The Licensing Commission held yet another hearing at its meeting last Wednesday, May 10, into the issue of the violations of conditions of the parking lot license, including multiple fire safety violations, by MHF Logan Operating V, LLC, d/b/a Hampton Inn Revere, 230 Lee Burbank Highway,
Last week’s hearing, which had been continued from the April meeting at the request of the Hampton Inn, wrote yet another chapter in the saga that has been ongoing since 2019.
Revere Deputy Fire Chief Paul Cheever outlined the myriad of safety issues pertaining to the Park ‘N Fly business operated by Select Transportation out of the Hampton Inn’s parking lot. Cheever cited numerous instances of parking in fire lanes, handicapped spaces, entrances, walkways, and landscaped areas that prevent access by emergency vehicles.
Cheever said there were violations in February and “we were given promises that the issues would be resolved,” but he said that the RFD never has received a parking management plan. He also noted that in previous months, the lots at St. Anthony’s Church and the VFW were used for overflow parking by Select Transportation without permission to do so from the city.
“We feel we have been going back and forth since 2019 and it seems to us that they haven’t figured it out,” said Cheever, who said that Fire Chief Chris Bright’s position is that the license should be revoked immediately “in the best interests of both safety and the city.”
“We acknowledge the problems that have occurred and we have had many interactions with city officials,” said Atty. James Cipoletta, who was accompanied by Sam Suda, the general manager of the hotel. “Nobody was aware that a license was required to use the Beachmont VFW for overflow parking.”
Cipoletta said that the safety issues raised by Cheever typically occur during the most-heavily traveled times, such as school vacation weeks. He also noted that the company has contracted with a tow company to remove vehicles that are parked illegally and that a contract has been signed with another company to install gates at the Park ‘n Fly lot at a cost of $124,000. He said that the operator has committed to a total outlay exceeding $350,000 for contracts for work that will alleviate the problems.
Cipoletta concluded by pointing out that there have been no further violations in the past month and that the city receives a significant financial benefit from the taxes generated by the hotel and the parking operation.
“Some of these things don’t happen overnight,” said Cipoletta, referring to the redesign of the parking lot and the installation of the gate system that he said will resolve the safety problems cited by Deputy Chief Cheever.
Suda told the commissioners that the installation of the parking gates and the restriping of the parking lot will be accomplished in the coming weeks. He also said that the parking lot will be compartmentalized into sections, one for Select’s Park ‘n Fly operation and the other for the hotel’s own parking needs.
Cheever was asked by Selevitch for his reaction to the plan for gates, to which Cheever replied that the plans for gates were drawn up in September of 2022, but nothing has been accomplished.
He also noted that the company was aware that overflow parking was not permitted at the Beachmont VFW after it had been told that it could not do so at St. Anthony’s, but it went ahead and sent overflow vehicles to the VFW nonetheless.
Occena noted that the date on the architectural drawings for the parking lot changes is September 6, 2022, but nothing has been done to this point. “Here we are a year later and we’re still talking about the same thing, the same problem,” said Occena.
“When do you think this work is going to be done?” asked Guinasso, to which Suda replied that the work will begin on April 15. However, Cheever pointed out that no permits have been pulled to do the work from any city department.
Cipoletta finally pointed out that the company already has spent more than $50,000 to undertake the work and that supply chain issues still are factoring into the completion of the project. He asked that the commission not revoke the license, but allow it to remain in effect with the condition that any violations henceforward will result in an automatic revocation. He also suggested that the company reappear before the commission in 60 days to report on its progress.
Cheever initially was unswayed by Cipoletta’s arguments and asked the commission to suspend the license immediately for two months until the company can show it is making progress toward completion of its plan. However, after some more back-and-forth among the commissioners, Cipoletta, Suda, and Cheever, the Deputy Chief eventually agreed to go along with Cipoletta’s suggestion of what Selevitch termed, “One more strike and you’re out.”
The commissioners then voted 2-1, with Guinasso opposed, to allow the license to remain in effect, but on the condition that there be no further violations pending the completion of the company’s plans to install an automated gate system, and if there is another safety violation, the license will be revoked forthwith.
“I promise you, we will not be back,” said Suda.