two very important developments have occurred.  First, Belmont residents passed a $4.5 million Proposition 2.5 override. Second, the Massachusetts School Building Authority voted to move Belmont High School forward in its process, which will provide state cost sharing in the construction of a much needed new campus that can reflect our current and future needs.  

As a school committee member, I will use my deep experience in financial management and operational planning to ensure that the best decisions are made for immediate impact as well as future stability for our excellent schools. I will look to recommendations already made by the task force and welcome new ideas, while measuring each against the fiscal cost to our community. It is imperative that every dollar we spend on our schools has a direct, positive impact on the education of our children. Our focus needs to be on building a high school facility that can last us another 50 years, and enough flexibility in our lower schools to respond to enrollment fluctuations.

The most pressing issue facing the Belmont Public Schools over the next three years is the management of increasing enrollment. There is a lack of space throughout the district and the population of the town is ever-growing. The quality of our education system is the reason that people come to Belmont and is why they will continue to come; it’s why my husband and I moved here 12 years ago! We knew the reputation of the schools in Belmont and wanted our family to be educated in the best public schools in the area. 

In order for our town to uphold this reputation, we have an obligation to ensure every child is supported, especially at the elementary level where many children are learning to speak English. Belmont has a very diverse community, which makes living here so rich and rewarding.  With that diversity, though, comes more responsibility – especially in supporting and scaffolding children’s abilities.

As a first step, the School Committee voted unanimously to decline participation in School Choice at last Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting. Participating in School Choice would only add to the enrollment pressures that we already feel with the population that resides in Belmont. The School Committee will be critical in identifying solutions that will bring about positive change to alleviate the pressure of this issue.

Andrea Prestwich

The most critical issues facing Belmont schools are spiraling enrollment and the need for a new high school. Both of these issues require careful strategic planning by the School Committee and a willingness to advocate for an override to fund the new high school. These issues must be addressed otherwise our schools will fall apart (almost literally in the case of the high school!

We also need to transition BHS and Chenery to healthier (i.e. later) start times. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control both recommend that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to allow adolescents to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation among adolescents is a serious public health issue. Although there is an overwhelming medical consensus in favor of later start times,  this issue seldom gets to the top of a School Districts’s  priority list – there are always competing issues! If elected to the School Committee, I will devote time and energy to working for healthier school hours. I will not let later start times be squeezed off the agenda by managing the enrollment and a new high school. Enrollment and a new high school are critical, but so is sleep. We must work on all three.  

Belmont To Be Recognized as Purple Heart Community April 22

[This is from a town press release]

Photo: The image for a Purple Heart community.

Veteran Service Officer Bob Upton has announced Belmont will be formally recognized as a Purple Heart Community by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

A ceremony of acceptance to the Military Order of the Purple Heart will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Friday April 22, at the Belmont Public Library, 336 Concord Ave. 

Chartered by Congress in 1958, The Military Order of the Purple Heart is composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat. Although membership is restricted to the combat wounded, the organization supports all veterans and their families with a myriad of nation-wide programs by Chapters and National Service Officers.

Belmont officially proclaimed itself a Purple Heart Community on Dec. 14, 2015. In recognition of this distinction Leo Agnew, Commander of the Massachusetts Division of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will present the town with its Certificate of Recognition.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

The Veteran Service Office is reaching out to all Purple Heart recipients and/or their family members to attend this event. The public is invited to attend this event and to join with us in honoring and showing our appreciation to our Purple Heart recipients on this important occasion.

For more information please contact VSO Bob Upton at 617-993-2725 or by email to

Before Saturday’s Final, Head to Annual Hoop Shoot-Out to Halt Malaria

Photo: The poster for Saturday’s “Hoop Shoot-Out.” 

Before heading off to Woburn to support the Belmont High Girls’ Basketball team in their championship run, find out just how difficult it is to make a free throw.

The Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church’s annual “Hoop Shoot-Out” to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria will take place Saturday, March 12, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the church’s gym located at 421 Common St., Belmont.

Enter the gym via the doors at the parking lot off Palfrey. 

The church is nearing the conclusion of a very successful national INM campaign. In the past five years, the children’s death rate from malaria has been reduced from once every 30 seconds to once every two minutes. This is a significant improvement allowing more children to reach adulthood and allowing for a more productive society. As little as $10 saves lives by providing insecticide-treated bed nets, education, and treatment.

Shooters and sponsors are needed. Anyone of all ages can participate: the idea is to sink as many foul shots as you can in two minutes. Just bring a list of sponsors (amount per basket or flat rate). Or come for the fun!

Show up anytime between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and your cheering squad is welcome.

For more info, contact the church at 857-600-1282 or

Hotel Takes Step Closer To Town OK as ZBA Requests Technical Data

Photo: The development team for the proposed hotel in Belmont: (from left, standing) Jennifer Conley, president of Conley Associates; Robert Levy, attorney with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott; Waltham developer Michael Columba; and Andy Rojas, architect.

