Taco Bell withdraws plan for Mattapan Square location

A Taco Bell franchisee on Tuesday withdrew its request for zoning permission to raze a former tire store and replace it with one of its outlets at 1578 Blue Hill Ave. in Mattapan Square.

The proposal was hotly debated throughout the spring in neighborhood meetings and received a great deal of community opposition.

Derric Small, attorney for Cantina Hospitality of Greenwich, CT, did not provide a reason for withdrawing the application for a take-out place with a free-standing sign at a Zoning Board of Appeal hearing. The restaurant was also slated to have a drive-thru operation.

The Taco Bell proposal conflicted with many of the community’s goals for Mattapan Square, particularly for healthy food choices and the realignment of Mattapan Square to reduce – not increase – traffic flows. A drive-thru restaurant was shown to increase traffic on a very tight corner of the Square.

The Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council (GMNC) said it applauded the decision to withdraw and noted that they opposed the plan.

“The GMNC is glad to see the currently proposed application for 1587 Blue Hill Avenue was withdrawn,” said Fatima Ali-Salaam, president of GMNC. “It was incongruous with what the community has expressed in terms of food establishments as well as the proposed design would be in conflict with current zoning regulations and future design of Blue Hill Avenue and Mattapan Square. They had opposition from two direct abutters…It was not a well-received plan the entire time.”

In a letter, Valerie Burton, president of the River Street Neighborhood Association, said their organization “strongly opposed” the proposal.
“Presently Mattapan Square has several fast-food restaurants, quite a few within the two blocks of this proposed site,” she wrote. “The residents of Mattapan and its daily visitors commuting through the city would benefit from healthier options in our community…The density of this intersection of Blue Hill Ave and Babson Street, the traffic congestion this project will create, and the recessed nature of the structure is extremely concerning to the direct abutting businesses and the community.”

Seth Daniel contributed to this report.

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