Photo: Conley’s is serving barriers this summer
Since it opened more than three decades ago, a Watertown bar and restaurant has been a favorite hangout for Belmont residents. Situated across Belmont Street from Precinct 7, Conley’s Pub & Grille was the place for for a drink after work or the place to watch sports, especially when until recently Belmont was one of the last “dry” towns in the Commonwealth.
And now the town of Belmont is helping the Watertown watering hole, located at 164 Belmont St., a boost in its summer dining by blocking off three parking spaces with jersey barriers outside its front door.
But the establishment is located in Watertown where it pays its property and meals taxes? So why is Belmont providing a helping hand to a business not in the town? It has to with the lay of the land – or roadway.
Let’s go back to the spring when Conley’s co-owner and former Belmont resident Kevin Treanor wanted to set up outdoor dining as it is happening in Belmont. He approached the city of Watertown for a permit to block off a small portion of the street to allow for al fresco dining.
Sorry, he was told, but the curb along the south side of Belmont Street lies in Belmont. How the curb on the Watertown side of Belmont Street somehow belong in Belmont is the archetypical New England tale.
Glenn Clancy, the town’s engineer and director of the Office of Community Development, said his best guess on why Belmont extends beyond the street’s midline is likely due to a “quirk” in how the street was laid out hundreds of years ago.
With that knowledge, Treanor – who was a long-time Belmont Youth Soccer coach – approached Town Administrator Patrice Garvin with the same request. After a little research including determining there was enough additional parking available on side streets, Garvin saw no reason not to help a popular establishment promoting al fresco dining which attracts a large number of patrons from Belmont.
“So we figured that given that it was this weird situation and they certainly shouldn’t necessarily be penalized for that, that all the other businesses in town have [barriers],” said Garvin.
In a gesture of gratitude, Trainor is donating 7.5 percent of proceeds sold in the new patio to Belmont’s general fund or a selected charity.
Not everyone was happy with the move as the owner of a Belmont barbers shop located across the street from the establishment made his thoughts known on social media on losing three parking spots.
‘But with Belmont attempting to change its perception of being difficult for new businesses, the Conley’s plea was answered in its favor.”
“We are trying to be more business friendly,” said Elizabeth Dionne, member of the Select Board.