Childcare ordinance amendment
The City Council supported changes to the city ordinance regulating family daycare centers that would align local regulations with state requirements. The council held a public hearing on the proposed changes, which would substantially increase the availability of childcare within the city. The most significant changes include increasing the number of children allowed in a family childcare center from the current limit of four to 10. Childcare care centers with seven or more children would be required to have an approved family childcare assistant. Also, rather than requiring a special permit to operate a family childcare business, childcare providers could open a childcare business by right. The council referred the proposed amendments to the Zoning Subcommittee for additional review.
Another study, another design, another million
The City Council voted eight to two to approve a budget transfer of $2.3 million to the School Department to pay for a feasibility study and schematic design of the new high school at the existing site. The funds will be transferred from the general fund school appropriation account to the new high school construction fund account. The funds will be expended under the direction of the Revere High School Building Committee.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Patrick Keefe will be acting mayor of the city for the next seven months. Revere hasn’t in anyone’s memory been in this position before, and city councillors called on City Solicitor Paul Capizzi to understand what Keefe can and cannot do as acting mayor.
According to Capizzi, Keefe will handle the day-to-day business of the city. If a new pandemic breaks loose, or if a fresh tornado rips into City Hall, Keefe would be in charge of responding to the emergency. But what Keefe can’t and probably doesn’t want to do is embark on a major development project or an eminent domain taking. Keefe’s primary responsibility is to get Revere through to the next mayoral election, in which he is a candidate.
Into the weeds
The Economic Development Subcommittee reviewed and supported a motion from Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe that the Housing Liaison and the affordable housing trustees collaborate with the Revere Housing Authority in planning the use of vacant and underutilized land and properties to create more affordable space for Revere residents. The committee also reviewed a motion from Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri that the City Council conduct a financial impact study relative to medical and recreational marijuana within Revere
Taking charge of EVs
Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto requested that the acting mayor provide an update
on a motion approved last December that requested the policy writer, analyst and fire prevention draft an ordinance establishing requirements for licenses for indoor storage of electric vehicles. Zambuto pointed to numerous reports of electric vehicle batteries igniting and causing large, damaging fires.
“I’’s time we stepped up to the plate and did something about storage of electric cars,” said Zambuto.
Tales out of school
This week, Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo sponsored a motion that must have made ardent supporters of the new high school and its $280 million tab for Revere residents grind their teeth.
Rizzo would like the school superintendent and the high school student Resource Officer to meet with the City Council to discuss student safety issues, such as drug use, including marijuana, edibles and opioid-related substances. Rizzo would also like information about behavioral issues, such as truancy and student safety not exclusively but especially at Revere High. Rizzo said he feels it’s important for councillors to understand more than just School Department Finances. They need to know what’s going on in city schools.
Several councillors supported Rizzo’s motion. “This is a great motion – there’s a lot going on,” said Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro, “and I mean a lot.”
“Some of the things I’ve heard that are going on at that school are disgusting and terrifying. We have fights every day and it spills out into the Rite Aid parking lot. A lot of teachers and a lot of students are afraid to speak up because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen to them,” said Cogliandro.
Arcadia Street resident Edward Almedia, who has two daughters at Revere High, said he hears stories like there’s a strong smell of marijuana in the corridor. Almedia said he has noticed that there seems like a complete lack of security at Revere High.
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti also agreed with Rizzo that councillors should have a fuller understanding of what takes place in city schools. “We’re getting calls from parents about different issues,” said Visconti. “We need to know more.”
Other councillors felt the motion was vilifying teachers and resource officers and school issues were better left to the School Committee and School Department. Nevertheless, the council voted to send the motion to the Public Safety Committee.