Guinasso Keeps Controversial Project At Bay

There’s no better way to stall a building project than to cut the electricity.

For years, Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso has been adamantly against the residential complex slated to be built next to the BJ’s Wholesale Club, but with special permit already in hand – there wasn’t much that could be done to stop the project.

Until now…at least for now.

Owners of the project have recently changed hands and are now ready to build. The original iteration of the project was conditional with the BJ’s many years ago. A few years ago, though, the previous owners came back with an amended plan to make fewer multi-bedroom units and fewer total units. It was approved, but for some councillors like Guinasso – and neighbors on Ward Street – it’s still controversial.

Now, the new owners are ready to begin construction and have sought to bring electricity to the site.

But they just can’t get around Guinasso and several other members of the Council.

Last month, Guinasso successfully voted down a request from National Grid to bring electricity to the site.

On Monday, Council President Tony Zambuto brought back the issue for reconsideration, saying that any judge or administrative body at the state level would “laugh” at the effort and award the relief sought for electrical service.

“I don’t need to say what fools we would look like in court if we tell the judge we are trying to hold up a project by keeping the power out,” he said.

Guinasso said he disagreed, and he led a contingent of councillors who voted down the measure once again 7-4.

“This is going to add insult to injury,” he said. “We should put the neighbors and not the developer who wants to build this on his property and add insult to injury. There are plenty of other things he can do with his property than this. I yield to my conscience and the people and I think a judge would look at this and say ‘Good for you.’”

Councillor Richard Penta disagreed, saying that the previous owner came in with good faith to downsize the project.

“They worked with the City to downsize the property from three-bedrooms to two-bedrooms,” he said. “I commend the developer for coming up here and I did vote to allow him to downsize the units. He’ll go before the state and he’ll get this and hopefully the housing market won’t have changed too much.”

Councillor Stephen Reardon said he has been against the project since he got on the Council and supported Guinasso.

“I don’t know what any judge might say, but I can tell you what the people of Revere will say when they have to toss in another $30 or $40 million for a new school,” he said. “No fool in his right mind would come here for a change like that without an ulterior motive. They couldn’t sell the project the way it was and we caved in as a body. I will do whatever it takes to prevent that.”

Those voting to block the electricity were Brian Arrigo, Jessica Giannino, Guinasso, Bob Haas, Steven Morabito, John Powers and Reardon.

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