Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso has asked Mayor Brian Arrigo and the Revere Police Department to review all building construction that is taking place on Sundays and ensure that the sites are not in violation of the building permit issued by the city.
Guinasso told his City Council colleagues that he noticed one company doing construction on American Legion Highway on Easter Sunday.
“To add insult to injury, the particular violation I’m referring to happened on Easter Sunday April 12 – that’s the highest holiday in the Christian faith,” said Guinasso. “And to have a full crew out there working right in the heart of our city, right on American Legion Highway, is in an insult to me, to you, and every resident in our community.”
Guinasso said he couldn’t understand the “abrasiveness of this company going forward and creating this kind of activity on a Sunday. That’s blatant to our rules of order.”
“If a regular homeowner can’t get a permit to work on a Sunday, why should they?”
Guinasso said he notified the mayor and the building inspector about the incident. “I just wanted people to be put on notice that this type of thing occurred and it should never happen in our city again.”
Guinasso said he received several calls and “they were outraged.”
Thorndike Street resident Wayne Rose said, “Arthur, I couldn’t agree with you more. This was a blatant disregard for any bylaws we have in this city. I thought it was disgusting to see a full crew out there on Easter Sunday.”
Counncillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto entered the discussion, stating, “With all due respect, Easter Sunday would probably be the worst time to work on a construction site. However, it is not illegal to work on Sundays. It’s illegal to use heavy equipment. It’s not illegal to be doing construction work there. Some contractors have told me that they’re working on Sundays, especially during the COVID-19 because it gives them an opportunity to do social distancing and still get some work done.”
Guinasso responded, “If that’s the case, then I think we have to go back to our ordinances because there’s something radically wrong. I’ve been on the City Council for 32 years. I’ve never seen crews working on a Sunday, whether it’s out of respect, or whatever it is. If in fact, it’s legal, then we have to make illegal because it’s not right.”
Police Chief James Guido weighed in on the controversy via remote. “Just to make it clear, construction companies can only work on a Sunday with permission from the police chief and the building inspector,” said Guido. “It has to be an emergency situation, a unique situation and I don’t think COVID-19 would count for that. People deserve to have a day of peace.”
Guido suggested to the councillor that if the situation occurs again, “just call the police station and we’ll immediately respond.”
Council President Patrick Keefe wrapped up the discussion, saying, “Councillor Guinasso, I think we all get your point and I certainly don’t disagree with you. This another reason why the entire Council has asked for more enforcement, more inspectors to work the off hours because as you know, the people doing this know that there are no inspectors out, so they’re able to do it with no recourse.”
Keefe suggested that the inspectional services department increase its enforcement operations in its off-hours.
The Council unanimously approved Guinasso’s motion.