When Ward 1 Councillor Joanna McKenna zeroes in on an issue affecting her ward or the city in general, the reaction and resolution are usually swift.
McKenna made a motion at Monday night’s Council Council meeting requesting that Mayor Brian Arrigo hire a part-time building inspector to enforce the city’s ordinances on the weekends.
McKenna believes “most of the illegal construction taking place without permits occurs on the weekends when residents know there is no inspector on duty.”
She said that monies generated from fines would fund the position.
Prior to voting unanimously for McKenna’s proposal, the councillors voiced their strong support of their colleague’s concerns.
Ward 3 Councilor Arthur Guinasso said succinctly and rather dramatically, “This is probably the most important motion that can affect our community – ever.”
“Since I’ve been sitting on the Revere City Council for 32 years, I’ve been saying that there’s an abusive population that decides that they’re going to circumvent the law and the law-abiding citizens living next door suffer the pains of it.”
Guinasso noted that construction often “goes right through the weekend, Sundays included.”
“That’s an affront to all of us,” said Guinasso, adding that weekend construction has been a problem dating back several years and mayoral administrations. “Thank you, Councilor McKenna for a great motion.”
Ward 6 Councilor Richard Serino said that he would like to see a part-time building inspector enforcing ordinances during evening hours as well as weekends.
“I can tell you I have an issue in Ward 6 where there’s a home that heavy construction trucks enter into and out of the property in the early mornings and late at night,” said Serino. “It’s been a huge issue.”
Councilor-at-Large George Rotondo said, “We see it time and time again throughout the city. It gets dark on Friday nights and Saturday morning comes, and they’re doing the vinyl siding or the roof, or a porch in the back and the next day they’re gone. These contractors are ones who need to pay the fee so we can ensure that they’re licensed and insured.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers commended McKenna for her motion. “This is something that is long overdue and should be put on as quickly as possible.”
Powers add that the part-time building inspector should be accessible by phone on weekends for potential enforcement situations.
Councilor-at-Large Steven Morabito also climbed aboard the McKenna hire-a-part-time-building inspector express.
“This is something that is necessary,” said Morabito. “What happens is you will have a resident who will do illegal building. And before you know it, it sets a trend and it’s like a domino effect. It’s very necessary to set an example with enforcement by having that extra set of eyes responding to calls on weekends if there is a complaint.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky was in agreement, especially so with Guinasso’s contention that illegal construction has been a problem for many years.
“I see it in my ward all time, even though a lot of the buildings come out nice,” said Novoselsky. “But they’re doing it wrong. You see all this construction going on with no permits. I hope the Mayor does put it (a part-time building inspector’s position) in the budget.”
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti said, “We as residents also need to know who to call and make the inspector aware of that and take care right at the time on weekends, because handling in on Monday a day late.”
Council President Anthony Zambuto, who expressed his support for the motion, stressed to contractors and homeowners that, “they need to post the permit. And perhaps the contractor should know that they’ll be fined if they’re not posting the permit.”
Regarding the motion presented by Councilor McKenna, Michael Wells, Director of Municipal Inspections for the City of Revere, said, “We appreciate the council’s efforts to advocate for additional resources for ISD as our city continues to grow.
We are receptive to all residents’ concerns and are looking to add additional resources in our upcoming budget.”