Residents from the Arcadia Street neighborhood were back at the City Council meeting this week. Earlier this year, they crowded into the City Council Chambers to voice their opposition to a plan to develop a 24-bed shelter at 84 Arcadia St. that would provide educational and restorative services to Revere’s homeless population. While residents acknowledged the need for such a facility, they insisted their densely packed dead-end street is not a reasonable location.
City councillors agreed but said their hands were tied by a state law, the Dover Amendment, which exempts certain types of facilities offering educational and restorative services from zoning requirements and restrictions. But talks with developers, neighbors and city officials continued, and eventually it was agreed that another location would be sought for the shelter.
This week, developers Robert and John Nakashian were back in front of the council seeking a special permit for the plan that was originally proposed for the lot at 84 Arcadia St. The Nakashians are now looking to build five luxury townhouses in place of the shelter, and neighbors turned out to express their support.
“I am massively in favor of this,” said Anthony Parziale, who helped lead the opposition to the shelter and is now running for an at-large seat on the City Council.
Other residents stood up to express their support for the townhouse development and its design, which includes off-street parking. The only concern raised by a resident involved trees on the lot. Developers were asked to preserve as many trees as possible to conserve wildlife and reduce flooding problems from stormwater.
Councillors were as pleased as the neighbors with the new direction the developers are taking. “This was a major issue a couple of months ago,” said Councillor-at-large Gerry Visconti. “Let’s not forget the developers listened to the voices in the neighborhood. I commend the residents and I would like to commend the developers as well.”
Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto also praised everyone involved. “The lessons learned here are more important than this project,” said Zambuto. “We almost had a Dover Amendment project put in here. That’s not how things are supposed to be done. I’m grateful to the residents for putting up a fight and I’m grateful to the developers.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo praised the townhouse project that will replace a worn-down multifamily now at 84 Arcadia St. “I’m completely in favor of this,” said Rizzo. “As I look at this, it’s not overly dense; it’s a project that will benefit the neighborhood. I credit the neighbors for their persistence and the developers for going back to the table.”
The council referred the request for a special permit to the Zoning Committee.