The Revere Conservation Commission (ConsComm) held its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday evening, January 18, in the City Council Chambers.
Chairman John Shue and fellow commissioners Joseph LaValle, Brian Averbach, and Nicholas Rudolph were on hand for the meeting.
The principal business conducted by the board involved a presentation of the potential impacts on wetland areas by the construction of the proposed new Revere High School at the old Wonderland Dog Track at 190 VFW Highway.
Claire Hoogeboom, a wetlands scientist with LEC Environmental Consultants in Plymouth, presented a number of drawings of the site that highlighted the many areas both within and around the property that must be taken into consideration by the Conservation Commission.
Hoogeboom noted that all of the former racetrack buildings have been torn down, leaving only remnant pavement and foundations that are overgrown with invasive species of plants.
She said the site is bisected by the so-called county ditch, which is a “perennial stream” that ultimately drains into Diamond Creek, which is part of the Rumney Marsh Wetlands.
Hoogeboom stated that there are some wetlands on the property itself, but those have been degraded over the years dating back to the time the track was constructed in the 1930s (when there were no wetlands protection laws).
She said that the city is seeking to have the commission make a declaration regarding the jurisdictional status of those areas within the locus of the property. Hoogeboom proceeded to list a host of matters that will require decisions by the Conservation Commission and noted that the commission’s decisions on each one ultimately will affect the final design of the high school project.
“This is pretty complicated,” said Shue, who acknowledged that the many issues presented by Hoogeboom were beyond his expertise. “There’s a lot in this.”
He then suggested that the commission hire a consultant to advise the commission with a peer review.
“I think that is a great idea,” said Averback. “This project is so massive we have to make sure we do it properly.”
The commission voted unanimously to approve the hiring of a consultant, which will be paid for by the city.
The next date for the commission to take up the matter will be March 1.