By Aaron Keebaugh
In a 10–1 vote Monday night, the Revere city council approved a license for a new one-stop convenience/gasoline station to store 40,000 gallons of fuel in underground storage tanks at its 338 Squire Road location. Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso cast the dissenting vote.
The issue drew attention last week during a public hearing: A number of Sigourney Street residents voiced strong opposition to the proposal, citing safety concerns and potential traffic hazards. Moreover, the abutters also expressed frustration that the gas station was slid in without proper notice and the whole enterprise was “a done deal” before it even came before the council.
Tensions also mounted between some of the councillors during a joint meeting of the Economic Development Committee and Zoning Subcommittee earlier Monday afternoon.
Ward 2 Ira Novoselsky requested that two side-street access points to the station be closed off in order to protect residents in the area. The main access point from Squire Road would remain open.
“This is not amendable. The time to do this was months ago,” Ward 1 Councillor Richard Penta interjected. “Being a good neighbor is up to the owner… A vote from the council to put in a gas station and then shoot down a gas tank is ridiculous,” he added.
“I’m not trying to change the license,” Novoselsky answered, speaking over Penta. “You’re twisting my words. Don’t put words in my mouth.”
The ensuing heated change between the two councillors, though brief, was enough to force Economic Development and Planning Committee Chairman Anthony Zambuto to call order.
Other councillors reiterated that the issue at hand dealt solely with storage of gasoline. “We have no authority to vote on issuance of a convenience store. Our sole purpose and authority is to vote on the fuel license… If we deny the license we open ourselves up to litigation,” said Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Reardon.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Attorney Larry Simeone said “there’s some hesitation…to make changes to the site plan review.” The lot at 338 Squire Road slotted for the service station spans 30,000 square feet, and the application has passed through the Site Plan Review Committee twice, Simeone said. He further noted that Fire Chief Eugene Doherty endorsed the project in September.
In a phone call Wednesday, one of the abutters, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the abutters are singularly opposed to the gas station. The resident further expressed that the issue was a done deal and that a notice of the public hearing last week was the only one the neighborhood had received about it. Speaking for all of the abutters, the individual went on to say that the gas station/convenience store poses a health hazard and traffic in the area is going to become increasingly worse, especially since the store will remain open 24 hours.