For the two dozen residents who attended the Monday, March 7 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeal anticipating a decision to approve a small hotel at the base of Belmont Hill, at least, they had to opportunity to view an impressive new art installation at the Belmont Gallery of Art where the board meetings take place.

For a second time in as many months, the ZBA voted to continue its hearing, postponing a final vote on the request by Waltham developer Michael Columba to secure five special permits to allow construction of a 19-unit “European-style boutique hotel” at the corner of Brighton Avenue and Pleasant Street at the location of the now vacant Mini-Mart convenience store.

But with public support the proposed development has received and the technical nature of the data the board is requesting, it’s beginning to appear that the first new hotel in several decades, if not a century, could be up and running in early 2017.

“I do feel good that this is a win, win with the town,” said Columba after the meeting.

“I understand the concerns of neighbors, and I take [those] personally. It is something I want to resolve,” he told the Belmontonian after the meeting. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board asked Columba for additional technical information on issues such as sound measurements from the HVAC system, venting, and lighting, attempting to assure themselves that assumptions being made by the development team were accurate.

Former Selectman and the project’s architect Andy Rojas reiterated the projects highlights from his presentation last month: renovating the two-building, two-story structure at 334 Pleasant St. – the old Mini Mart convenience store and offices – to open a boutique hotel consisting of 18 guest rooms, a cafe for guests, a fitness room, a business center and management offices on the 14,400 sq.-ft. site.

The building’s exterior will not be altered – with the exception on new siding – significantly in an attempt to “express Belmont’s agrarian history.”

Rojas said the hotel would have less impact on local traffic than what can operate on the site “as right” (without needing any zoning change) including a retail store, and will generate tax revenue from lodging and meals “without having an impact on the schools.”

Colomba, who purchased the property last year, said he rented rooms “to a lot of people visiting Belmont” at his first hotel, the Crescent Suite Hotel in Waltham, whether it was for a funeral, graduation parties or visiting patients in hospitals and beliefs there is a demand for European-style lodging.

He said his experience showed the hotel will be three-quarters occupied with the majority of guests registering during the day and coming back to their rooms between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the latest.

Jennifer Conley, president of Conley Associates, a Boston-based transportation planning, and engineering firm, said a small hotel will generate around 160 total trips in the day with a maximum of 12 trips per hour during rush hours, much lower than the 35 trips per hour a convenience store would attract.

As he did in February, ZBA Chair Eric Smith again questioned the team just how a hotel fits within the town’s bylaws. Since there is no mention of hotels in the table of uses in the zoning documents, “so the closest … is apartments which are a prohibited use in [this zoning district],” said Smith.

Robert Levy, an attorney with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott representing Columba, said his reading of the zoning bylaw and its parking requirements – which does briefly refers to hotel use – suggests the hotel would be more akin to a daycare center or a catering business, retail and service uses that are allowable at the site with a special permit. 

For the most part, board members wanted to nail down several techical assumptions made by the developer, including just how noisy climate control systems will be running at the same time.

“Have everything written down,” requested Mariann Scali, a long-time resident.

If all goes to plan and the Board awards the special permits to Columba, work at the site will begin within weeks and will be completed in six to eight months. 

Annual Acoustic Coffeehouse Thursday to Help End Homelessness

Photo: Image.

Belmont High School’s Working to Help the Homeless Club will host its third annual acoustic Coffeehouse on Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

With music, ice cream, and homemade goodies, it is sure to be a great night. Open to all, tickets – which includes ice cream and other treats – are $5 at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center and at the door.

Our performers will include:

  • Naria Sealy, Ashley Townsend, and Nic Neves
  • Wonyoung Jang, Evan Wagner, and Ben Crocker
  • Jasper Wolf, Nico Albano, Tommy Slap, Tino Decoulos, Aidan Hamell
  • Isabella Jaen Maisonet and Olivia Pierce
  • Ashley Townsend
  • Michael Rodriguez and Nathaniel Taylor
  • Becca Schwarz and Amelia Ickes
  • Kail Pellicane
  • Navya Jain and Mahima Sindhu
  • Jen Tan, Emily Logan, and Lilikoi Bronson
  • Josie Cooper and Kiara Holm
  • Elizabeth Galli and Viola Monovich
  • Rafi Wagner, Benton Jones, Jack Merullo, Matt Thompson, Bella Martin, Haig Hovsepian, Nic Neves, Clay Moyles, Danny Holt and Joe Wenzel
  • Ben Covell
  • Barry Eom

Last year’s coffeehouse was a huge success, raising over $1600 for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter Youth Housing Initiative (Y2Y Harvard Square). Working to Help the Homeless Club decided to donate the money to the same cause this year as well.  Y2Y Harvard Square is the second youth-only shelter in the Boston area, serving homeless people between the ages of 18 and 24. The shelter, which opened in November, is run by Harvard students and works to create safe and secure futures for homeless youth (hence the name Y2Y, or youth to youth).

