ZBA Approves Seven-Story Apartment Building on Revere Beach

The Revere Zoning Board of Appeals held its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, February 22, in the City Councillor Joseph A. DelGrosso City Council Chamber.

Chairman Michael G. Tucker and fellow members John Lopes, Arthur Pelton, and James O’Brien were on hand for the meeting.

The first matter taken up by the board was an application by Beach Landing, LLC, of 1040-1048 North Shore Road, which was requesting variances to enable the company to raze the existing structure at 37 Revere Beach Boulevard and build a seven-story, mixed-used development consisting of eighteen (18) residential units and one (1) commercial unit.

The specific variance requests were as follows:

1. Noncompliance with RRO Section 17.28.020(D) with respect to minimum parking requirements of 1.5 spaces/1 bedroom units and 1.75 spaces/2 bedroom units for apartment uses, and 1 space / 4 seats for a non-fast-food restaurant use within the RC2 District.

2. Noncompliance with RRO Section 17.28.020 minimum loading space requirement of 1 space for non-fast-food restaurant use within the RC2 District.

3. Noncompliance with Section 17.24.010(G) with respect to the maximum extension of balconies no more than 4 feet from the wall of the principal building over the front, side and rear yard within the RC2 District.

Revere attorney Nancy O’Neil, who frequently appears before the board, presented the members with her usual concise summary of the project, aided by two large photos, one of the existing structure and the other a rendering of the completed project.

The present structure at the corner of Revere Beach Blvd., West St., and Ocean Ave. is well-known as a legacy landmark on the boulevard only with respect to its small size — a two-family home — that has become dwarfed by the surrounding larger apartment buildings  over the past 30 years.

As was evident from the architectural rendering presented by O’Neill, Beach Landing seeks to construct a high-rise, modern apartment building that will fit in with the rest of the development along the boulevard.

O’Neil told the board that the home had been in the Ash family for many years, but they now have decided to sell it. 

O’Neill said the variances are needed because of the small shape of the property. She also noted that the property faces development challenges because of its pronounced east-to-west slope, the potential presence of marine silt and clays, and its location in two potential flood zones.

O’Neil also noted that because of these factors, plus the constrained size of the property, the project will entail significant design costs   She said the proposed structure is a “narrow, tall building” that meets height, setback, and FAR (floor area ratio) requirements. 

“We are proposing a 30,000 square foot, mixed-use development in line with recent mixed-use developments along Revere Beach, but at a much-smaller scale,” O’Neil told the members.

She said the new building will consist of 18 luxury, transit-oriented apartment units, along with a waterfront restaurant on the ground floor of 1400 sq. ft.

The variances are needed for balcony extensions, parking space reductions, and loading space reductions.

“This project seeks to take advantage of its proximity to the beach and to public transportation,” O’Neil said. “We do not expect any impact on neighborhood parking. By the terms of their leases, residents of the building will not be allowed to have cars and will not be eligible for resident parking stickers.”

She noted that the city and the ward councillor have voiced their support for the project, noting developer Jamie Russo’s past history of similar, successful projects throughout the city.

Robert O’Brien, the city’s Director of Economic Development, sent a letter to the board in support of the project.

A resident of the area who lives at 41-45 Revere Beach Blvd. said he supports the project. 

“Mr. Russo has done quality work and the building at this time is a blight on the community,” he said. “This project will be a credit to the city and the area.”

There were letters of opposition submitted by five residents, but since the letters were not read into the record by the board, the reasons for their opposition were not made known.

The board unanimously approved the project, subject to the conditions that the Site Plan Review board gives its approval and that the residents will not be eligible for resident or guest parking stickers.

The board then approved extensions for two previously-approved projects that have not exercised their variances within the usual one-year limit.

The first was from Hamel Management Group, Inc. of Lynnfield, “requesting a six-month extension of the one-year exercise period from the Zoning Board of Appeals associated with the granted variances of A-22-10 to enable the appellant to raze the existing structure on the property known and numbered as 470 Broadway, and construct an addition to the adjacent Fernwood Professional Building at 454 Broadway.”

O’Neill said that the extension is needed because of engineering delays and the need for approval by National Grid. She also noted that City Council President Patrick Keefe is in favor of the extension.

The other was from Basilio DiFlumeri, 439 Proctor Avenue, “requesting a six-month extension of the one-year exercise period from the Zoning Board of Appeals associated with the granted variances of A-22-08 to enable the appellant to construct a two-family dwelling on Lot B at 243 Malden Street.”

Ms. O’Neil also presented this request, noting that the extension is required because the lot needs Land Court approval, but the court has been unable to address the matter within the past year because of its backlog.

The final application of the evening heard by the board came from Yovany F. Hernandez Villarta, of 29 Agatha Street, who was “requesting a variance of RRO Section 17.16.260(F)(1) (accessory structures may only be allowed in the rear yard)  to enable the appellant to construct a 16.8’ x 9.5’ shed in the front yard at 29 Agatha Street.”

Mr. Hernanezdez-Villarta appeared on his own behalf. He told the board that his direct abutter has no issue with the shed. The board unanimously approved the variance.

The board then adjourned until its next meeting on March 29.

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