City Moves Toward Law to Step up Inspectional Services

REVERE – The city has already cleaned up one blighted property on Washington Street and turned it into saleable condominiums, now they are moving to give inspectional services the tools and support to clean up more.

Tuesday night the City Council heard a presentation on how Massachusetts General Law 40U can benefit city officials and residents by working as a team to ensure property owners are taking care of their property. Currently, when Inspectional Services hands out a fine, property owners can appeal the ticket in Chelsea District Court, but many of them know that it will sit in a pile at the overburdened court. It could take months to get the problems fixed.

Attorney Peter Brown explained the law to the council as a new way of doing business. City inspectors will have automated ticketing devices which will make the ticket, take a photograph, enter the details of the situation and how much of a fine will be levied. The information is forwarded to the city collector. Property owners may appeal the violation.

Under the new law, all appeal hearings will be held in the meeting room of the police station twice a month. The city has tagged attorney Bob Marra as the municipal hearings officer. Marra has 33 years of legal experience and is a lifelong resident of Revere. He has served as city solicitor, as a member of the zoning board and as a member of the housing authority for the city of Revere.

Nick Catinazzo, director of municipal inspections, said the current process is frustrating and there are about 20 cases per month.

“Word gets out that it’s going to Chelsea District Court and they know it won’t be heard,” Catinazzo said. “This will help the department immensely and I think we will be the envy of other municipalities.”

He added that the city and his department has to do a better job enforcing the various codes, including sump pumps, abandoned cars, illegal apartments and overflowing dumpsters.

“The law has the teeth in it that we need,” said George Anzuoni, director of finance. “We will be the only community in Massachusetts that has this financial integration.”

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