Rising out of a former vacant lot on Revere Beach Parkway is a building that Mayor Carlo DeMaria said makes him sick to his stomach every morning.
It’s the new self-storage facility that located by right, against the City’s wishes, and needing no City permits about one year ago. At the moment, the company is building the large building, which towers above many homes on Chelsea Street and will have no windows and no interesting features
And this on what is looking to be one of Everett’s most prosperous stretches in the coming years.
On Monday night, the administration and the Council came together in a unanimous vote to block any future such developments on the stretch of the Parkway that has a dose of outdated zoning, an industrial district that was overlooked in the past and which allowed for the self-storage to come about.
“I drive by there and it makes me sick,” said DeMaria before the Council on Monday.
“This is what we’ve got,” he said, “a plain blank building with no windows. It’s not what we deserve…We don’t’ want self-storage facilities anymore. They give no jobs and very little taxes. This amendment allows us to tell developers what we want. A developer won’t build a hotel there in a place where a self-storage facility could come right next to the hotel.”
Said Planner Tony Sousa, “To think we could have heavy industrial next to the apartment district and the business district is very difficult to accept.”
And so that is what the Planning Department, the mayor and Building Commissioner Jim Soper set out to convince the Council of on Monday – that the sprawling area on the Parkway should be up-zoned to prevent industrial uses from going there. As it is now, such uses are allowed under an old zoning provision that persists there.
It was that old zoning that the self-storage company recognized and jumped upon to build their facility despite the fact that most everyone in the city and at City Hall did not approve.
Councilor Wayne Matewsky praised the effort and said he has heard that a developer is hoping to put a self-storage on the Mark’s Discount property on the Parkway, which is next to his home.
“On the fence by the one that’s going up now I saw pictures of an apartment building,” he said. “They fooled me. That’ what I thought would be there. I’m in favor of this to stop any more of these from happening.”
The affected space is around 100 acres, or roughly the size of Assembly Row.
The Council voted 8-0 to approve the new zoning for the north side of the Parkway.
Council Briefs –
SEWER SMOKE TEST ON LOWER BROADWAY
The City is conducting an investigation in the Lower Broadway area using smoke testing to identify sources of extraneous water into the sanitary sewers. A portion of each sewer bill is used to pay for treatment of wastewater and this is part of a City effort to remove these sources and mitigate potential future rate increases.
Smoke testing involves blowing a white, harmless, odorless, non-staining smoke; which leaves no residue, into the sanitary sewer in the street and observing where the smoke appears. The investigation will be conducted by the National Water Main Cleaning Company and field crews are anticipated to perform the work in the next two weeks between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Fire and Police Departments have been notified. For general information, feel free to contact the Public Works Department at (617) 394-2382.
ON BOW OK’D
Numerous councilors praised the proposal by George Veroudakis to put a gas station on a portion of his land abutting Beacham and Bow Streets on Lower Broadway, giving the neighborhood a gas station once again.
The longtime gas facility on Lower Broadway was torn down a year ago, and since that time there hasn’t been a gas station below Sweetser Circle – making it very inconvenient for businesses and residents.
Attorney Peter DeLorey said his client plans to have a 24-hour operation, and to sell self-service gas and a full convenience store on 25,250 sq. ft. of the 88,000 sq. ft. parcel. They already have a permit from the Planning Board for the use.
There was some discussion from Councilor Michael McLaughlin about piloting the 24-hour operation, but the Council agreed to go forward.
The Council voted to approve three different licenses on three unanimous votes.
MCLAUGHLIN OPPOSES SEPT. 4 PRIMARY
Councilor Michael McLaughlin made a curious vote late in the evening during Monday’s Council meeting – he voted against having the Sept. 4 Primary Election.
In what was mostly a formality to declare the election, the vote came and McLaughlin said ‘no.’
“It caught a few people off-guard, but I don’t believe it’s a good day to have an election – the day after Labor Day,” he said. “It was for me to show I don’t approve of making that day the election.”
NATIONAL GRID TAKES IT ON THE CHIN
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio and several of her colleagues gave National Grid something to think about on Monday when they came before the Council to ask for permission to bring wires to 120 Tremont St.
“I’m not going to give them another permit again,” she said, detailing a situation where workers trying to change a street light broke the hood and have failed to clean it up for six months and counting.
Underpinning the objections as well was the fact that the company has locked out many of its union gas workers, several of whom are Everett residents, in a contract dispute more than a month old.
The 120 Tremont issue was voted on and defeated to send a clear message. However, so as not to penalize the property owner – who would have been barred from applying again for a year, they reconsidered and approved it.
Later in the meeting, the Council voted for a resolution to support the locked-out workers.
“Unfortunately for you, your company doesn’t have a very good record for how it treats working men and women,” Councilor Wayne Matewsky said to the National Grid rep.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM SALVAGED
Councilor Michael McLaughlin reported that the Everett Public Schools have agreed wo pick up an $85,000 discrepancy that would cover after-school programs for hundreds of kids in the For Kids Only program.
“This program services over 500 children in our community with a growing waiting list,” he said. “My hope and goal in the future years is that we are able to eliminate any waiting list for this program. Due to the dedication of Councilor Capone and I working with the administration and School Department, we have been able to come to a resolution that ensures as many children as possible will continue to receive the services in the community in the coming school year.”
The City had contended that it had already given the schools money for the program, and the schools had contended that was not the case.
McLaughlin said he got a phone call from the schools at the last minute Monday saying the issue had been resolved satisfactorily.
MEETING GOES INTO NEXT DAY
In an effort to keep the Council meeting shorter, it went longer.
The City Council adjourned at two minutes before midnight on Monday, and reportedly folks weren’t out of the building until after midnight. That meant the meeting started on Monday, and didn’t finish until Tuesday.
That was aided by an agenda with more than 30 items on it, many of them long and involved public hearings.
Council President Peter Napolitano enforced the five-minute speaking rule on the members of the Council Monday in order to keep the meeting from going as long as it did last time – which was until 11 p.m. However, it was to no avail.