The Revere Conservation Commission held a brief meeting last Wednesday, November 2, in the City Council Chamber. Chairman John Shue and fellow commissioners Joseph LaValle, Robert Cassidy, and Brian Averback were on hand for the meeting.
The session lasted for less than 15 minutes and addressed two matters that had been left open since last fall. One was resolved, but the other will have to wait until the spring of 2023 to be concluded.
The first was a request for a Certificate of Compliance (COC) from the homeowners at 630 Revere Beach Boulevard regarding a grading project in their backyard which they initially undertook without having sought permission from the Conservation Commission.
The owners’ project came to the attention of the commission when they dug out a portion of their backyard last fall in order to slope the property away from their home to prevent the flooding of their garage and basement during heavy rainstorms.
However, because their property is within the buffer zone of the marshland between Revere Beach Blvd. and No. Shore Rd., which is part of the Rumney Marsh ecosystem, they needed approval from the ConsComm for the work they wanted to do.
The commission had required the homeowners to restore the marshland area they had disturbed with appropriate vegetation. The owners agreed to do the work, which included hiring a wetlands scientist, with the commission allowing the usual six months for a reinspection.
Shue informed his fellow commissioners that he had inspected the property in August and had met with the project’s environmental consultant, and that all of the required work had been completed. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the COC.
The board then addressed the pending enforcement action, which stemmed from the bulldozing of dirt from the backyard into the wetlands area. Shue told the commission that the owners had removed the dirt and planted vegetation over the disturbed area.
“They completed everything they were supposed to have done and the property has been returned to compliance pursuant to the state Wetlands Protection Act and the local ordinances,” said Shue, who then recommended that the commission withdraw the enforcement action.
The commissioners voted unanimously to do so.
However, with regard to a similar situation at 10 Marshview Terrace, where a homeowner had started to regrade his property (using unsuitable fill material), which slopes toward Rumney Marsh, the commission was unable to close out that file.
Shue told his fellow commissioners that some of the vegetation that had been planted by the homeowners had failed to take root, requiring the commission to revisit the matter in the spring. He also noted that the homeowners still were removing some of the “rubble” that they had brought in for their regrading project.
Shue also brought up a couple of possible future enforcement actions pertaining to homeowners on Arcadia St. who reportedly have paved their driveways. Those matters will be addressed at a later meeting if necessary.
That led to a discussion initiated by Averback about the mechanism for enforcing violations of the local ordinances. Although the state can impose fines of up to $25,000 for violations of the Wetlands Protection Act, there is no direct procedure in the city ordinances for assessing fines at the local level.
Shue said the matter is being taken under advisement by the City Solicitor, who will be making a report and recommendation to the commission.
The commission then adjourned until its December meeting.