By Aaron Keebaugh
Vehicles parked on closed Wonderland property drew fire from the city council Monday night when Councillors John Powers and Robert Haas filed a motion calling for the Building Department to investigate the parking and storage of vehicles on the former dog track racing site.
The motion further states: “It is the understanding of the council that the parking lot is operating without a special permit and is in violation of the City Ordinances and therefore a Cease and Desist Order shall be issued by the Building Inspector.”
The Wonderland commuter lot closed last July to coincide with the opening of the new Wonderland parking garage and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) station. Unofficial property records from the City Assessor’s office show that Wonderland Greyhound Park sold the land to CBW Lending LLC on March 19, 2012, for $9,820,000. The records also show that CBW Lending purchased the property care of Coastal Belmont LLC, a company chaired and operated by Richard Fields, the owner and largest shareholder of Suffolk Downs.
License Board Executive Assistant Joan Grenga confirmed Tuesday that Suffolk Downs does not currently hold a special permit to park cars at the lot. Wonderland’s parking license expired at the beginning of July 2012.
During the council meeting, Powers said that former License Commission Chairman Thomas Henneberry had informed Suffolk Downs that they needed a special permit to continue parking cars in the lot. “We haven’t had a response to this,” he said.
Councillors originally filed a motion about the parked cars in the lot during the October 22 council meeting, but no action was taken, according to the motion’s language.
While Wonderland was open to commuters, the city received revenue from the parking lot. “It’s not fair to the citizens,” Councillor Haas said of the current situation. “Revere should receive some compensation.”
Haas said that the cars have been parked at Wonderland illegally for three months. He added that Mr. Fields has been a good neighbor but could be a better one.
On Tuesday phone calls and emails to Suffolk Downs for comment were not returned in time for this story.