Neighbors and city councillors continue to be riled up about the Thayer Avenue project, with most neighbors who are against it saying they are just waiting to see what happens and hoping the developer will meet with them.
Neighbors and some city councillors have hotly discussed the possibility of a 40B affordable/subsidized housing project being proposed there as an alternative – something no one wants because it often attracts many school aged children and doesn’t pay full taxes.
Now, the argument has centered around whether or not that is even possible.
Council President Tony Zambuto has argued that if the developers weren’t allowed to withdraw two weeks ago, they could have come back with a 40B project.
He said his vote to allow withdrawal, which was not exactly what many neighbors wanted, was to protect the community of Riverside.
That was backed up by a letter to the editor in last week’s Journal from resident Mark DeSimone – who lives near the proposed development and is also a Revere Police Officer.
“I have heard Councillor [John] Powers preach that ‘not one unit will go on that property without the approval of the neighborhood,’” he wrote. “Unfortunately he is wrong. He is a smart man. He knows that a 40B development can go there, not only can it go there but the city does not have the power or even any say in stopping it.”
Meanwhile, neighborhood activists have strongly disagreed, including long-time activist Elaine Hurley – who put her thoughts concerning DeSimone’s letter in her own letter to the editor this week.
“To say a 40B has no input by the City is wrong,” she wrote. “Did you read MGL Chapter 40B? Perhaps you should. It’s very explicit. Not only is the City involved, but also the Zoning Board of Appeals grants the permit. Also, the neighborhood is involved. The whole process, after many, many public hearings, takes about a year. Also fact, after withdrawing the 42 units they need to wait a year before submitting plans for a 40B. The project also has to adhere to state statues and regulations, including Chapter90 Wetlands Protection Act. It’s frightening that you and the city council are unaware of this.”
Lorretta LaCentra – another outspoken advocate against the project – said the neighbors are in a holding pattern now.
“If we had an opportunity and set down with the developer, perhaps we would throw ideas around with him, but he’s never given us that opportunity,” she told the Journal. “The bottom line is it’s going to be how much housing satisfies the developer and the neighborhood. Our biggest concern with him is the things he does on the sly. He had a built an illegal ramp down there and last fall he was cited by the Conservation Commission for illegally filling the property. We’re worried he’ll try to do something like that again in the interim.”