The Revere License Commission held its regular meeting last Wednesday, September 20, in the City Council Chamber. Chairman Robert Selevitch and fellow member Linda Guinasso were on hand for the meeting.
The commissioners initially took up some routine matters, approving two applications for one-day licenses for events in the city in the coming weeks and the transfer of a used car license.
The first application for a 1-day license came from the Revere Parks & Recreation Commission for a Mobile Food Vendor License at Rumney Marsh Academy on Saturday, October from 3 p.m.–8 p.m. (with a rain date of Sunday, October 15) for the annual Fright Night with an expected attendance of 2,000.
Parks and Rec. Director Mike Hinojosa presented the application to the commission. He said the event has been held for the past 11 years. He noted that this year’s event has added some vendors and food trucks. There were no questions from the commissioners.
“This is a great city event and everyone looks forward to it every year,” noted Guinasso. There were no opponents and the commission unanimously approved the license.
The next item was a request from Las Parceritas for a 1-day Entertainment License at the Revere High School Auditorium on Saturday, September 30, from 6 p.m.–9 p.m. for a stand-up comedy show with a comedian from Colombia with an expected attendance of 300–400. Diana Cardona, the event manager, presented the application. She explained that her group has held these events in the past and no alcohol will be served. There were no opponents and the commission unanimously approved the application.
The commission next heard an application from Revere Cars Group, Inc. d/b/a Revere Used Cars, 400 Beach St., Sean P. Murphy, President, for the transfer of a Class 2 Motor Vehicle Dealer license from United Auto Center, Inc. The requested hours will continue to be Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., with the number of cars for sale to remain at 19.
Mr. Murphy, the new owner, told the commissioners that there will be no changes to the present operation of the business. Selevitch mentioned to him that neighbors of the business, which is located at Bell Circle, have complained about parking in their neighborhood by customers of the business and asked Murphy to address that issue. The commission unanimously approved the transfer of the license.
The commission then conducted a discussion pertaining to food trucks:
“Consideration of the implementation of a temporary pilot program to allow an option for mobile food vendors and local business owners to apply to enter into mutually beneficial arrangements whereby the mobile food vendors may set up operations on the business owner’s property. This pilot program would allow the city to gather data to gauge the impact of such arrangements on the community and local businesses, while simultaneously helping local businesses to earn additional income in these challenging times. If the program proves beneficial, this option could be proposed as an amendment to the food truck ordinance, expanding business opportunities and food options within the city. This program was suggested by the former mayor in response to a request from a local restaurant owner, Burbank, Inc. d/b/a Full Rack Smoke House, 297 Lee Burbank Highway, who has submitted a request for such an arrangement with the mobile food vendor Yvette Moreno, LLC d/b/a Don Roge Taqueria.”
Selevitch noted that he has “generally been in favor” of such arrangements. However, he said, “Approval has to be on a site-to-site basis, depending on the layout of the property, where you’re going to place the trucks, where the seating is going to be, hours, neighbors, that kind of thing,” with Guinasso adding, “I think this is a great program and I’m very open to it, but it needs to be taken up individually.”
Vincent Giachetti, the owner of the Full Rack Smokehouse, noted that he closes his kitchen at 11:00 PM, but said some customers who come in after that for a drink (he closes at 1:00 AM) also want something to eat, for which a food truck would be an ideal solution. He also said that the food truck could serve breakfast and even add Uber Eats for delivery during the day.
Giachetti asked for hours of 10:00 AM-3:00 AM hours on Friday, Sat., and Sunday, and from 11:00 AM-12:00 AM during the weekdays.
Selevitch noted that the business is not located near a residential neighborhood, but expressed some concern about the layout of the truck’s location on the lot and potential safety hazards near the curb-cut at the entrance to the business.
“I’m all for giving it a try and seeing how it works out,” said Guinasso. “I think this is a start for us and a start for our city.”
“I love this idea because it’s not in a residential neighborhood,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Anthony Cogliandro, “and as a business owner, it excites me that we can operate these in a parking lot.”
There were no opponents and the commission approved the license on a trial basis and on the condition that the owner implement the traffic safety measures suggested by the commissioners.
The commission conducted two hearings regarding alleged incidents of disturbances involving two establishments.
