Conservation Comm. Gives Okay to Revere Beach, Suffolk Projects

The Revere Conservation Commission held its monthly meeting last Wednesday and took action on a number of matters, including giving their approval to the next phases of the massive, mixed-use Suffolk Downs development.

The commission also gave its approval to a 360-unit project at 548-580 Revere Beach Blvd.

The agenda items for the meeting are listed below, along with the board’s discussions and votes for each item:.

1)  MA DEP File #061-0770 – Abbreviated Notice of Intent (Continuation of public hearing). PJF + Associates representing applicant Russell Vitale – 20 Bryant Street, Revere, MA 02151. Project consists of construction of a garage in a 100-year flood plain.

Discussion and action:

A representative from PJF + Associates presented the commissioners with an updated engineering plan that addresses the water runoff that will be created from the construction of the garage. The new plan includes the installation of stone trenches on both sides of the structure to handle runoff from the roof.

A neighbor appeared before the commission asking if the proposed garage could be constructed on the other side of the property. However, he was informed that the specific siting of a structure was not within the purview of the Conservation Commission.

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the project.

2) MA DEP File #061-0766 – Notice of Intent (Continuation of public hearing). Tim Alexander, MCRT Investments LLC – 548 – 580 Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere, MA 02151. Project consists of a 360-unit building with a drive-under parking facility. Applicant is not proposing Coastal Dunes impacts, but portions of the project will take place within the buffer zone of these off-site resources.

Discussion and action:

Tim Alexander of Mill Creek Realty Trust appeared before the board and briefly explained the scope of the project.

Rick Salvo, a civil engineer also appearing on behalf of Mill Creek, told the commissioners, some of whom had taken a site walk recently, that everything has been permitted within the city’s zoning regulations.

The commissioners posed many question to Salvo pertaining to storm water mitigation and the effect of the construction upon the salt marsh in the rear of property. It was noted that the 100-foot buffer-zone extends into the property by about 35 feet.

Salvo said that drainage was the main issue, but assured the commissioners that large-enough systems will be put into place to handle a 100-year storm.

The commission unanimously gave its approval to the project.

3)  Request for Determination of Applicability for storage of docks– Vincent A. Piccinni, Commodore – Point of Pines Yacht Club -28 Rice Avenue.

Discussion and action:

Point of Pines Y.C.Commodore Vincent Piccinni came before the board seeking permission to place 19 docks on the eastern side of the yacht club’s property to allow the club to work on the docks during the off-season. Piccinni noted that the commission has allowed a similar request for the past three years.

He also noted that placing the docks at that location will make it easier for the city to repair the nearby pumping station and that there will be no impact on wetlands.

There was no opposition from neighbors and the motion was allowed by a vote of 5-0.

4) Notice of Intent (NOI) – Suffolk Downs Phase 1-R Roadway and Infrastructure, Thomas O’Brien, The McClellan Highway Development Company, LLC – 220 Revere Beach Parkway. Construction of a roadway network and water, sewer, drainage, and other utility infrastructures.

Discussion and action:

Michael Borowski and Jeff Heidelberg appeared on behalf of the development company.

Borowski briefly reviewed the scope of the Suffolk Downs project, which has come before the commission on numerous occasions in recent months as the company proceeds with the project in phases.

Borowski told the commission that the company acquired the Suffolk Downs property in 2017, with 52 acres in Revere and 109 acres in Boston. He said that 16.2 million square feet have been approved overall, of which 5.68 million square feet are in Revere that will consist of 50/50 commercial and residential space.

He noted that the company already has received approval for several buildings from the Revere Conservation Commission. However, the company now was seeking approval for the first life-science buildings to come before the commission.

Heidelberg noted that the existing site conditions had consisted of pavement and horse barns and that the company already had obtained an order of conditions for their removal.

However, he said the soils in that area need to be compressed prior to construction in order to handle the greater weight of the buildings that will stand in the former location of the horse barns.

He told the commission that the Suffolk Downs project is a four-phase project and will take many years to complete, with an NOI for each phase.

Regarding the matter of a sewer connection, he said the project will be connecting to Revere sewer for the start of project.

He also said that the entire site is being raised out of the flood plain and that the former track itself is the only part of the property that presently is elevated above the flood plain.

In response to questions from commissioners, he said the project will require adding up to five feet of soil. He said there will be an intricate system of catch basins, pipes, drains, and a large storm water retention basin to handle storm runoff before the water goes into Sales Creek.

He said that the developers are going beyond what is required under present regulations . to take into account the increasing threats from climate change and major rain events.

There was no opposition and the plan was approved 5-0.

5. NOI – Suffolk Downs Building R-10, 220 Revere Beach Parkway – Thomas O’Brien, The McClellan Highway Development Company, LLC – Construction of a six-story mixed-use commercial building on a ~ 4.1 acre lot (R-10) on the Revere portion of the Suffolk Downs site.

6. NOI – Suffolk Downs Building R-11, 220 Revere Beach Parkway – Thomas O’Brien, The McClellan Highway Development Company, LLC – Construction of a six-story mixed- use commercial building on a ~ 4.1 acre lot (R-11) on the Revere portion of the Suffolk Downs site. No opposition.  Approved 5-0.

Discussion and action:

The commission heard items 5 and 6 together because they essentially overlap.

These items pertain to the proposed lab/life-science buildings in the project.

Heidelberg described access, roadways, loading, sidewalks, utility connections, and underground parking to the commissioners.

He noted that there are wetlands adjacent along Washburn Ave. and Sales Creek. He informed the commission that landscaping will be part of the project to act as a buffer for residents on Washburn Ave.

He said there will be some retail in the buildings, most likely a restaurant, along with lab and life-sciences uses, plus perhaps some manufacturing.

These buildings will be 132 feet high and the installation of solar panels on the roof is being explored.

The commissioners unanimously gave their approval.

7. Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation – area off Muzzey Street – Hayes Engineering, Inc.

Discussion and action:

This item was postponed until next month because the legal notice did not get published in time for the public hearing.

Commission members conducted a number of site visits in September to 42 Arcadia St., the Amazon site at the former Revere Showcase Cinemas,  90 Endicott Avenue, 20 Bryant Street, Suffolk Downs, and the ANRAD Project off Muzzey/Eustis Street

The commission also received a number of correspondences in the past month:

August 31, 2021 – Fort Point Associates, INC – Notification that Gate Residential Properties, LLC, has submitted a Chapter 91 License Application to construct and maintain a 475-foot-long Boardwalk at the confluence of the Pines and Saugus Rivers;

September 7, 2021 – Lauren Rondon – 42 Arcadia Street – a request for a copy of the OOC issued for 40 Arcadia Street;

September 10, 2021 – Fort Point Associates, INC on behalf of Gate Residential Properties, LLC – a notification for an application for a 401 Water Quality Certificate for 22 Whitin Ave.;

September 13, 2021 – Epsilon Associates, INC. on behalf of Boston Gas Company – courtesy notification of exploratory and geotechnical borings within existing roadways and that the activity is exempt under 310 CMR 10.02(2)2; and

September 27, 2021 – Inquiry from Evan J. Carignan of Geolnsight, Inc. asking whether hydrostatic testing of Irving oil tanks by taking water from the Chelsea River and then discharging it through the facilities oil water separator only requires a courtesy letter of notification.

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for Wednesday evening, November 3, at 7:00. The deadline for submitting an item to be included on the agenda is October 21.

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