A heated, contentious and well-attended community meeting last week (see above photo) pitted principles from the Bay Cover Human Services company against about 50 Ward 2 neighbors and city elected officials.
The company had made plans to build a nine-unit group home on Walnut Avenue for severely physically disabled adults whose families live in Revere or Winthrop. The building plan at first needed approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, but given the opposition, Bay Cove has scaled back their plans in order to be able to build the project by right – or without any approvals.
After last week’s meeting, Bay Cove told Mayor Tom Ambrosino that they would take the sentiments of the neighborhood back to their board and see what they want to do.
Bay Cove told the Journal that they were going to talk over the matter with their board.
“Presently, we’re scheduling a meeting with our board of directors to review the project, in light of the meeting in Revere,” wrote Charles Hollins of Bay Cove in a statement. “All of the staff at Bay Cove who are involved in this project are working very hard to fulfill our mission to the individuals we serve with disabilities, as well as to be responsive to the concerns of residents living in the area and the elected officials of Revere.”
Mayor Tom Ambrosino said it was now up to the City to wait and see what Bay Cove decides to do.
“Bay Cove understands the level of opposition,” said the mayor. “It will be up to their board of directors if they want to proceed in the face of that opposition from the neighborhood. They may not want to jeopardize all the goodwill they’ve built up in the community over the last decade.”
Councillor Ira Novoselsky said that the facility was more of a medical facility and less of a home. He said that type of facility shouldn’t be in a residential neighborhood.
“The neighbors are not against the disabled, they are just against the type of facility in their neighborhood,” he said. “It should be considered a medical facility, not a home. Many of those in attendance have lived up there for over 50 years. The meeting got very heated by those in attendance to a point where Bay Cove personnel could not complete their presentation…I’m very glad to say that I forced the issue of the neighborhood meeting.”
Following the meeting, a new effort emerged to have the City take the Walnut Avenue property by eminent domain in order to prevent Bay Cove from being able to build by right.
Councillor Dan Rizzo and Novoselsky filed a motion at Monday’s Council meeting calling for the mayor to file litigation that would begin the process of taking the property for City use.
“People say that can’t be done or this can’t be done,” said Rizzo at Monday’s meeting. “Let’s investigate it. We have a City Solicitor. Let’s have him look at it.”
Some councillors felt the language was a little too pointed in the motion, and so Councillor Stephen Reardon offered a motion that would soften it up, calling only for the Solicitor to investigate it rather than for him to begin litigation.
“We’re clearly not prejudiced against these people, but I wouldn’t want to make it look that way by leaping into litigation,” he said.
The motion passed unanimously.