The Coffeehouse for a Cause is sure to be a blast and benefits an excellent cause. Show your support for Belmont High School’s exceptional performers and the Working to Help the Homeless club.

Championship Bound: Belmont Upsets Arlington Catholic for Spot in Sectional Finals

Photo: Samari Winklaar (center) after the team’s victory vs. Arlington Catholic. (photo by 

With just seconds left in the third quarter and Belmont with a tenuous three-point lead over favorite Arlington Catholic, Belmont High’s senior co-captain Samari Winklaar wasn’t thinking about playing it safe and holding onto the ball near the right corner of the court to allow the clock to run out.

“I knew I was going to take that shot,” said Winklaar.

With a pair of Cougars draped over her and off a bad angle, Winklaar half pushed/half flung a prayer towards the basket as she fell into the first row of the benches in the Billerica High gym in front of a bus load of noisy Belmont fans.

And as the buzzer went off, the prayer was answered as the ball hit nothing but the bottom of the net.

As Winklaar (who led Belmont with 13 points (2 threes) and going 7-8 from the free-throw line) dove into her teammates arms, the Marauders’ lead doubled to 29-23 while the confidence of the 2014 State Champions was all but crushed by the improbable hoop.

“We said ‘we made it this far, we just need to keep going,” said sophomore point guard Carly Christofori. 

Employing its trademark suffocating defense and running past the Cougars in the third quarter, Belmont defeated the three seed – the third higher seed the team has beaten – in a Division 2 North semifinal thriller, 45-38, on Tuesday, March 8. For the first time in decades, Belmont will play in a sectional final on Saturday, March 12.

“We kept our composure well. We didn’t rattle easily today and even though we had trouble scoring, we gritted it out,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart.

[Unfortuantly, the game was virtually ignored by the three major sports outlets – the Boston Herald, and ESPN Boston – while the media focused on nearly all other playoff games on Tuesday.]

While the time and location remain to be determined, the Marauders’ opponent will be the winner of the Triton/Watertown match on Wednesday, March 9, which could result in a dream match with the defending Division 2 North champions attempting to repeat with its traditional rivals standing in its way.

“Another shot at Watertown. I love it,” said Hart.

Belmont is heading to the finals on a foundation of a tenacious defense that proved as psychologically devastating as it is physically exhausting for Arlington Catholic. 

“Our defense frazzled them, and Arlington Catholic is a good team,” said Hart as Belmont’s in-their-face defensive approach prevented the Cougars from running its set plays, requiring them to search for alternatives, and launching more difficult shots.

In the key matchup of the game, Arlington Catholic’s big players 6′ 1″ Lena Perez and 6’3″ Demiana Fogarty were kept in check by Belmont’s counterparts; senior Sarah Stewart and freshman Jess Giorgio.


(from left) Jess Giorgio and Sarah Stewart.

“The problems for us happened when she got the ball, so we just tried to stop her from getting it. She didn’t have much success because she wasn’t getting that many put-backs,” said Giorgio after the game.

And it is no coincidence that the effort opponents need to put out against Belmont has affected them in one important area. Against Belmont, the three opponents have gone 29-74 from the free throw line, a dismal 39 percent. Last night, AC hit 8 of 22 from the charity strip, about 36 percent.

Belmont came out shooting in the first, but only hitting a fraction of what they put up, finally scoring on a Jenny Call baseline bucket and a foul shot to give Belmont the lead, 3-2, after three minutes of play.

Call hit a floater to bring Belmont within one, 8-7, before Winklaar swished a three to give Belmont a 10-8 lead entering the second quarter.

While Belmont kept the Cougars to seven points, the Marauders’ only found the basket once, via a Stewart jumper as the teams went into the half 15-12 AC.

The Cougars took its biggest lead when freshman guard Erin Donlan hit a straight away three giving her team an 18-12 lead. But an Irini Nikolaidis put-back of an offensive rebound, a Meghan Tan layup, a Giorgio free throw and a Tan three at 2:47 in the third tied the score at 20.

In the final two-and-a-half minutes, Belmont made its move: after Perez had missed a pair of free throws, Stewart hit a jumper, Giorgio took a perfect pass from Tan to hit her only basket of the night and Winklaar hit both free throws after being fouled with 50 seconds remaining. With a three point lead and 20 seconds remaining, Belmont didn’t get the shot they wanted, but Winklaar made it count.

Neither team was all that productive in the first four minutes, with Belmont stretching its lead to 34-24. And while AC cut the lead to four, 36-32, with two minutes to play, a Stewart spin jumper for two, and a slew of Marauder free throws shut the door on Arlington Catholics comeback. 

When the final buzzer went off, the Belmont players exploded off the bench as they thoroughly enjoyed the celebration. 

“With had so many fans come here, we had to give them what they came for, and that was a win,” said Christofori.


Photo by Kenneth Leinbach


Photo by Kenneth Leinbach


Photo by Kenneth Leinbach


Photo by Kenneth Leinbach


Photo by Kenneth Leinbach

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