The first hearing pertained to Argueta & Piche Corp., d/b/a Carnaval Latino Restaurant, 7B Everett Street, “into a pattern of incidents involving late-night brawls, intoxicated patrons, vandalism, and motor vehicle accidents.”
A Revere police officer told the commissioners that on the night of August 13 at 1:13 AM, he was dispatched to the establishment for a report of a disturbance in which 6-7 persons were fist-fighting outside the establishment.
“I witnessed 15-20 individuals bunched closely together and many were throwing punches,” said the officer. The officer said he began to disperse the group and observed “multiple gang signs being displayed.” He also observed an injured male party, who declined medical attention. The injured party said he got into a physical altercation with persons who were members of the MS-13 Gang and the 18th St. Gang. The officer further stated that as he was dispersing the crowd, fellow officers arrived on the scene to assist. The officers then closed the establishment, which was completely full, for the evening.
The officer also noted that the establishment was “overcrowded.” and that there was a previous, similar disturbance in March. “The uptick in disturbances in the city that have been gang-affiliated, especially in the Shirley Ave. area, has been concerning,” said the officer, who also cited an increase in tagging (graffiti) with gang signs. When Selevitch asked the officer whether a police detail would help prevent these types of incidents, the officer replied that he believed it would.
Manager Ariel Alarcon spoke on behalf of the business.
“It’s tough for us to control this sort of situation, where a number of people came into the parking lot who were not patrons and and we can’t tell who is a gang member,” said Alarcon, adding that he has hired professional security guards.
Selevitch asked about hiring a detail police officer and Alarcon said he would be amenable to doing so. “Adding a police detail to an establishment does wonders for security,” said Cogliandro.
Guinasso, noting that the establishment is a restaurant, but has live music and karaoke, said, “I’m very concerned about restaurants turning into bars and nightclubs, and overcrowding cannot happen.” Guinasso further stated that the live entertainment and karaoke license should be cut back to 11:00 PM.
The commissioners voted to require a police detail on weekend nights, but did not impose any restrictions on the current entertainment license unless the establishment is unable to secure a detail officer, in which case it will have to stop all music at 11:00 PM. The commission will revisit the matter in 30 days.
The commission then took up a similar hearing regarding alleged “noise disturbances and violations of happy hours regulations” at Los Compadres Oaxaqueños, LLC d/b/a B & M Grill and 843 Broadway.
Manuel Hernandez appeared before the commission. “We’ve been in business for three years and never had a problem,” Hernandez said. “When the police came, they did not say that the music was too loud.” Hernandez also denied that his business advertised any happy hours, which have been forbidden in Mass. for about 40 years.
Selevitch said he recently visited the establishment and said the music outside “did not seem too loud,” though it was very loud inside. “When I was there, you had a DJ who was cranking the music very loudly,” continued Selevitch, who added that the business started as a restaurant, but has added incrementally to its license over the years. “It seems like you’re making this into a nightclub. But this is not working and the neighbors are not happy.”
Guinasso noted that the side windows are left open, which allows the music to bother the neighbors. “I have many friends in the area and they say that since karaoke has started, with the big speakers you have, it’s been too loud,” said Guinasso, who said she has received many videos and letters from neighbors. “This is unacceptable. The residents of the city deserve peace and quiet.”
“This business has been a great business,” said Cogliandro. “They have delicious food. But as the ward councilor, I have received half a dozen complaints from residents on Broadway and Folsom St.”
“My job here is on behalf of the taxpayer and residents of the city,” Guinasso concluded.
The commission then voted to amend the present scope of the entertainment license, allowing only for a jukebox or television until 10:00 PM that cannot be tied into amplifiers or loudspeakers, to which Mr. Hernandez agreed.
The commission also took up a report from the Revere Fire Department of an incident of overcrowding and lack of crowd manager at an event at Cafeteria las Delicias Colombianas, Inc. requiring the closure of the event. The manager of the establishment informed the commission that this was the first such incident and that he will ensure the problem does not occur again.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said that he is satisfied with the implementation of a head-count mechanism to be implemented by the establishment and asked that the commissioners “give them a second chance.” The commissioners voted to place the matter “on file” unless there are further incidents. The commission adjourned until its next meeting on Wednesday, October 18.