ConsComm Further Delays Vote on Former Trailer Park; Takes Up Wonderland Site

The Revere Conservation Commission (ConsComm) held its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday evening (April 3) in the City Council Chamber. Vice-chair Nick Rudolph presided over the session that was attended by members Joseph LaValle, Samantha Woodman, Brian Averback, and Wilson Correa.

The commission addressed a full agenda that touched on three major projects in the city, including the former Lee Trailer, the reuse of the former Wonderland Dog Track, and the long-delayed 10-story residential building at 459-463 Revere Beach Blvd.

The first matter on the agenda  was a continuation of a request for a Notice of Intent (NOI) from Andrea Garcia, who is the contractor for a proposed two–story, 10′ x 34′ addition at 23B Bay Rd.

Architect David Choi presented the application. In response to a comment from Rudolph, Choi noted that the artificial turf (which is an impervious surface) that presently exists on the property will be removed and replaced with a permeable surface. In response to a question from Woodman, Choi said that the house, which presently sits at zero elevation, will be lifted as much as possible above grade.

There were no opponents and the commissioners unanimously voted to issue the NOI.

Next up on the docket was a continuation of the hearing for an NOI for the property at the former Lee Trailer Park at  2, 12, & 16 Pratt Street/418 Winthrop Ave., where the developer, Parkway Homes, LLC, is proposing a new residential development of  250 units.

Rick Salvo of Engineering Alliance presented the application on behalf of Parkway Homes, which included updated drawings for the project.  At the March meeting, Salvo explained that the City Council has issued a special permit for the project. He also told the commissioners at the March meeting that Sales and Green’s Creeks are at the rear of the property, both of which are perennial streams that are protected by the Rivers Protection Act.

There also is a section of ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern) on the property and some of the land is subject to coastal storm flowage.

He also noted that the former trailer park, which had been in existence for decades, had degraded portions of the protected resource areas. He said the new development will not impact those areas and that the developer will be seeking to clean up the riverfront areas, as well as installing four subsurface infiltration facilities that will treat stormwater, which will result in a significant improvement for the water quality of the two nearby creeks.

The commission members toured the site on the previous Saturday, with Salvo noting at that time that the developer will be removing asphalt from the site to be replaced with stone to prevent erosion and that the developer will be cleaning up the debris (such as discarded tires) that the commissioners saw on their site visit.

However, Gail Miller from the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh expressed some concerns about the project and requested a further continuance to allow her group to review the project, noting that her members were unaware that there had been a meeting last month and of the date for the current meeting.

“Overall, the project is a benefit to the area and will clean up the creeks that will benefit Belle Isle Marsh,” said Miller. “However, the issues we might address are lighting, because this a is a migratory bird area; the type of glass they will use to prevent bird strikes; the removal of Japanese knotweed, which must be removed by the root and disposed of properly; and, since there is God-knows-what in that creek, whether is there any sensitive concern about removing toxic materials from the creeks and how will that be done.”

The commission then voted to continue the hearing for a third time, with some noting that since the start date for the project is a year away, the delay will not have an impact in that regard

The members took up a request for an extension for the project at 459-463 Revere Beach Boulevard by the developer, KQ & Sons LLC.  Peter Blaisdell, the project engineer, said that an Order of Conditions (OOC) was issued on May 5, 2021, but there has been no activity on the site because of ongoing permit delays with the DCR and MEPA. Blaisdell noted that the project has been in development since 2017 and has been through many city boards and state agencies during that time.

There presently are three structures on the 25,000 sq. ft. lot and the developer wants to tear those down and construct a 10-story building with 59 units, including a restaurant on the top floor, The project will feature a stacked parking system for 90 spaces.

However, Blaisdell said that the snafu in the project has occurred because the application languished with DCR for the better part of two years during the COVID backlog. When DCR finally took action, the agency requested the relocation of a sewer line, which in turn involved MEPA, where the project is sitting right now.

After Averbach observed, “This will beautify Revere Beach and is the type of direction the beach should be going toward,” the commission unanimously approved extending the NOI.

The commission then took up an application to amend an OOC for 84 Arcadia Street. Salvo presented the request, which was necessitated by a number of requests from the DEP, with which the developer has complied. There were no objections and two persons spoke in favor of the project.

“This project is a win-win for our neighborhood,” said Anthony Parziale, a resident of Arcadia St., and he urged the commissioners to approve the amendment.

Ward 5 City Councillor Angela Guarino-Sawaya also spoke in favor of the application. “I am 100 percent in favor of this project,” said the councillor. “Compared to what was going to go there originally, this project is a blessing.”

The commission unanimously approved granting the amendment.

The next item on the agenda was a request for an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation by the city for 190 VFW Parkway (Wonderland Park). Claire Hoogeboom, a Wetlands Scientist with LEC Environmental Consultants, Inc., and Brittany Ferber, a Senior Project Engineer and Certified Soil Evaluator at Nitsch Engineering, presented the application to the commission.

Hoogeboom and Ferber explained the many issues pertaining to the site, which presently contains the foundations of the previous structures of the former dog track, the elevated dog track itself, and an asphalt parking lot. The site also is traversed by the so-called Eastern County Ditch that eventually discharges into Rumney Marsh.

Vice-chair Rudolph said that because of the extent and scope of the delineation, the commission will be hiring its own peer review firm, which will cost an estimated $7700. The commission then voted to continue the matter until its June meeting to await the peer review.

The final hearing held by the commission was a request for an NOI by Rosa Grieco for a single-story addition to her home at 48 Jones Rd. The property is land subject to coastal storm flowage (LSCSF). John Harrison, the contractor, presented the details of the project to the commission, noting that all of the runoff will be captured by the new project.

There were no opponents, but the commission was unable to take action on issuing the NOI because the DEP has not issued a file number, which is a legal requirement for a local conservation commission to issue an NOI.

The commission addressed an enforcement action at 134 Broad Sound Ave., where the owner had installed an asphalt driveway in an LSCSF without a permit. Conservation Agent Lorena Escolero explained to the commissioners the situation. Averbach, who lives in the neighborhood, noted that the area does not flood, though he acknowledged that the driveway should have been properly-permitted beforehand.

The commission unanimously voted to dismiss the enforcement action, though it will add a note in the file that any future work first must receive ConsComm approval.

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