The Zoning Board of Appeals has turned down unanimously a request for variances for a proposed development on Revere Beach Boulevard next to the St. George Condominium.
A Chara Development of Beverly had applied to the board for front, back, side and rear-yard setbacks, along with a variance for parking. In addition to variances, the development would also have to apply for a special permit from the City Council. Attorney Lawrence Simione, representing the developer, said the property at 320-329 Revere Beach Blvd. covers 49,000 square feet. Developers had planned to raze the existing structures and to construct a six-story, mixed-use, 145-unit structure with restaurant and retail space with one, two and three bedroom units. Bianchi’s Pizza, a landmark on the beach, would get a new home.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he would prefer the property to be developed under a matter of right.
Powers noted that the planned five, three-bedroom units would have an impact on the school system, and said the closest school, the Paul Revere School, is already overcrowded. He was also not convinced in reducing 80 parking spaces leaving 108 parking spaces is good. Powers quickly stated what is always stated about millennials, that they all ride bicycles and take public transportation. “Next thing, they’re going to ride donkeys to work,” he quipped.
Residents of the neighboring St. George have also not been fond of the proposed plan. One woman submitted 60 signatures from other residents opposing the project.
“Zoning is in place for a reason,” she said. “Do what you can do as a matter of right, but don’t start circumventing zoning.” One resident noted that a variance was for a hardship and she didn’t see one.
Walter Bennett, who owns three units in St. George, said the developer met with a couple of board members about the project but not all 240 residents.
“He’s promised to come and talk to us. He’s keeping everything on a short leash,” Bennett said.
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent expressed her concern in a letter and stated she is not opposed to responsible development. She also suggested scaling down the number of units and keeping Bianchi’s.
“This project is neither responsible nor in the best interest of this city,” Vincent stated, adding the traffic gridlock in the area is also a concern.