Opponents Still Have Their Say at ZBA

An application for several variances at a proposed development of six-story 45 condominiums at 463 Revere Beach Boulevard was withdrawn without prejudice from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but since a public hearing was advertised and held, the ZBA listened to those who oppose the idea – including Councillors Dan Rizzo and John Powers.

KQ and Sons LLC of Saugus, owner of the property, which currently has three existing two-story buildings, sought relief in terms of tandem parking, and minimum parking space width. They also sought permission to allow less than seven feet in clearance from floor to ceiling and a parking garage for multi-level parking spaces.

“The developer intends to come back with a revised plan because of a question regarding tandem parking on site and for the seven-foot high mechanical garage system request.,” said ZBA Chairman Michael Tucker. “But this is a public hearing and if some one wishes to make a statement they may do so.”

Rizzo stood to speak in opposition.

“I understand it’s going to be withdrawn but I wanted to offer my opposition to the application,” Rizzo said. “Four years ago when I was traversing the city during my re-election for mayor I heard loud and clear from the residents of this community that they had enough with large scale residential development. Four years later I continue to hear it across the city.”

“In Sept. 2015 I asked for a moratorium to stop all large-scale residential building, Rizzo said.

“This moratorium would have allowed for study of our zoning which I still feel is antiquated,” Rizzo said. “I think it puts this board in jeopardy all the time because you’re dealing with an old set of zoning ordinances that no longer apply to the city as it stands today.”

“The city is not growing geographically but we’re becoming more and more dense,” he said. “Just the other night I was at a meeting on Ocean Avenue where there are six developers at once I’ve never seen that ever. Six developers proposing 1,400 apartment units just on the oceanfront, Ocean Avenue and the Boulevard with another 13,000 proposed for Suffolk Downs, 3,000 on the Revere side.”

Then he turned to the traffic.

“I’m afraid to ask people how long it takes to get to Broadway to the beach during off hours,” he said. “If you try going rush hour or school hours it’s virtually impossible. Residents can’t get out of driveways in Point of Pines or on the Boulevard. People may blame regional traffic, but you can’t tell me that adding 1,400 apartments here and 3,000 apartments there doesn’t add to our traffic mess.”

He added that all this puts stress on the public safety, public schools and the roads. Rizzo said he wants controlled economic development.

John Powers, Ward 5 Councillor, also got up the speak in opposition.

“I hear the complaints every single day – people don’t want any more housing,” Powers said. “I recently voted against the project at Bianchi’s – by right they could have put 85 or 90 units down there – they are putting in 145 units, short probably 60 parking spaces. I am 100 percent opposed to this project today, tomorrow and next year.”

The ZBA also heard from Alana Zion, a trustee at 474 Revere Beach Boulevard. She said there is no walkable grocery store. It takes 40 minutes to get to the Stop and Shop on Furlong Drive “We need services – there needs to be a lot more thinking before these permits are handed out like candy and then afterwards your office receives complaints by the hundreds and thousands because no thought was put in to it,” she said.

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